None of the people who regularly surf here realize this, but one fact known to all my friends, family and work colleagues is that I eat chocolate for breakfast. Every day (almost). I don’t go for the milk chocolate, but the dark gourmet chocolates from upscale supermarkets. I buy it in bulk (at anywhere from 7-12$ a pound) and chop it into small pieces. When you buy the gourmet chocolate, you don’t have to eat a lot of it; in comparison, eating the Hershey’s kisses or Snickers rarely satisfies, offering more of a sugar high than anything else. I’ve realized in my early middle age that you can still enjoy the things you did in youth, only in smaller doses. For example, I used to enjoy drinking Coca Cola in my youth and teenage years; I gulped down gallons of it, a thought which sickens me to this day. Occasionally though, I will buy a Coke in one of those 6 1/2 bottles, which seems enough to savor the taste without getting the sugar rush. (A former Coke executive once said that Coke’s real competition was not Pepsi but water).
I don’t eat a lot; perhaps two of three large pieces, and I make sure to eat it with cereal, fruits (kiwis usually) and occasional protein. Chocolate of course has healthful properties and is full of caffeine; I am particularly sensitive to caffeine, but I allow myself one Diet Coke and chocolate in the morning everyday. That amount of caffeine usually is enough but not too much.
My morning habits are unusual, to say the least. Although I consider myself a “night owl,” I usually go to sleep prematurely at 9:00 or so, waking up at 3:00 or 4:00 AM in the morning. In the morning my mind is particularly alert and attuned to writing things. I’ll get up, surf the net a bit, respond to emails (not too much) and then if I’m lucky, focus on the writing. I don’t usually spend too much of this time actually writing, but whatever I do write tends to be gold. Then about 6:30 or 7:00 AM, I go to sleep again, and sleep for an hour or two. I don’t use an alarm clock; they really annoy me. Of course, my work is fairly flexible about starting time, or else I wouldn’t have developed this routine, but I usually get to work between 9:30 and 10:00 AM every day.
That second waking is often stressful. Look–it’s late!—hurry! Shucks, it’s Thursday–only two more days until the weekend! God, I really need to clean up my apartment; where are my keys? what was I supposed to do today? At some point during the stressful go-to-work routine–sometimes in the shower, sometimes while getting dressed or making my lunch–it hits me: in a flash I remember that chocolate exists. That moment, that profound realization brings a moment of pure joy; okay, I’m hurrying to go to work, but at least in a few minutes I will have chocolate (or chocolate will have me); at least there is one thing in this crazy life I have to look forward to; something small, insubstantial and metaphysically trivial. Trivialties are so easy to overlook, so easy to forget. Each day we are reborn and must rediscover them in the catalogs of our memories.