Seattle Times: Did the Ice Age have its own Rodins?

Pavlov and the morning routine

My alarm clock makes a very quiet "grunk" noise just before the alarm goes off, and over the 8 or so years I've had this clock I've learned, in true conditioned-behavior response, to snap awake at that "grunk" and leap across the room to turn off the damned alarm before it starts its BEEP BEEP BEEP from hell.

However, in the last couple of years in particular I've also more often come full awake about two minutes before the alarm, in that bleary state of wishing I could make two minutes feel like two days, rather than the two seconds it truly is.

This morning I woke up just after 06:00 and lay there dozing fitfully. I snapped full awake at 06:58, climbed out of bed to turn off the alarm, switched on the television to the morning news, and crawled back into bed to enjoy the snug warmth.

Snapped awake again at 07:39 to the nasally sounds of former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's denials about secret documents and backpedaling about the lackadaisical approach George Bush took toward policymaking (or even listening in Cabinet meetings) during the first months of the Bush administration.

I don't remember waking up before the alarm went off, waking up to the alarm, turning on the TV, or climbing back into bed.

Most disorienting.