Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Night Shift

The other day I was forced to call myself a former night owl. I did not, however, state that I’d turned into an early bird.

Like all former night owls, I still value my morning sleep-in and I know perfectly well I’m not going to get up when the first alarm goes off. I set at least two wake-up alarms on my iPhone each night, and when the first one sounds I can easily talk myself out of getting up – no matter how important the reason seemed to be the night before.

About the only time I’ll truly pay attention to that first alarm is if I have to catch a flight somewhere. If it’s an early enough flight, I’ll probably just stay up all night rather than take a chance on oversleeping and missing my plane. With the full body scans and TSA groping sessions we have to endure nowadays, there is no such thing anymore as dashing into the airport at the last possible moment.

But, anyway, I’d have to say that I’m more of a mid-day kinda person. Sure, I’d far prefer avoiding the whole rush hour traffic thing – but even if I worked from home, I couldn’t see getting started before, oh, say, 10AM. That sounds like a perfectly reasonable start time to me.

Sadly, mid-day kinda people don’t get a whole lot of respect. People figure they’re late for something…even if they’ve missed nothing but rush hour.

True night owls, on the other hand, tend to gravitate toward careers where they can work the night shift, which means they’re most likely happily snoozing away in the morning while I’m struggling to get myself out of bed.

I’m not exactly qualified for careers that are best suited to night owls, however. Entertainers, for example. I can’t sing and I can’t dance – or at least, no one would be interested in paying to see me do either one of those things – unless it was for purely comedic purposes.

I could have worked in the food service industry, I suppose, but my first ever job (besides babysitting) was as a busgirl in an Italian restaurant when I was 16. That experience taught me that, while I could bus a table with the best of ‘em, I wasn’t ever interested in moving onward and upward to the wonderful world of waitressing.

That looked like some serious hard work and I really didn’t want to try to hone the ability to balance a heavily-laden tray in one hand while dodging hungry customers and other servers without dropping stuff. I embarrass easily and I couldn’t see myself ever standing red-faced in the middle of a busy restaurant with broken china and plates full of spaghetti and meatballs all over me and the floor! Plus, the whole tip thing was just a little too nebulous for my comfort. I didn’t like not knowing how much I was actually going to earn after a day’s work.

Maybe I could’ve gone into the medical field so I could work the overnight shift at an ER…but I was never really good at science. Medical emergencies make me nervous and, other than being the first to offer up a Band-Aid and a squirt of Neosporin or some paper towels to sop up the blood, I’m perfectly okay stepping aside and letting the professionals offer assistance.

So…I wanted to be a night owl. I had the mindset to be a night owl. But I didn’t have the independent wealth to allow me to be a night owl. I need, as they say, a “day job.” Thus, I arm myself with a minimum of two alarms every morning to prod myself into getting up early to get ready for the day.

I suppose someday I will retire and will then get to sleep in as late as I want. Only from what I understand, senior citizens sleep fewer hours and therefore don’t tend to sleep in. Darn my luck.

All I can say is thank God for creating weekends.

Now...if you’ll excuse me – I got up a little too early today. It's time for a nap!

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