I wake to the sound of ocean surf and seagulls. Not real ocean surf and seagulls, but the recording built into my alarm clock. Although I live near the Chesapeake Bay, my home is not near enough to hear the waves or gulls. Five-fifteen comes too early, I think as I hit the snooze button and acknowledge that I will not be getting up at the prescribed time. A trip to the gym sounded good last night, but I will pass on exercise, again. Thursday, I think; it could be any day of the week, really, they all blend into one anyway.
Those damned gulls are at it again and now I need to get up. Beating the traffic depends upon it. I have a commute that will last an hour at a minimum, and could be as long as an hour and a half on a bad day. Getting on the road early means I can usually beat the traffic in the morning and has the side benefit of being able to leave before the end of the business day.
Pulling myself out of bed, I try not to wake my wife. Following the shower I shave my face and the pesky widows peak on my forehead. I’ve been cutting my hair with clippers for ten years to one uniform length. Sometimes, I shave my entire head with the razor, but recently I have been too lazy to do it. Several years ago, my wife had told me to shave off the widow’s peak, even if I didn’t shave my whole head. Somehow, this is an improvement.
My father had taught me to shave when I was a young man, and in my opinion, a clean shave along with well polished shoes are the marks of a professional man. In English 213, I wrote a poem about the instruction I received from my father on a Saturday morning when I was about thirteen. He was methodical and exact. Straying from the pattern would surely result in an inferior shave, or an encounter with the styptic pencil. I have shaven three faces in my life — my own, my grandfather’s, and my father’s. The last two, were on their deathbeds. I never shared the poem with my father.
After shaving, I brush my teeth quickly and put on deodorant before dressing in my work clothes. Despite the fact that I often would like to, I do not wear a tie to my office. Doing so would surely garner the question, “Are you interviewing?” from a co-worker. And while I am not currently looking for a new job the question is always uncomfortable. My attire consists of a collared broadcloth sport shirt, a sweater, twill pants, and leather shoes that match my belt. Country club casual was what we’d called it at the fraternity but in my office, this is considered dressed up.
I kiss my sleeping wife good-bye, look in at my son in the crib before scooting out the door. No breakfast, no coffee; sometimes I stop at a coffee shop before hitting the road. I slip into my waxed cotton jacket and grab my bike messenger style briefcase as I walk out the door, heading for the car and my hour long commute.