Thursday, October 9, 2008

The semi-late shift

I worked nights for years. I was a dispatcher at a towing company, and worked until midnight or later; when I got the job that got me where I am now (such a confusing story, maybe I'll go into some time) I worked nights as an evening receptionist/data entry operator for a trucking company. I felt, especially after Colin died, as though I had wasted years of valuable relating time with my friends and family. Shortly after Mr. J and I started dating I had the opportunity to transition to day shift at the trucking company and take a corporate training position. I jumped on it, and have been a day-walker ever since.

That job eventually led me to where I am now, and that is managing a data entry/imaging office. I make my own hours for the most part, as long as I'm available during the day to deal with personnel issues, customer service issues, and the like. With our big, sexy project at work, the management team is putting in some really chaotic hours. I'm working the second shift, 4pm to midnight, for a couple days so Bunny can take care of things, and I'm remembering all the things I loved and hated about the second shift.

I am a night person by nature. I like the quiet, dead-of-night vibe that stretches between the hours of 10pm and 4am. I like the hum of machinery, or the clack of fingers on a keyboard, or the whirring of a fan - sounds that are singularly identifiable when they are not competing with the cacophony of voices and fax machines and the copier and the phones of the day shift. Even when I'm not alone in the office, I can pull the shroud of nighttime around me like a blanket that admits no others. It feels like a secret, working at night, like a secret me and the moon share.

The part I don't like? Coming home at 1am, so wound up I can't sleep and seeing my husband spread across the entire bed; the pillows he has turned long-ways on my side to simulate a body-presence that isn't there. Will he grow accustomed to me being gone at night? Will there be room for me when I return to my normal hours, or will he continue taking up the entire bed? Working nights used to make me feel like I was sliding to the very edge of my existence, and if I was not careful, I might just slip off and be lost. In the very beginning of our relationship we only saw each other very, very late at night during the week. I remember having the thought that our relationship couldn't survive the light of day, since it rarely saw the light of day. It wasn't true then, and it surprises me how easily my mind sinks back into that old thought pattern of feeling like I'd be forgotten in my night-shift existence.

He asks me to come to bed, and for all my worrying of being lost to the blackness I just can't. I'm not done telling the moon my secrets.


Anonymous said...

That's one of the many things She's there for, baby ;)

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Ah yes! Lots of love from one night owl to another!

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