There’s a famous line from the cheesy 1970 film “Love Story” (which I have written about before) in which a very wooden Ali McGraw tells an impossibly cute Ryan O’Neal that “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Which anyone who has ever been in a healthy long-term relationship knows is TOTAL BULLSHIT. Love means saying your sorry on a very regular basis. In fact, sometimes it means having to say you’re sorry even when you’re not.
At our house, a far more realistic “meaning” of love can be found in our weekday morning routine. My Swede works as a postal carrier in Copenhagen and needs to be up, on average, at least two hours earlier than I do. Over time, I have managed to train myself NOT to be disturbed by the annoying beep of her alarm clock on most mornings, though I do usually wake up enough to say goodbye before she leaves the apartment at 4:45 a.m. I then roll over and happily go back to sleep until my clock radio gently wakes me to music around 6:15.
But Dr. Darling has been battling a pretty bad cold this week (was actually home sick on both Tuesday and Wednesday) and is taking imported American multi-symptom cold medicine at night (specifically a generic version of Nyquil) in order to get some decent sleep. But as anyone who’s taken Nyquil knows, it can really knock you out. So the past two mornings, the Swede has asked me to set MY clock radio as a back up to ensure that she actually got up on time.
The first morning this worked well. I managed to give her the necessary nudge at 4:15 and reset it for 6:15. But then I must have gotten over-confident or something, because this morning … in my own groggy state … I seem to have accidentally de-activated the alarm function when I reset the wake-up time for 6:15. Oops.
I knew something was wrong when I woke up naturally and there was light coming through the bedroom window. It was 8:00, the time I would normally be arriving at the office at the latest. I flew into the shower, jumped into the most easily accessible clean clothes available (jeans and a rugby shirt … thank God for casual Fridays) and managed to get out the door by 8:30 for the 25 minute walk to work.
By walking briskly and miraculously finding no queue at the closest Espresso House (Sweden’s version of Starbucks, but with better-tasting coffee), I was even able to grab a a cup of Joe and get myself partially caffeinated (and therefore civil) before arriving at my office just in time for our regular Friday company breakfast.
And while this totally screwed with my original plan to be in by 7:30 so that I could leave a bit early on what was going to be a beautiful fall Friday afternoon, I still managed to get some satisfaction out of knowing that my still-recovering spouse made it to work on time because of me.