Wednesday, October 21, 2009

chicken little & the morning which wasn't

Right now I am hanging out my window, gasping for air.

Well, alright. Not right now, eggsactly, but somewhere between pulling on a cigarette and banging on this keyboard.

The still life looking west along the river is cast in grey. If it were not for the ever incipient rain I might describe it as ashen.

I got up this morning to make a toilet trip in the dark and guessed it to be 4 or 5 AM. It was 7:28. My alarm went off before I got one foot back into bed. I am glad I no longer work the night shift. I am glad I have not been forced to so for close to a decade. Cursing under my breath and lurching this way and that like a drugged hippo, I admit I felt bad for those habitually compelled to rise well before dawn: postmen; bus drivers; bakers and janitors. Schoolchildren with their hair on end chasing the milk round.

All manner of early risers and the plain nocturnal.

We are not designed to withstand such abuse. There is no benefit beyond the monetary in turning night into day or defying the biological clock. Unless it be to get the jump on the assassin creeping down one's hall; blade drawn and knotted with resolve. Fight or flight, in short.

Empirical evidence points incontrovertibly to the negative impact on long term health engendered through the night shift. I am aware of a handful of scientific papers which attest to as much; none commissioned in China - I am given to understand - the tiger which has forgotten how to sleep. At the mercy of party stimulants, restlessly pacing, its veins have all collapsed.

Still. Nobody lasts too long in China anyway. Serf or emperor, prole or government official.

Leaving aside the fact that the Chinese have demonstrated a knack for sewing a silk purse out of a pig's ear and making chicken noodle soup out of what's left, there is little on their agenda that one might seriously want to emulate. We are already drowning in our own pollution. We don't need any tips.

This brings me back to the dread I experienced when I stirred to find my morning snoring. Everything is back to front.

I am busy playing hooky and I know it can't last.

illustration by ib.

POPOL VUH: MORNING SUN from "Nosferatu (Soundtrack)" LP (Brain) 1978 (Germany)
DAEVID ALLEN & EUTERPE: GOOD MORNING from "Good Morning!" LP (Virgin) 1976 (UK)


Your driver said...

Oddly enough, I was tortured all last night by an asthma attack that would not let me sleep and by an alarm clock that insisted on ringing at 4:20 AM. Whose idea was this shit?

ib said...

I was thinking of you when I wrote this.

Interrupted sleep pattern or not, just the thought of stepping out of bed at 4:20 AM is enough to break me out in hives.

It is some kind of shit alright.

Dawn is only just breaking here at 7:45 AM this time of year. That is enough of a disgrace for me. Late supper call for the undead.

Löst Jimmy said...

I've only worked a handful of night shifts in my entire working life but I've always been, strangely, facinated by the idea of working while others sleep. Apart from a previous employ I've always been forced to work the days, the evenings but never the nights.
Mind you this far north, from about now until late February I go to work in the dark and return home in the dark.

ib said...

We gained an hour of daylight this morning, Löst Jimmy. I will rejoice in that until the blanket of darkness descends even earlier this afternoon.

Löst Jimmy said...

I forgot to thank you for the Popol Vuh track by the way, I have always time for that soundtrack too