The Nocturnal Journals Part 1: Chili for Breakfast
For most of my life, I’ve envisioned the holiday season as a carefree time of freedom from school and plenty of time for merriment. First Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Years all in the course of just over a month’s time, and nothing to do but revel in it. Clearly the songwriter was spot on – it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Then I went and got employed in the retail industry and everything changed.
Suddenly, the period of time from mid-November to the end of the year became a madcap time of working and sleeping and working again, the most incredibly busy and relentless time of the year, the month when everyone on earth and all of their friends suddenly want to buy fresh cranberries and celery and apple cider by the boatload and the small team of people whose job it is to provide those things to them are driven to the brink of madness by the rush.
This is my first holiday season as a workin’ man, and while all of the stories from my coworkers about the madness of Christmases past are admittedly interesting, the most intriguing thing about this time of year for me so far has been the fact that the powers that be bumped me to the third shift. That means that, suddenly, I’ve had to make the switch from the type of guy who goes to sleep early in the evening and getting up early in the morning to go to work to the kind of guy who gets up in the evening, goes to work at midnight, and comes home and sleeps at 9:00 AM. That’s right, I am now nocturnal.
I’m not sure why that excites me so much, but it does. For some reason my brain is convinced that keeping such weird hours is pretty cool, even though my body disagrees, and every time I notice another bizarre quirk that comes with keeping these hours, I can’t help but take note with a fascinated “ahah”. Here are a few of those weird changes that I’ve noticed so far during the transition from early bird to night owl:
1. I can never remember what day it is. Seriously, when I wake up at 6:00 PM on a Monday, my brain takes note of the fact that it’s a Monday and refuses to believe that Monday is over until I go to sleep. Since I don’t go to sleep until mid-morning Tuesday, this creates some serious date confusion. I can’t hold conversations involving the words “today”, “tomorrow”, or “yesterday” anymore without coming across as slightly insane.
2. I have a hard time not texting people when they’re asleep. I’ll think, “Hey, I ought to text So-and-So on my lunch break and see how they’re doing!” So on lunch break I pull out my phone and see that it’s 4:45 in the morning. Then I play Tetris instead.
3. I never eat breakfast cereal anymore. I often wake up to the smell of whatever my family is making for dinner and go have some of that for breakfast. The other day I stumbled out of bed and ate roast beef and baked potatoes five minutes later. Yesterday (Tuesday? Monday? One of the days that ends in “day”, at least) I had chili. This is probably my favorite thing about working third shift, and I may have to continue this habit when I go back to working at 4:00 AM. I mean, really, what better way to start your day than with a fresh, hot bowl of chili? Now if I could just remember which day it is I’m starting…