Life or Something like it: The Little Things in Life

This morning I woke up in a horrible mood. I work swing shift so I sleep later into the morning than the average person, and my neighbors, who know this, are usually pretty good about leaving me in peace, not turning up their stereos or generally not being unreasonably loud.

However, the pounding began at 7:45 a.m. and continued until 10. The pounding has occurred every day since Monday (all day long the prior three days) because my apartment complex is repairing all of the decks — so sleep deprivation has hit day four. It’s been annoying, but for the most part, I tried my best to sleep through the noise, which woke me up every time I would drift off. My added bonus today, though, was that when they final finished the last deck for my building and moved on to another building, my downstairs neighbor decided it was time for rehearsal.

This neighbor is the exception to the rule for any common courtesy, although I cannot fault her for practicing her instrument at 10 a.m. To be fair, it WAS 10 a.m. However, she has decided to practice the very same instrument at 5 a.m. and 1 a.m. and various other hours of the day and night; there’s also the issue that she is the only neighbor that the other neighbors are privy to every phone conversation she has, because you can hear her word for word and my apartment has some pretty sound-proof walls. She’s just loud in general, much to the cringe of every neighbor who borders her apartment. And hence why I find myself annoyed every time she makes her presence known.

There was lots of swearing when I finally decided to get up off the couch, where I had fallen asleep the night before watching a movie. My significant other can attest to what a grouch I am when I’m woke up before I’m ready. I haven’t used an alarm clock in three years, aside from when I have to get up to catch a flight or something along those lines. Just call me Oscar. I think I learned all my grouching from Sesame Street as a kid, because everyone else in my family is an early riser (no matter when they go to bed).

But, while I was busy grumping about the noise, the Obo and generally having to get up with no sleep, I missed my favorite part of the morning.

On an average morning, I’m in my bed — not the couch, for starters — and my Border Collie is waiting patiently, guarding the door to my bedroom. I’ve had Bandit since he was three months old and he just turned eleven two weeks ago. As much as people joke about their dog children, he really is my baby.

He waits patiently for me; he doesn’t make noise or play with his squeaky chicken toy; he doesn’t come and poke the bed to see if I’m ready to get up. He simply waits until he sees my eyes blink open and then he comes over to share his own brand of “sunshine” — which entails him crawling into bed with me to cuddle, to get his belly rubbed and give me puppy kisses.

This morning ritual stems from when he was a puppy. Border Collies are notoriously hyperactive, and when he was small, I would make him lay on his back in my lap and rub his belly until he fell asleep. It was one of a handful of ways that worked best to get him to calm down. His hyperactivity was overwhelming at times when he was younger, and now, it’s about right. He outruns most puppies still, but without all the crazy hyperactivity that usually drives people to drop this breed off at the Humane Society. (My boss’ Border went through the local Humane Society three times for just such a reason before she found a good fit with him.)

It’s this ritual, though, that really makes for a good start to my day, because shortly there after, I get out of bed, feed him and then we go and play in the woods behind my complex. My dog is a happy dog, nothing seems to get him down. He’s playful and loves life, people and being outside. He’s a joy to be around and makes me smile just watching him play and explore. More people should have his love for life — there’d be less depression in the world.

However, with all the grumping I did this morning, he never did come over for our morning ritual. He stayed on his pillow, just letting me be in a bad mood, cautious not to get caught in my negative-energy crossfire.

What saddens me about this is that my grumpiness cost me the best part of my day. It’s the little things in life that make it worth living, and I guess it goes to show that one bad attitude can cost you the things you love the most.

I gave him an extra dog biscuit for good measure.