There’s nothing quite like working past the time that the rest of the world has turned its back on the day, closed their eyes, and directed their thoughts on the coming day. For them, the day is over. For us, the day has just begun.
Driving into work with the late afternoon sun low in the sky or under the canvas of purplish twilight, I feel ready to face another day. This is when it begins. The realization that the faces I see behind the wheel as I share the road with fellow motorists are the faces of those heading home after a day at the office, on the job site, or behind the counter. When they say goodbye, I say hello.
I arrive at work greeted by warm smiles worn by those who are smug with the realization that they will be leaving soon. They’ve put in their time. They’re returning the look I likely gave them 12 hours earlier. Their eyes seem to speak of the anticipation of what lies ahead not what they leave behind. I nod as I acknowledge the fact that I will perhaps see some of them in what will feel like moments, but in reality marks another calendar day.
As the evening gives way to night, the voices quiet. The halls darken. The energy changes. The low hum of productivity permeates the air.
The clock ticks ever closer to another day. Another day to be present. Another day to cross off the calendar. Another day to accomplish something. Or nothing.
I’m keenly aware of being a member of a very elite club. Working at night has its definite advantages. It’s a club that we don’t necessarily want everyone to be a part of. That’s part of the allure. We rally. We rise. We scrap. We provide for others when all our bodies want to do sometimes is rest. Sleep.
Yet we push through.
Night shift means you sometimes do things that day walkers can’t imagine. We stay awake when our bodies are begging for rest. We come home, get our children off to school, walk our dogs, do a bit of homework, and then we might lay our head down to rest. And then after only a few hours of sleep, we join the daylight world.
I’m typing this after working two back-to-back 12-hour night shifts with a combined six hours of sleep since Monday morning at 0700. It’s not a complaint. It’s a fact. My eyes are itchy. My eyes are tired. But, my body and my brain are awake. And I feel a sense of satisfaction that no day shift job could possibly provide.
Does this sound crazy?
The other crazies know what I mean.