Monday, June 15, 2009

PERSONAL- The Vampyre Lifestyle

Working nights is the perfect schedule for someone who doesn’t mind sleeping all day, being up all night, and spending a lot of time entertaining themselves. Commonly referred to as people “with no life”, these independent souls tend toward careers in writing, art, the convenience store industry, and corporate security. My father was a night shift worker in the Colonial Bread bakery in Indianapolis when I was a kid. But he worked every night and was up every evening by the time I got home from school so it wasn’t so different than having a dad who worked in the daylight and slept at night. Except when I would wake up in the middle of the night and hear the voices of him and a couple of his friends in the kitchen- drinking and talking. On nights when he didn’t have friends over I have no idea how he entertained himself. Back then there was no Internet, no cable, and the three local TV networks signed off around midnight after playing the national anthem. (In fact, for years when I was a kid I thought that there was some kind of law that required playing the national anthem after every late night horror movie, since I only got to stay up that late on Saturday night to watch the weekly creature feature.) When I look back on it I suspect that most of dad’s time was spent drinking. But I don’t think he spent that many sleepless nights. Mostly because the drinking he did in the evenings on the days he didn’t work usually found him passed out by bedtime.

Anyway, if you don’t drink and you work nights then the Internet is a Godsend. Even nowadays television in the wee hours is a wasteland even by the typical wasteland standards of television. 300+ channels on DirecTV and by 2:00 AM most of them are showing infomercials for naked girl vids, miracle cures, exercise plans, or pee-pee lengthening pills. It makes me long for the days of slow fades from flags to jet planes to war memorials with the Star Spangled Banner playing in the background followed by a screen of calm, blessed static. But the Internet changes the game. It’s a true 24-hour business. Anything you can do online in the middle of the afternoon you can do 12 hours later with little or no difference. The Internet has no circadian rhythm, just like night shift workers! Finally an end to the disenfranchisement of the chronic insomniac!

So what have I been doing online for the last few weeks while working nights?

Watching television ONLINE!

See, the other thing that working nights does is leave most people chronically fatigued. Regular night shift workers either acclimate or get a day job. (Or die, I read somewhere that working nights takes 7 years off your life.) I could be writing, or playing videogames, or painting, or exercising, or even going down to the Wal-Mart (the only place open 24 hours in my small town) to watch the virtual circus side show of customers who wander in there in the middle of the night. But all those take a surprising amount of energy when you can’t sleep but have been up for 36 hours straight. Instead I find that mostly I read, listen to music, and watch television- basically anything that requires a minimal amount of concentration and a near non-existent amount of movement. Usually I’ve been too tired to even write reviews of the movies I’ve seen lately. When I do have a couple of days off I jump into the car and get the hell out of the house, snapping up as much sunshine, activity, and regular human contact as possible.

Anyway, spending a lot of time web-surfing isn’t all bad. As I hope to demonstrate by sharing some of the videos I’ve found online.

So lets start with one of JoCo's latest masterpieces, which is so appropriate that I've been playing it a lot. Go to his website to listen to (and buy) the fully arranged version which is better and has some wonderfully recorded bird sounds too.

No comments: