People often ask me, “You’re so grumpy all the time! Why are you so grumpy? Smile! No, that’s… no… you’re doing it wrong… oh, close enough. Can you fix my Outlook?”
The answer is, of course, that a good night’s rest will do wonders for anybody’s outlook. That, and not using the trash as long-term storage. However, I find that I most often encounter the following ten obstacles to a good night’s rest.
- 10. Neighbors’ Screaming Kids
- I remember that there was a time (and it was not so long ago) when just as soon as the first rays of dawn fell across my face, I would leap out of bed and scream “Hooray!” I would frolic through the house, whooping with joy. A new day, full of possibilities! It was all so exciting! Until, of course, a grumpy parent would emerge, and with grimace or glare, and instruct me to “be quiet or play outside.”
- 9. Unattended Alarm Clocks
- So, Neighbor, I see from the absence of your slogan-bearing SUV that you’ve left town for a few days. Have you remembered everything? Sunscreen? Change the oil? Take out the trash? Have you turned off your alarm clock? I didn’t think so. Apparently, you don’t realize that it’s going to squawk and screech continuously until you return? Or perhaps you just don’t care.
- 8. Boom Cars
- Unless you’re driving an ice cream truck, your music should stay inside your vehicle. And if you are driving an ice cream truck, then why the heck are you visiting in the middle of the night?
- 7. Mystery Bells
- I didn’t even know there were any large bells in my neighborhood until a few days ago, when one clanged and bonged with vigor and zeal. The only meaning that my befogged brain could attach to the outburst was that De Plane had finally arrived at Fantasy Island. “Smiles, everyone! Smiles!”
- 6. Garbage Day
- Huge truck! Robotic claw! Tons of rubbish flying through the air! Need I explain further? It would be a breathtaking spectacle of modern living if only it would happen an hour or so later in the day. But, the fact that there exists someone whose job it is to take my trash to the dump so that I don’t have to do it myself makes this one bearable.
- 5. “Urgent” Text Messages
- From time to time, on a relatively peaceful morning, I’ll be instantly awakened by the dreaded cheerful fanfare of a text message. As my trembling fingers reach for the phone that is buzzing like a giant hornet, visions of smoke-belching servers fill my mind. Is this the Big One?
HAY CAN U FIX MY OUTLOOK?Wow, thanks a lot, early-rising co-worker. That adrenaline surge is way better than a cup of coffee... which I'm going to pour over your head when I get to work.
- 4. The Trash Bum
- In these depressing economic times, more and more families are choosing to defend the environment and supplement their income by recycling. Good for them, right? The problem is that they're recycling my recyclables. Ordinarily, I wouldn't raise much of a fuss about this, since I don't really care whether Edco or somebody else empties the little blue bin, just as long as it gets emptied (and not just into the big brown garbage bin, thank you very much.) In this case, however, I will raise a fuss, mainly since the Trash Bum comes in the dead of night with his rattling bags of cans and bottles, to dig through the blue bin (also full of rattling cans and bottles) for cans and bottles to add to his clinking, clanking, clattering collection.
- 3. Birds
- My neighborhood is apparently a waypoint on the migratory path of a flock of green parrots. While in town, they roost in a big weird tree across the street. Perhaps roost is the wrong word. I think party might be more accurate. Perhaps even frat party. These birds have two calls, "Brah!" and something that sounds suspiciously like bird laughter. The bird party starts just after dawn and lasts until just before I walk out the door, at which point the birds flock en masse to (I can only assume) the nearest Denny's.
- 2. Mr. Gentleman
- This spot is reserved for the notorious Mr. Gentleman, my former upstairs neighbor. Mr. Gentleman would arrive home promptly at 11:00 PM, at which point he would turn up his television to maximum volume, perhaps so that he could listen to it from the big weird tree across the street. He would then ignore the television (as well as the front door) until about three or four in the morning, at which point he'd call it a night.
- 1. Gravity
- Because even if I were to take a nap in a soundproof, lightproof, climate controlled Cold War bunker on the edge of nowhere, gravity will still accelerate me at 9.8 meters per second per second into my sleeping surface.