7am is an interesting moment, in that user experience varies wildly. If you are an early riser, it is one of the best hours around. It is too early for anything serious to have gone wrong yet. The day and all its opportunities stretch out ahead, and you feel fully equipped to seize them. You are awake and clean and everything is fine. I am destroying this day, you think. I am the boss of this day in every respect. You are a proud sea captain, and 7am is your stunning ship.
If, however, you have slept poorly or if conditions have arranged themselves in such a way that you have not slept at all, it is harrowing. It‚Äôs so easy for things to get wildly effed up, for everything which happens post-7am to be bad. What‚Äôs awful, for instance, is when you are 23 years old in London, and you have just exited the club and now you make your way to the tube station. It is 7am on a Wednesday. You are feeling like perhaps you are going to die. Your heart is like a damn hummingbird. You get onto the tube and now here come all the people going to work. They are wearing suits and angrily hugging their briefcases. They have the look of people late for something important. There are many women doing that thing where they have their office clothes on but then sassy trainers on their feet, in order to make their commute easier. These people have commutes, you think. They have jobs and lives and they did not just spend all their money on questionable things. You sit there and think I am not a religious man but then how come it feels exactly like God is frowning at me. Are you there God? It is me and I am so sorry. 7am can break you, if you are not ready to meet it.
7am is not for everyone, but that is sort of the point: it‚Äôs a painfully acquired taste. Liking 7am means that you are the discerning type. A controversial crush of the week, then, but high-stakes crushes are sometimes the most rewarding.
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Age: 7am is either very young, or it is as old and haggard as the hills.
Family: 7am is 6am‚Äôs hard-faced, unforgiving brother. 6am will lend you money again and again, but 7am will release the hounds after one failure to repay. 6am will offer you at least two cups of tea, while 7am is standing in the doorway going Are you insane, we have to leave right, right now. 7am‚Äôs dad is late capitalism. Its mom is the emotion regret.
Vital Statistics/Personal Life Section on Wikipedia:¬† I read something which said that South Africans get the least sleep out of any nation in the world. This intuitively sounded wrong to me, but I don‚Äôt really have any general knowledge to speak of, and so it could easily be right. It also said that we get up at 6:09 am, which means we are absolutely dominating the 7am game. We‚Äôre so ready for 7am it‚Äôs not even funny. We are not scared of it at all.
I also read something which said that those who are out of bed by 7am are likely to be both happier and thinner. It was on the kind of website where thinness and happiness are basically the same thing, so, again, I don‚Äôt know how seriously to take this fact.
Star sign: Gemini, obviously. You give a Gemini your best shot, and there is no telling what the outcome will be. Maybe they will make out with you, maybe they will just scrunch up their nose the tiniest bit and look away, as if to say I expected more of you, and I was a fool to do it. Geminis! Who can say?
Agonised reflection of the What Am I Doing With My Life variety. When I Say My Life What Does That Even Mean.
The forward march of time
Dogs needing to go outside and wee
Opening the windows and doors
The sound of cars unlocking
Getting on the bus
Getting on the train
Favourite Food: It is hard for me to imagine wanting to eat anything at 7am, so I am just going to go ahead and say that 7am is disinterested in food. It is one of those types who are desperate for an inventor to make haste with the pill which will meet all our daily consumption needs.
Favourite Colour: 7 am likes yellow and faintly electric blue.
Trivia: 7am has never heard of Rasputin. 7am listens to extremely shouty classical music in the car. Its favourite bird is the mourning dove. It has several bones to pick with Egyptian geese. Why don‚Äôt they ever just be quiet? Who are they yelling at? How come? 7am needs to know.
Favourite Movie: Who watches movies at 7 in the morning?
Smoking Y/N: Oh boy, yes. Even if you yourself do not smoke, 7am wants you to know that it approves of smoking as an activity. It approves of someone opening their windows and leaning out as far as they can go. Extra points if their breath in the cold air mixes with the smoke so they can‚Äôt tell which is which.
Drinking Y/N: A hard no. Basically, there is no circumstance in which drinking at 7am is a good idea. It is way, way too early, or it is much too late. In either case, drinking at 7am means you have a strange and taxing day to look forward to.
Celebrity Crush: A divisive figure, such as Adam Driver or a state president.
Most Memorable Holiday: 7am has an amazing time in the far Northern hemisphere during the summer months. The sun never sets, which means that the sun never rises, which further means that 7am can take it real, real easy. 7am looks around and thinks Sunrises are so massively overrated, and I think we can all admit that now.
Favourite Season:¬† Summer. 7am in winter is an absolute piss-take.
Favourite Book: How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Perfect First Date:¬† It‚Äôs important that 7am is given the opportunity to relax. I heard about these special hot springs near Montagu or somewhere, and the reason they are special is that there is an exceptionally high concentration of lithium in the water. People get into those special hot springs, I‚Äôve heard, and they just feel super mega-relaxed immediately. They just chill right out. This is the perfect place for 7am.
What is next for 7am:¬† Hard to say. Has 7am always been like this? Will it ever change? Probably not. People will always need to go to work, which means that they will always be hastily pulling on their jackets at 7am, and knocking back the rest of their tea, abandoning their rusks half-eaten as they make for the door.
Rosa Lyster is a writer living in Cape Town. She writes an essay a week at¬†rosalyster.com.
Photography by Paul Wallington