If you are one of those well-rested, or otherwise non-morning folk like myself, I tell you, if you need a change in your life, start doing mornings. They’re terrific. The toast. The coffee! The coolness of the air that reminds you of a different country. It feels like a miracle when you start to wake up of your own accord, preempting the alarm as though interrupting a pesky coworker with exactly the words they were about to say. And perhaps the best part is saying “good morning” to anyone you’d like to—more valuable than any of the other salutations because its truthfulness is running out a short clock until noon.
Although it took me four years to get to this point, I like the feeling of getting up and going about a part of the day I haven’t explored as fully here as the hours after 10 p.m. There’s two weeks left, but still plenty of things I haven’t done—or at least haven’t done when the sun is still sleepy. It is all lovely and I am glad to have rediscovered it lately, out of necessity for more hours spent in the library. I would say that the morning is the most pure and honest time of day, but there are many cases when this isn’t true at all. When I wake up I’m often filled with worries and anxieties that never come to pass. I’ve told lies before 9 a.m. The trustworthy toaster will sometimes fail to work or—worse—burn.
But there is still a reason why manic pixie dream girls of movies say things like, “I just woke up one morning and I knew.” Why science has proven it’s the home of productivity and why the meals are called the most important (but I don’t buy that garbage because lunch is obviously much more fun). The morning always shows up, in a sharp and declarative way that doesn’t apply to the rolling hills of afternoon or the blues of night. You must be dropped into it from sleep, from above.
In the penultimate episode of Aziz Ansari’s excellent Netflix show “Master of None,” titled “Mornings,” features vignettes of Aziz’s character Dev and his girlfriend Rachel, played by Noel Wells, at various stages in their relationship one daybreak at a time. I liked this episode because it was romantic and real and very very funny. But also because of the way it is set up to have the reference point of progress and change be the very start of each of those days. It’s not quite through a direct comparison of one morning to another, but a linkage of a series of earliness that shows you the phases of their life through seasons.
I think about this because my last morning on this campus is approaching. Like a lot of lasts, it’s something that’s happened many times here but for some reason the significance is assigned to the bookend. I lost track of the number of games I saw in Cameron or how many bylines I’ve had in The Chronicle, seen Elmo’s from every table and run a couple dozen Recess production nights. But I know the number has to stop running up soon, and for each of those token experiences, I am cashing in for the last time either this week or next.
But counterintuitively, these last-ones, both the happening and the already happened, don’t always carry the extra weight that an ending should. In some cases I am packed and ready to go about the rest of the great big day that is life. Like in the candid glimpses of Dev and Rachel, the biggest days or worst or best were not the last. Their story was in mornings over time—that is, over one episode—in the way that the mornings here in Durham have done for me.
I think about the many places I have started a morning since coming to Duke—more than a few in The Chronicle lounge; K-ville tents; the forests of Pisgah National Park; futons of various levels of comfort; a pillow fort; the Pegram common room. I think about every cold basketball fan, PWILDing and each of my six different roommates I woke up next to. I think about the mornings I missed by sleeping in and the ones that arrived undetached from the unraveling scroll of the night before.
And on May 16 I will wake up in my Anderson Street apartment and no longer be a Duke student. But that isn’t the morning that matters as much.
Georgia Parke is a Trinity senior and Recess Editor.
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