Every day for the last several days I easily got up, around 4 and began my day. No alarm clock woke me, no bus awaited me, no demands were placed on me, but I got up and enjoyed the quiet of the morning at home. This morning, the morning I was to be back in the office, the alarm woke me up at a little after 5. I struggled to wake, struggled to get showered and shaved and dressed and ready for the bus. The one morning I could have slept in, I couldn't.
I was surprised to get on the bus and find someone else already there. At the time I get on, I'm usually the first pick up. I said good morning to him and he nodded in reply. I could see he was tired and was content to simply share the bus and share the quiet with him.
One of the things I like about taking the bus to work is that I go a different route pretty much every time there are other passengers to be picked up or dropped off. I didn't recognize the part of the city we were in but I knew we must be close to his destination because the bus was making a series of tight turns in a very residential area. I turned to him, "Is this you then?"
"Yes," he said, "I'm near home now."
"You had an early start this morning," I said.
"Yes, I was at the hospital for dialysis overnight," he said, "seven hours."
"You going to work?" he asked, knowing the answer because the driver had already asked me if I was working tomorrow, New Year's Eve day.
"Yes," I said, "I'm always the first one in."
"You are a lucky, lucky man," he said, "A lucky man."
"I suppose I am," I said.
Then the bus pulled up to his home and he got up and as he was leaving he said, "Have a happy New Year, appreciate everything you have and don't be bitter about what you don't. My dad always said that to me on New Year's, I figure it's pretty good advice."
Yes, I suppose I am lucky.
And I should be feeling grateful.
Even when the sound of an alarm makes me feel otherwise.