Are you a morning person, or a night owl?
I’ve been both in my life. It depends on where I’m living, what’s happening around me, and whom I’m living with which kind of person I am at any given point.
When I was young I loved to read late at night. I would stay up all night long to read if I could. I did sometimes read all night, but not too often. New Year’s Eve was my traditional time for reading some good book that lasted until dawn. When the Harry Potter books came out, it was very hard for me to put them down. Lately when I’ve been plagued with insomnia, which has become more frequent as I age, I have been known to read all night again. Books by P.G. Wodehouse do not induce sleep. I sometimes can’t stifle my laughter and wake up other people if I’m reading Wodehouse late at night.
When I first arrived at college and moved into an apartment of six girls, I had been a morning person for the two years I had been living on my own and working to save money for school. I would get up feeling like singing. Very soon my roommates let me know that anyone who arose cheerful and unwise enough to display said cheerfulness, especially in song, was worthy of death or at least torture of a particularly unpleasant nature. I could not understand it. What was wrong with awaking and feeling cheerful?
I understand the feelings now of people who resent those who are cheery, but I suspect it is a lot harder for those who are naturally in need of something to help them upon waking to face the world to ever understand people who love mornings.
Similarly, it is hard for people who cannot understand why some people take pleasure in the things they do. It is equally hard to be the person whose innocent pleasure in something is spoiled by someone who cannot appreciate the same thing.
In a movie in the series Agatha Christie’s Poirot, the great detective sits on a terrace beside Lake Windermere reading a book, and he makes a noise of the most complete disgust:
“This Monsieur Wordsworth, the poet of these parts, he annoys me, Hastings! Clearly he is a slave to depression, but do you know what cheers him, mon ami? A good wine? A large beefsteak? The company of a woman who is enchanting? No. A daffodil!” Poirot practically spits the word out and has to make an effort to continue, “Who is ‘beside the lake, beneath the trees . . .’” and then Hastings interrupts, finishing the quote for him and smiling at his friend’s inability to comprehend such simple cheer. Poirot rolls his eyes.
A classic character who focuses on the bleakness of life, even when he tries to be positive, is A.A. Milne’s Eeyore:
“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily.
“So it is.”
“Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”
It’s Eeyore’s best effort, and while he’s amusing, he’s definitely the dampener at the picnic.
Can one look on the sunny side of life without encountering someone’s shoe thrown at one’s head?
I recommend that all the grouches in our midst start reading P.G. Wodehouse in an effort to cheer up. It may be hard, but one must make an effort. Golden Rule and all that.