Sunday, 30 June 2013

(Personal Training) Early Risers

What they do at 6 am is anyone’s guess. I only know that they’re incredibly self-righteous about it, and talk about the dawn as if it’s a personal reward, bestowed on account of their great virtue.
– David Sedaris

When my alarm went off at 4:50 am this morning I immediately regretted every decision in my life that had led me to that moment. Then I poured myself out of bed, put on my Personal Trainer uniform and headed off to work. ‘Oh, Woe is me!’ I thought to myself. Usually I ride my bike to early gym shifts, it’s free, quick and impresses my manager. However after 5 weeks away overseas flat tyres and cold winds led me to take the train. When I ride I take back streets and rarely see another person. I can quite easily convince myself that I am the only person in the city forced to wake at this ungodly hour. I simultaneously congratulate myself and feel terrible at the same time.  Taking the train is an entirely different story. When I get to the main road I don’t even think to ‘Look to the right, look to the left, then look to the right again’ because no one’s gonna be on the roads at this time right? I am nearly killed flat by a Toyota Corolla. As I approach the shopping centre through the dark morning, a panel van slowly pulls up beside me... ‘Oh my God’ my brain screams ‘that man’s going to blow up the ATM’ (This has happened in my suburb before and presumably the perpetrators prefer the cover of darkness). Then the man gets out of his van and starts to unpack newspapers in front of the newsagent - proving my suspicious mind wrong, teaching me that darkness is not just for criminals. As I climb the stairs to the train station I expect to be the sole shivering person waiting for the 5:19 am. Once again, I am proved wrong as the platform is packed: Who are these people - and what are they doing? The men in fluoro vests are easy, but the two teenagers huddled together in a corner away from the wind? The boy wearing Adidas shorts with a raincoat? The 80 year old woman with neatly permed hair? WHERE ARE THEY GOING? The train arrives (no chance for delays this early!) and although it is only the second train of the day it is difficult to get a seat.

We are a mixed bunch: Tradies, cleaners, environmental engineers, baristas, man doing his tax with pages spread out on four seats around him (?!). But we have one thing in common... We all look entirely unenthusiastic. Yet despite the scowls and gentle snores surrounding me, I feel oddly comforted. Contrary to my self-pity 29 minutes earlier, I am not the only person in Melbourne forced to endure this insane wake-up call. Feeling a spark brighter than before, I wedge myself between two seats, close my eyes and enjoy the 4 minutes of napping I can steal before Melbourne Central.

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