Thursday, March 6th, 2008...2:29 am

Oh What A Beautiful Morning

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I wake up in the morning and I’m usually kind of grumpy. Sometimes it takes me as long as a half an hour to snap out of it. I think it’s just my nature. That instant when my alarm clock beeps is often my most irritable moment of the day. If I try to wake up to the radio or music I’ll end up hating the voice of the host (screw Mike and Mike) or quickly grow tired of that happy vibe song I used to enjoy. I’ve spent my fair share of time trying to figure out a solution. I’m cynical of those progressive-light alarm clocks or bird-chirping nature CD’s as I’m pretty sure they are just Sharper Image marketing gimmicks to pray on poor souls like myself.

Recently, I’ve taken to DVR Sunrise Earth on Discovery HD and having that play on my television in the morning. That worked for awhile but I recently woke up to Manatees swimming the clear waters of Homosassa Springs and can’t get the high-pitched crickets chirping out of my head. It’s more frightening than Imus!

The only solution that really worked in allowing me to wake up all irie was living right on the beach in sunny Mission Beach. Unfortunately, a few years ago that breezy awakening satisfaction lost out to a host of other life decisions like career, family, and the other 99.9% percent of the day and I moved back to NY to once again fall victim to morning grumpiness. I’m no REM expert but waking up in a small apartment facing a walk in the cold and a daunting and overcrowded six train doesn’t help the matter.

You: Um, get to the point already litty, BRO!

So about a month ago I’m starting my daily morning commute by walking west on 69th street to the subway station in the freezing cold and I’m all pissed off as usual. A very old and frail women in a wheelchair somehow caught my eye as she was trying to get the attention of a passerby. Like many true New Yorkers, I’ve trained myself, for better or worse, to be numb to the homeless, needy and distraught humans you encounter on the street. But somehow this woman seemed a bit different so I surprised myself and stopped to ask her what she needed. She asked me if I could push her in her wheelchair down the street to her apartment building entrance that was in the middle of the block. I was walking that way so it was hardly an inconvenience and I figure it would be easier to just do it then to start to try and figure out what the heck was happening. She was overly thankful and in the minute that I interacted with her it was apparent she wasn’t cursed with the same morning mopeyness as myself. Actually, at one point she playfully yelled out “faster, faster” as if this moment was the highlight of her day.

I didn’t think much of the situation. I dropped her at her doorman building and continued on my grumpy way and very well may have forgotten the situation entirely if it didn’t happen again a few days later. Perhaps, I was subconsciously looking for the women. I spotted her as soon as I crossed 1st avenue and offered to give her a ride home. She was a bit confused because she didn’t recognize me but was more than happy to accept the offer.

This time I had a few questions for her. I learned that she goes to the Senior Citizen center (a few blocks away) each morning for breakfast and usually has yogurt and fruit. She tries to walk home but gets tired so she waits in her wheel chair on the corner for a friendly stranger to help her out. Her sister lives on the West Side and was the first female police office in New York City. Her son is an author in Las Vegas.

I saw her again this morning and it almost seemed like she was looking for me or at least expected me to help her out. She offered me a donut that she had taken home from the center but I told her I wasn’t a big breakfast guy. She pointed out that it’s the most important part of the day (perhaps a cure for morning mopeyness!). She told me about her sister and was excited I somehow knew about her son in Las Vegas. She even had me leave her outside her building as it was unseasonable warm and she wanted to enjoy the good weather. As I walked away she cheerily thanked me and wished me a good day.

My mind has a tendency to uncontrollable race with scenarios and questions and this particular interaction has incited the curious george in me. I’m not sure how she gets to the senior citizen center. I’m not sure how long it takes her to find a good samaritan to push her home and if she gets nervous or anxious as she waits for somebody. It’s hard to imagine she leaves her apartment each day knowing that there’s a good chance she won’t make it home on her own, but apparently she does. Seems like a decent dose of courage.

Recently, it dawned on me that maybe I wasn’t asking myself the right questions. At the very least, I was asking too many questions.

The simple fact is that I’ve pushed a women home from the corner of the block on multiple occasions. Each time she cheerily thanked me and wished me a good day. Each time my morning mopeyness was cured and I faced the subway with a smile.

Perhaps it is I that should be giddily thanking her. So here’s to you, old woman.

  • Marni Blake

    Maybe one day we will both get to wheel “old woman” home together….