I hear the flick of a switch and my eyelids turn red. I hear roommates turning and jumping out of bed. “Is it the time?” I ask myself. I open my eyes, see the usual checkered pattern of sound-absorbent ceiling tiles and fluorescent lights behind frosted glass. I take out my Obamaphone, a small cell phone issued by the government free of charge to the poor, and look at the screen. “It’s the time.” I hear roommates sighing and turning; roommates purposefully and efficiently getting themselves in order (early birds, farmers, military veteran types); roommates slowly and sloppily getting out of bed (night owls, city slickers, the tired and the weary, the rest of us).
I look at my phone fifteen minutes later. “*Now*’s the time. Rise and shine, soldier. Another day that God has made.” I don’t dwell on having to get up at such an early hour, to a cold room and crowded bathroom. I don’t try to form thoughts, opinions; it’s too early for that. I could sing “Oh, How I Hate To Get Up In the Morning”, an Irving Berlin song from World War I, but it will contribute nothing useful. I prefer “Yes, We Have No Bananas” at breakfast.
I change into day underwear, move the grey military-style blanket and white sheet aside, put on two pairs of socks, pants, get out of my brown military-style bed, sliding directly into my boots. (I like boots. Show me your boots, and I’ll tell you who you are.) I pass other beds, enter the bathroom. You don’t have the security clearance to hear more.