I have got a new job. For the moment, my shifts are at night.
But my shifts aren't during the early night, which now begins at approximately 2.10pm. Bloody winter.
It isn't the early evening shift. If it was, I would spend my mornings watching the Barefoot Contessa on the Food Channel (with her saying the words 'moist juices' and 'so delicious' on loop) before heading into work feeling like the bee's knees.
And I'm not working the late evening shift either, the shift which essentially means that your dinner is a kebab WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT.
I work night night. Late late night. Crazy everyone in the entire world is passed out in their bed, even the people who are as hard as nails and go to Ministry of Sound thinking that they are A BOSS, time of night. The time of night when those police documentaries full of people falling out of nightclubs and hitting each other with bottles of WKD are filmed. You know, the ones that are on late night ITV1 and nobody watches.
When I started the night shift a few weeks ago I was slightly concerned of how working that shift would affect me and my daily and personal life. But then I thought about it... I am single and have been since my girlfriend at the age of 14, my overdraft hasn't gone down a penny since my first two weeks at University... and until relatively recently I was living with my parents in Dorset spending most of my time openly criticising the lack of investigative journalism in my local paper with its headlines such as 'Has George the pigeon been found in Surrey?'... Yeah, you know what? My personal life can manage this quite well.
In fact, four weeks in... and apart from a period when your brain goes into automatic shut down at 4am and your soul starts to die for two hours, I actually don't mind the night shifts at all. In fact, there's quite a lot about working the during the night which I can daresay can be considered enjoyable.
In fact, if I become king, nightshifts would become law. During the day we can sloth around the house like cats, and in some cases with cats. It would be amazing.
Reasons why working the nightshift is amazing
It is like some sort of game - The sun is up for approximately sixteen minutes a day, you try to avoid looking like a teenager who hasn't left his bedroom in about fourteen years, so you have to tactically fall asleep to cling on to as much sunshine as possible.
It works like this. My shift starts from 11pm and finish at 7am. So I get home at 7.45am, throw my keys at the door, jump head first into bed like a torpedo, pass out, wake up at 2, throw myself into the shower, get changed, see that it is starting to get a little bit 'dusky' outside, panic like I have never panicked before, throw any piece of clothing on imaginable and run outside run out the house to bask in the innocence and the beauty of light.
Then it gets cold, so I head back in. Then it gets dark.
TV Shows - I have a TV connected to my computer which I can look at whilst I work late at night. TV programmes past 2am are amazing. On every channel. WWE Wrestling. Documentaries about carp fishing. Even the infomercial ones that show people being amazed and overwhelmed by vacuum cleaners that can bend backwards and clean underneath your sofas. In fact, speaking about infomercials... some of them look so terribly dated it is if the technician had just pressed play in 1994 and forgot about it. I swore that one of them the other day went like this: "Get our greatest rock albums OF ALL TIME, 6 CDs for only £19.99 including postage and packaging. We'll bring you some hard rock classics, such as from the unforgettable, inspirational and untouchable Phil Spector."
You feel as if you are a rebel - There is no greater thrill, NO GREATER THRILL, than the feeling of heading back to bed at 7 in the morning knowing that it is what you are supposed to do. Plus you can't help feeling smug as the trains heading into the City are packed like the greatest packed tin of sardines ever whilst you're gliding in 'Premium Economy' with extra legroom underground trains, so spacious in fact you can swing a Metro more than two feet away from your body without it being seen as 'a threat'.
You also share a sense of companionship with a lot of people on the train. Most likely they are nightshift workers too, working in cleaning, or construction or finance or whatever. Leaning all of the place, passed out in the corner, bloodshot eyes... in fact they might just be hungover. I can't tell.
Of course, nightshifts aren't always unicorns and amazingness. There are downsides...
Reasons why working the nightshift is not so amazing
Radio 4 - As well as dabbling with TV overnight I listen to the radio, but of course not Radio 4 as nobody has switched it on yet. Radio 4 starts warming up again at 5.20 in the morning, but not with a loud and proud tune or feature to get you up and raring to go, with the sun ready to burst through the near horizon. Nope. It debuts each day with the Shipping Forecast.
Don't worry. I'm not digging our national institution here. The Shipping Forecast, is of course, OUR GOD. Its sole purpose these days is not to direct ships around our rugged coastlines (dw, they've got GPS) but to actually make you reminisce about your youth and having dinner with your parents whilst you peel potatoes in front of the kitchen sink. It hasn't changed in a millennia. It doesn't make any sense, but you want to keep it that way.
But at 5.20am? God sake, give over. It's too early for that. And you know what, it isn't like the normal three minute report either slotted before the BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG's in the evening. It doesn't last several minutes... IT LASTS TEN MINUTES. It is effectively, a man or a woman *who you can hear yawning between Forties and Viking* reading out to you the longest excel document in the known Universe to you.
BBC Breakfast - After the amazingness of people punching each other in face in WWE Wrestling and people having their lives transformed with the knowledge that they can now clean a sandwich toaster in their dishwasher on QVC, BBC Breakfast rolls on.
The weirdest thing thing about BBC Breakfast, as well as all the orange, is the fact that everyone on the show seems to have the worst memory in the world. Everything is repeated every three and a half minutes. That's fine of course, viewers dip in and out, but if you watch it all in one go it feels as if they've all got amnesia but somehow never seem to repeat their questions in exactly the same way to each other, I guess to keep it fresh or to stop them wanting to kill themselves. So it the show goes like this:
Bill: "So Carol it seems as if that bad weather on the way."
Carol (with an umbrella 16345 miles away for no reason): "That's right Bill. The weather is on the turn. We've got a north warm front rotating backwards over Barking..."
*ten minutes later*
Bill: "So Carol, bad weather is on the way isn't it?"
Carol (with an umbrella 16345 miles away for no reason): "That's right Bill."
*two minutes later*
Bill: "So Carol, the weather is turning bad seems as if that on the way."
Carol (with an umbrella 16345 miles away for no reason): "That's right Bill*
*one and a half seconds later*
Bill: "So Carol, is turning bad seems as that on the way the weather on is."
Bill: "And now the weather."
You're a bit tired the whole time - You know that feeling when you go abroad and you get jet-lag, so for a short while you're not sure who you are, why you are there, what meal you should be having, where you should be going, what you should be eating, what you should be wearing, where you live, who you are, whether you are a boy or a girl etc. That sometimes happens during the day, and you occasionally do silly things.
For example reader, last week... I found a three day old copy of the London Evening Standard in my fridge.
I'm going to die - Google it. Put the words 'working the nightshift' or 'how to cope during the nightshift' into the search engine, and it will tell you that if you stay up beyond 11pm beyond any given evening you are going to die. Heart disease. Loneliness. Rabies. The lot.
So consider this to be my last article ever. BYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
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