Gravel in the Knees, Garbage in the Air

This morning I woke up 30 minutes late.

30 minutes.

That’s an entire episode of Friends. An entire high school lunch period. An entire bake time of a thin chicken breast. Kids could have safely swam after eating in the time I slept past my alarm. Traffic on a downtown freeway could have cleared up after a small roadside collision.

You’d think I would have noticed. That my body would have jolted awake to say, “hey! It seems like we should be up by now! The sun is touching us, that’s a bad sign! We haven’t done our morning pee yet; our bladder is still full! We’re so hungry! We’re too rested! We’re late! We’re late! We’re late!” But alas, I rolled over casually, as if I was on vacation or had successfully Ferris Bueller-ed my way out of a math test.

I wonder what time it is, I thought to myself, sure I was going to find a wee hour on the clock. I wiped my eyes, clicked the power button on my phone and the numbers shouted up at me: it’s 6:30, bitch!

Suddenly, everything went to shit.

I jumped out of bed—my hair sticking up straight and one eye still half shut. I tried to tell myself I didn’t have to make the bed, that we could go one day without making the bed, but my OCD thought not.

I don’t have time to make the bed.

I can’t leave without making the bed!

But I don’t have time to make the bed.

I made the bed.

In the bathroom, I brushed my teeth for far less time than a dentist would recommend, then washed my face so rough I coated my hairline in Proactiv solution. I ran to my closet, grabbed the first pair of pants I saw—which I’d soon discover were the still rank pants I worked out in the day before—pulled the first shirt I could reach off of a hanger and stuck my arms through a jacket I found hanging on a doorknob. None of these matched, but I forced myself to count non-nakedness as the morning’s first win.

I scraped foundation over my face with my probably should have been cleaned yesterday makeup brush, and then wiped mascara into my eyelashes. At first glance, I was relatively impressed with my efforts. I didn’t appear to look drunk, hungover, or My Boyfriend Did My Makeup ­tutorial-ed. But then I found mascara all down the side of my hand, deodorant on the bottom of my shirt and a big, uncovered pimple just under my chin.

My brain: Just breathe, it’s going to be alright.

My watch: It’s 6:45, bitch!

I flipped off the bathroom light and ran downstairs.

I had planned for a nice, slow breakfast. The night before I’d pulled out a few things to try a Pinterest recipe said to be both healthy and delicious. I even thought about making a double batch to share with my roommates. Night me is always so thoughtful…

Meanwhile, morning me shoved two pieces of bread in the toaster. It would be burnt wheat bread for me, and my roommates would have to fend for themselves.

I scraped together a sandwich. This will have to be enough, I said to my morning self. She believed it, too. She understood the time crunch. My lingering lunch self however, threw up middle fingers. She was already starving.

The toaster popped. I pulled the blackened bread out, then buttered and honeyed them up. I wrapped both pieces in a paper towel, stuck my sandwich in my lunch bag, filled up a Nalgene bottle with water and a coffee cup with some chocolate milk. I put a granola bar in my purse, slid my sunglasses over my eyes, then walked out the door, arms full, and threw everything into the front seat of my car.

As if on cue, chocolate milk began to spill on my seat, leaving a dark brown stain in the grey cloth. I nodded my head as if to say, “seems about right,” then I got in the driver’s seat, peeled out of the driveway and down the street towards work. Halfway there, I ran over a trash bag and it hooked itself to the underside of my car. Glass and plastic began to shoot out from under me, causing cars to flash their lights, honk and yell.

“Why are you doing this?!” they asked with darting eyes, as if my morning routine always consisted of towing a bag of hazardous garbage behind my Saturn Ion. I tried to keep my eyes on the road ahead, knowing full well I was leaving a Mario Kart obstacle-esque street behind me, desperately hoping I could find a place to pull over in the middle of morning traffic.

By the time I found a driveway and ignored the bright red sign that probably said, “definitely no stopping here, not even if your spewing glass shards at neighboring cars,” my Saturn smelled as melty as a church sanctuary at the end of a candlelight Christmas Eve service. I squatted down on the sidewalk, then kneeled, then crawled halfway underneath my car to retrieve the melted heavy weight trash bag—which was now completely empty—and threw it on the side of the road, adding littering to my morning’s list of sins.

When I finally got to work, I was 15 minutes late, had gravel in my knees and a crazed look in my eye.

“Good morning,” a coworker said. I smiled, completely disagreeing, and made my way to my desk.

No, it wasn’t a good morning, I said to myself as I opened a comfort snack I brought for my lunch self, and how dare you say otherwise. I was dead set on proving them wrong, but then, as I started to decompress, that thing happened. The thing where after you’ve made it through something non-life threatening, grand-scheme meaningless, yet undoubtedly and outrageously shitty, you lean back in your chair and just laugh. So instead, I held my cup of chocolate milk up to the universe in a cheers. Because no, it wasn’t a good morning, but I suppose it could still be a good day, and an even better story.

About the Author


Kimberlee Koehn is a writer based out of Los Angeles, CA and is extremely passionate about telling stories and spreading positivity. When she’s not writing, you can often find her reading, hiking, watching sports, and most likely talking to herself.

You can find her at


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