The Graveyard Shift

I leave the office for a moment and step out into the cold, dark night.

I spark up a cigarette and inhale deeply and after a couple of seconds exhale the fumes in a long, relaxing sigh. I watch the cloud of smoke rise up into the air under the floodlit yard. The air is still, save for the distant hum of noise coming from the warehouse and the occasional rumble of truck engines.

I look at my watch.

04:30 and I’ve just finished my “lunch break”

It’s been another busy night on the night shift, keeping me occupied and on my toes at a time when I would normally be in my bed or at the very least out partying like most normal people.

Folks, I’ve come crashing back to earth from the dizzy heights of last week’s holiday with a bang, having started a new project which for the first time in my life requires me to work the night shift, between the hours of 22:00 and 06:00 each week night.

I’ve been called in to try and assist a distribution company in Belgium with their warehousing problems, and it seems that a lot of the problems occur during the night shift.

Lucky me.

Just how do people operate like this?

My mother and step-father have been working night shifts for years now. I really, really never knew how they could manage it and now, as I try and adjust my body clock into the night shift rhythm; I’m still none the wiser as to how they cope.

When I get home at 06:15 (no traffic jams at that time I’m pleased to report) am I supposed to stay awake for a few hours before going to bed and then waken or am I supposed to go immediately to bed? To tell you the truth, I haven't got a bloody clue.

What I do know is that my body clock and social life have been turned upside down. This is not how I want to live my life. Of course it has its advantages. I can go to the bank or the post office or the garage to get my car fixed, as I have done already this week.

But come on – this cannot be healthy. My colleagues in the warehouse seem pretty energetic during their shifts. The banter is good in the way that warehouses are. The radio plays Studio Brussel all night long, so work wise the job is fine. Perhaps it’s just a matter of getting into a rhythm. Time will tell, although I don't hope to be doing this so long that it actually becomes normal for me.

This blogette has been typed up on my return from the night shift. With the time approaching 07:00, I can hear people in the building getting up to go to work.


I’m off to my bed to recharge the batteries.

Good Night / Morning / Whatever.