It’s been a challenging week for most Americans, because Daylight Savings Time. It’s harsh and it’s unfair. There you are, minding your own business, then suddenly you’re tired all the time, like you’re pregnant except the smell of undistilled doesn’t make you want to hurl. The upside is that for the whole first week or two you can blame anything on DST. Late for work? DST. Missed the toilet? DST. Car got repossessed? DST. You got possessed? Well, that’s probably more Satan’s fault than DST, IMHO.
You feel like things have been really rough for you with the time change. And I feel for you. I do. But you should feel really sorry for me because I’m in the midst of a year-long assignment made of shift work. So it’s like I’m dealing with the fallout from DST nonstop for a full year. I deserve your sympathy. Not as much as people who live in California on purpose, but almost. Also, I deserve your sympathy because I still maintain a blog ten years after they stopped being cool, and have you seen my dad jeans.
My circadian rhythm has been bullied and slapped around for months on end. It’s confused. If my circadian rhythm were a person, it would be like a long-time boxer, vaguely making sense, unable to visually focus on stationary objects, and looking like if it stepped off a curb it might fall over. That also describes certain elected officials, actually.
Some days I start work at 4 am, other days I get off work at midnight. Some nights I hit the sack early to wake up at 5 in the morning, some mornings I sleep in after getting home at 1 am and not needing to get back to office until noon. On a few unfortunate occasions I’ve worked a late shift, gone to bed after midnight, then woke up at 4 am to get back to work for an early shift. And of course I spend a week out of every five or so working overnight, 10:30 pm to 7:30 am. Fortunately, I’m making ridiculous amounts of money as a public servant, so.
One thing Abu Halen excels at though is finding the silver lining in dark clouds, and then forgetting to do important things because the silver lining is shiny and it distracts me.
I love coming off an overnight shift and walking through downtown Washington DC through the crowds of dour, humorless folks shuffling off to work, but I’m going home. I feel like I might fall asleep on my feet, but I’m going home. Also sometimes the drugged out guy is standing by the metro stop shouting obscenities at hallucinations and I’m feeling a certain kinship with him, because I’m so tired that I too am seeing things that aren’t there, but my hallucinations are blocks of Tillamook cheese, so I feel pretty good about that.
Another cool thing is that I rarely commute during rush hour, so I never have to stand on a crowded subway car and sniff strangers’ BO. Which, I concede has it’s own charm in certain contexts, like when you’re trying to throw up.
When I’m working after business hours, I also effectively have no boss. Autonomy is understood to be a key component to human well-being, and I can vouch for that. There’s nothing like being confronted with a problem at work at ten o’ clock at night and realizing I’m the guy to figure it out, and then figuring it out. And then telling myself, “Good job, you earned a Coke.” And then going into the drawer in my boss’s desk and borrowing a couple dollars for the vending machine. I’ll pay her back later.
So I guess constantly feeling like I’m dealing with the switch to DST isn’t so bad after all. I have a lot of blessings. You probably do too. The DST hangover will pass, and you’ll probably get your car back from impound soon. I just know it.