Saturday, March 17, 2007


Are you an A person or a B person in the morning? I heard about a recent study in Denmark that explored the differences between As and Bs. An A person is the kind who jumps out of bed, pops in the shower (and maybe sings while there), trots down the stairs, and has nothing but positive words to say about the opportunity to be up and about on such a wonderful day (even if it's a drab inversion day). They are ready for bed early, so they can be up and at 'em early the next day.

The B type of person fights and struggles just to get upright in the morning. They often hit the snooze button several times (if they can find it) or have to be coaxed and prodded out of bed by a spouse or parent, etc. These people don't function well until about 9 or 10 am, feel like they're walking around in a foggy haze, and can barely find the shower nozzles. They don't like to talk much when they first get up. If they do talk, they have nothing good to say about anything. If they manage to get their eyes open enough to put in their contacts, they stare off into space until the fog clears, while the A types buzz about merrily around them. When the A's are all tucked in to bed at night, the B's suddenly turn on, making up for all they couldn't accomplish in the morning.

The Danish study prompted some companies there to consider having two kinds of workers--A workers and B workers. They A's would come earlier and leave earlier. The B's would come later and leave later. How civilized! The B's wouldn't have to deal with the annoyingly cheerful, energetic A's, and the A's wouldn't have to slow down for the pokey, negative B's. You could match your work hours to your personality type. I have lived in Denmark , and I can tell you that they are very practical, reasonable people. This idea makes sense! First off, their work week is 37 hours as opposed to 40 hours like ours. People relax a lot in the evenings instead of running errands and shopping. Stores close about 7 pm. You just might not be able to get your late-night chocolate fix at 10 pm, but you're at home being cozy with your family and friends instead.

I'm a B and have been forever. But guess what? I'm married to a capital A. While Darren literally runs down the stairs in the morning, I struggle to make it down the stairs at all. While Darren is driving Adrienne to 5:30 am swim practice, I am still in a deep, coma-like sleep, unaware that he has even gone. While he is pressed and dressed by 7 am, I don't get that way until 9:00 or 9:30 or even later on some days. Part of it has to do with the differences between men's and women's grooming rituals. Mine just takes longer. The contacts, the hair, the makeup, the lotion, the earrings, etc. But even if I didn't do all those things, he would still leave me in the dust. It's just how we are.

So the Danish work day options might work for some, but if you don' t have a traditional job that you go to everyday, it wouldn't benefit you. People still need to get up and help the kids get to school. They still need to make lunches or iron clothes and sign school papers. All that has to happen whether they are an A or a B. So it's a good theory for the workplace. But could it work at home? Could you be an A home or a B home? Could society organize itself around an earlier or later schedule? I wonder.

So . . . what if your spouse is an A and you're a B like me? Oh man, I don't even want to think about that. Maybe you could work out a compromise like OK, we'll be an A minus family this year, but next year we're going to be B pluses. We would say things like, "Oh, it's too late to call the Joneses. They're A's," or "Don't the Smiths know we're B's and they shouldn't mow their lawn so early?"

I would really love to be an A and greet the day with enthusiasm and energy. It does make sense to me. But it's like trying to ignore who I've been my whole life. I would be going against my genes, my personality, the very core of who I am. Plus that, do you think my children could ever handle two perpetually cheerful parents in the morning?

I don't think it's going to happen. Not in this lifetime.

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