Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The Morning People and the Night People

     The morning people and the night people never could see eye to eye. At last they decided to try to work out a compromise, so they each picked a representative and told them to work out a way that we could all live together in peace, and to be ready to implement it by noon the next day.
     The morning person got an early start, and began preparing a list of possible proposals, and at noon, when the night person was awake and ready to work, they began the negotiations.
     It did not go well. The morning person would propose a schedule with an early start to the day, which would invariably be rejected by the night person, who wouldn't even listen seriously to the morning person's arguments, which the night person thought were just rationalizations made up on the spot to justify the morning person's ridiculous proposal. After all, the night person assumed (as night people are wont to do) that the morning person was just a slightly-earlier-in-the-evening person, and didn't realize that the morning person had actually been up for many hours, thinking very carefully about her arguments.
      It was thus a very frustrating afternoon for the morning person. They haggled and haggled for hours, each arguing passionately for why it was healthier or more efficient or morally superior to get up or go to bed at this time or that time. At last, as the morning person was growing too sleepy to continue, they tentatively agreed to an imperfect compromise to submit as their solution, if they couldn't come up with something better by the deadline. They wrote down the provisional schedule, and the morning person went to bed.
     The night person, however, stayed up pondering. She considered all the arguments that the morning person had offered for an early start, and realized that most of them were actually valid, and she began to appreciate that morning people really do get up very early in the morning, not just a few minutes earlier than night people do. She regretted dismissing the morning person's arguments as mere rationalizations. But she also realized that her own arguments for sleeping in late and working after the sun set were equally sensible. Unfortunately, the compromise solution they had drawn up ignored all of these very good reason reasons, and gave only the worst of both worlds. It was a terrible approach, now that she thought about it.

     And then, suddenly, it hit her. There was a way to design a schedule for living that would give both sides everything they wanted and more. Morning people would be able to make the most of their early-morning vigor and productivity, and night people would be able to maximize their own momentum, getting things done efficiently, and everyone would be able to achieve and share their greatest creativity, regardless of when they naturally went to bed. The idea she came up with was very simple, but very subtle, and would take a lot of work to get just right, or it wouldn't work at all. She picked up a pencil and a ream of paper, and dove in.
      It was 4:30 in the morning when she finished. She had checked and rechecked her work, and satisfied herself that it was as close to the ideal solution as any human mind could generate. Smiling wearily, she tore up the no longer needed compromise solution, wrote a quick note to explain what she had done, tidied up and went to bed.

    An hour later, the morning person finished brushing her teeth and scowled at the lazy night person, snoring loudly in a corner. She still resented not being taken seriously for most of the previous day's argument, and assumed (as morning people are wont to do) that the night person was really just a later-in-the-morning person, and had probably gone to bed only a few minutes later than she had herself. The morning person picked up the note on the table, and looked it over, unimpressed. A brand new schedule, slapped together hastily after she'd gone to bed? That can't be serious! And it's got some people sleeping through most of the day! Did the night person not pay any attention at all to her arguments for why it's better to get up early? And she'd even thrown away the compromise!
     Fortunately, the noon deadline was still several hours away. The morning person poured herself a cup of coffee and got to work, drafting up a proper schedule that would have people waking up and working when they were supposed to wake up and get to work, one that didn't cater to the lazy, shiftless people who spend all their time sleeping and leave everyone else to do all the work. She finished it at 11:30, with half an hour to spare thanks to her bright and early start, and put it into the envelope to be submitted, and looked again over at the night person, still sleeping in the corner. Shaking her head with contempt, she went off to submit the solution.

     And that is why we all have to be at school at 8:00 in the morning.

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