Mar 1, 2010

Day 6*: 0 snoozes

I beat my alarm again, but I'm not upset. At least this time I was able to lie in bed until the damn thing went off. It was the coffee maker (it's next to my bed, see first blog entry) that woke me up - fuck that thing is loud - and I lay there knowing that as soon as the coffee was done the alarm would go off. I actually spent a little time deliberating whether to or not to intentionally hit the snooze button a few times, just to get this project back to normal, but common sense prevailed and I rolled out of bed at the first buzz.

That's something I addressed briefly last week - common sense. That little cartoon angel on your shoulder that makes sure you (for the most part) do the right thing. Over the weekend I was explaining my angel/devil thing to one of the 6 999 999 997 people who aren't reading Snooze By Numbers, and while talking I stumbled upon a novel way of understanding the feud between those two little buggers, a way that I hope to apply to all the other shit I do wrong throughout the day.

Up until that conversation, I always pictured my angel/devil thing as a debate between the two. I discovered them the first time I quit smoking for good (several years ago, and I lasted 3 years before going back) - it was towards the end of the workday, I'd gone about 18 hours without a smoke, and was riding the bus home listening to two separate voices in my head debate whether or not to give up. They threw the pros and cons back and forth while my mind's eye followed it like a tennis match.

After the debate was done, I did some post-game analysis of how my common sense had kicked the tar out of whatever it was that was trying to make me do bad stuff. It became clear that I could actually personify the two voices in my head. Of course, they'd been there all along, but this was an interesting development because I actually separated them from my own consciousness from this point onward. It wasn't until years later that I came up with the angel/devil analogy.

So back to my life-changing conversation from the weekend: as I was explaining the whole angel/devil thing to this friend, I realized that in the case of waking up vs. snooze button, there's no debate whatsoever because the devil is just too damn LOUD.

In the comics, the angel and devil are often depicted as angel/devil versions of the person upon whose shoulders they're standing. In this case, the devil is 40 feet tall with gigantic muscles and has a heavy metal soundtrack and laser lights and a smoke machine that follow him wherever he goes; the angel is a little balding man with a terrible moustache and a shirt that should never be tucked in but he tucks it in anyway, and his pants are 3 inches too short. When the alarm goes off, he bursts into action, gently poking me in the shoulder and quietly saying "Excuse me" over and over again in his Droopy Dog voice. It's no wonder that I don't hear him over the devil's blast beats and dropped-tuned guitars and death metal screams lulling me back to sleep.

So I realized this weekend that all I need to do to beat the snooze alarm addiction is to let the quiet little angel's voice through, just a little teeny bit. Once it comes through, it self-amplifies FAST, to the point where it can easily win. It only has to come through once, maybe while the devil stops to take a belt of whiskey or throatpunch a nun. After that, we're golden, and common sense prevails. After I put this image together, I realized I can probably apply it to other circumstances in my life where I do stupid things without realizing I'm being an idiot. I won't go into specifics, but trust me there are a lot of things I do that might change if that voice of common sense got a little louder.

I have to give the little angel credit where it's due - he's there to make me go the gym when I'm hungover, pay my bills even though I'm afraid to open the envelope, eat vegetables for dinner instead of an entire pizza, and of course not punching old people that walk slow, like those two old bats taking up the entire escalator at the mall yesterday, then taking fucking forever to get out of my way once they stepped off.

But for so many other things, he sheepishly stays in the background while Death Metal Satan steers me down stupid, stupid paths of various stupid activities. I'm going to learn to actually watch out for the little angel guy, and ask him if he has anything to say before embarking on pretty much anything. Eventually he'll get louder, I'm sure, and Death Metal Satan will be reduced to a pleasant background muzak of self-destruction.

*weekends don't count because I let myself sleep in, so I'll frequently be skipping 2 days in the count

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