‘A quiet one. And yourself?’

Today I arrived at work at the usual time. This means that it was early. I am not a morning person. It is approximately 11am before I begin to feel vaguely human, and ready to interact with the world. Numb is the word my family used to describe my morning persona. Best avoided, first thing.

Being prone to late nights has always been a weakness – even as a teenager going to bed before midnight was a rare occurrence. Now that I am an adult (although I remain reluctant to call myself mature) I have responsibilities that require me to be alert from the beginning of the day. But beddy-byes before the witching hour is seldom achieved.

Come the morning, I am sluggish and morose – regardless of whether I have gotten six or nine hours sleep the night before. The hour long commute to work in a bus is helpful, as it allows me to emerge into a state of semi-alertness. It feels like I sleepwalk to the bus-stop. The actual journey itself is spent in quiet observation of my fellow travellers. I don’t engage with them ever, but I can sit back and absorb their antics in a passive, uninvolved manner as my brain begins the sluggish process of stretching and waking up.

I arrive at my desk and announce ‘Good morning’ in an audible voice. I look at the window as I am doing saying this. A vague and non-specific greeting is essential here. Avoid eye-contact if at all possible. It means that you have acknowledged your colleagues and cannot be accused of rudeness or anti-social behaviour. But as it is not directed at anyone in particular, then with a bit of luck, further engagement with others is avoided. Until a more reasonable hour.

Mondays are tricky here, as the dreaded question ‘How was your weekend?’ is highly probable on this most horrid of days. This question is usually launched at the coffee machine – this being a situation where human interaction is unavoidable.

Today I was hit with it, as I was waiting by the machine in the cafeteria.

‘How was your weekend?’

This weekend I acted in a play and took a cliff-side sea walk. It was eventful.

My response ‘Oh a quiet one, I stayed in. And yourself’.

‘The same.’

The perfect answer. It is a mutual acknowledgement with a sufficient level of respect shown, while at the same time avoiding any possibility of a long winded story about weekend adventures that have no appeal to me, and which I want to avoid hearing about.

I am not an anti-social person. Catch me after 11am and I will chat away and smile and ask questions about your life.

Just leave me be, before that. Is that too much to ask for?


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