Shouts & Murmurs
My Quiet Time
by Andy Borowitz June 1, 2009
Q. What are some things you do to manage your time effectively? Whoever said that the early bird gets the worm could have been talking about me, only Iím a person, not a bird, and Iím not interested in getting worms, more like getting things done. But I do get up early. In fact, the secret to my success could be boiled down to three little words: my quiet time. It begins at 1 A.M., when I get out of bed, check my e-mail, brush my teeth, scan some documents, and floss. Then Iíll surf the Web, maybe order a sectional couch or trade zloty futures. Last week, I bought a Swiss chalet and sold it at a twenty-per-cent profit while I was still in my pajamas. I wanted to high-five someone, but no one else was awake. Sometimes I canít remember if Iíve flossed already, so Iíll do it again, just to be sure, while checking my e-mail and maybe sending a fax. Did I mention that the early bird gets the worm? That in many ways applies to me.
A. I get up at 4:30 every morning. I like the quiet time. Itís a time I can recharge my batteries a bit. I exercise and I clear my head and I catch up on the world. I read papers. I look at e-mail. I surf the Web. I watch a little TV, all at the same time. I call it my quiet time but Iím already multitasking. I love listening to music, so Iíll do that in the morning, too, when Iím exercising and watching the news.
óAn interview with Robert Iger, the C.E.O. of Disney, in the Times.
By 1:03, Iíve had two cups of coffee, Iím down in my basement on the elliptical, and my heart is pounding like a cheetahís. I know that cheetahs have a fast heart rate because I often watch Animal Planet while Iím on the elliptical, although sometimes Iíll do the picture-in-picture thing so I can watch CNBC Asia while Iím watching the thing about the cheetahs. It isnít always about cheetahs; itís about other animals, too, like meerkats. I just said cheetahs as a for instance. I do the elliptical naked. One time when I was on the elliptical, I patched myself into a conference call in Jakarta and accidentally hit the camera thing on my phone, so everyone wound up seeing me in the buff, all flopping around and everything. Another time when I was on the elliptical, I saw an amazing documentary about cheetahs.
While Iím on the elliptical and maybe ordering a hovercraft online, Iíll drain a six-pack of Red Bull. Red Bull Red Bull Red Bullybullybull. Then Iíll call London. I donít have any business in London, but I have a London phone directory and I like to call people at random. It helps me clear my head. Youíd be surprised, though, how some people in London will get totally honked off if you call them out of the blue just to say ďWhatís up?Ē Itís not an anti-American thing; sometimes Iíll call them with a fake British accent and say ďTallyho!Ē and theyíll still get pissed. Theyíll act like itís the middle of the night, even though with the time change and everything itís already 6 A.M. But even if they tell me to go fuck myself it recharges my batteries.
Thereís no end to the things I can accomplish during my quiet time. I have a fairly nimble contralto voice, and after I pop an amphetamine or two Iíll work my way through the Metropolitan Opera repertoire, taking breaks to revise my will or maybe buy a fishing lodge. One thing I like to do is a controlled burn of dry twigs in the woods behind my house. Iíll do the elliptical for twenty minutes, set fire to the woods, sing an aria from ďThe Magic Flute,Ē then jump back on the elliptical. Now, hereís something that honks me off: neighbors who call the fire department when youíre in the middle of a controlled burn. Those sirens start wailing and, before you know it, there goes my quiet time. I guess the world is divided into two kinds of people: those who understand quiet time and those who donít. By the way, you know who really makes the most of their quiet time? Cheetahs. I saw a documentary on them one time and they are awesome. ♦
Shouts & Murmurs: My Quiet Time : The New Yorker