Going mad-mad-mad in third-shift land . . .
John, my venerable cop chum who I’ve befriended in my graveyard shift pulled me aside and gave me a hushed warning, told me to call him if there was ANY sign of trouble and I thought to myself, “Cripes! I’ve been awake for 29 hours…I can’t handle a gang war.”
We’ll get back to that.
First though, and more cheerfully, it’s a scientific fact that hot cider tastes better while listening to ghost stories. I got to further support this theory on the 20th, at Volo Bog.
Second, I apologize to all my close friends, all the friends I normally see on a normal basis, all my far flung friends that I might visit on occasion, and all you electronic lovelings on the internet—I’m way, way, WAY behind on emails and even further behind on phone calls. I’m not shunning anyone. I’m just in a frenzied, bad place and have very few hours. By way of example…let’s get back to the start of this post…
I’ve been working 40 hours each week, 3rd shift, at 7-11 (the artist formally known as White Hen)—but with the wind chill and demanded extra shifts; it’s more like 50+ hours. I don’t want to get off on a rant about my job, but I think that if I died and went to Hell, it would be working at a convenience store, and all the clocks would be broken, and my watch would be blank, and I’d keep doing tasks of Sisyphus-level productivity, and occasionally ragged, insane, and damaged lost souls would wander in and jabber incomprehensibilities before leaving and my mind would be too fogged to recall what day it was or when my shift began or when it would end, too fogged to recall just what lay outside the fogged store windows…
Meanwhile, a couple Wednesdays ago, my brother Nick and I went to Chicago for an audition he discovered on Craigslist for the pilot episode of a TV show about vampires. Brutal traffic, but we make it on time and the we do some readings and it goes well. The director seems impressed with the both of us. He’s in a rush to cast the thing and film it over the weekend (it’s more of a pilot teaser to shop around).
Nick, our friend Dori, and I all go and film as badass vampires, a couple of Saturdays ago. But that Saturday I was told (I was not asked) that I would fill in for someone and work at 7-11. That meant a 33+ hour workday: 3rd shift Friday night into Saturday morning, straight to the shoot Saturday morning into Saturday evening, straight to another 3rd shift. I’ve been awake that long before . . . but never actively working straight through it (except for a 40 hour writing stint when I was finishing the White Wolf novel draft, which caused me to go quite mad). My body didn’t like that. My mind started giving out. And to top it all off, John the cop came and informed me (in whispers) that there was a potential gang battle between two gangs from towns on the opposite sides of my town (and I being only thing open in the misty-mid-region between). This was not the thing I wanted to hear at a point in time, when I thought the cash register was changing the locations of it’s keys on me as part of some prank (and I swear I could hear it laughing Puckishly!).
No gang battle. John and his comrades shut down a party one of the gangs was throwing (apparently to plan nefarious deeds), and said bangers were sent packing back to their town. John came back to inform me. I gave him more free donuts, coffee, and sandwiches. I got home Sunday morning, saw Nick sleeping, and realized, to my horror, that he had slept twice in the time that I was awake.
Fast forward to Monday the 22nd. Nick gets call from the vampire director. Bad news, he lost the footage (computer crash)—could we film again on Wednesday. Yes. This meant another long day for me (3rd shift—shoot—3rd shift). Egads! I had enough Monster energy drinks to flat-line the Leviathan.
But I survived.
This is just to illustrate why I don’t have much time for socializing. It’s not you, it’s me and . . . ugh . . . sorry . . . cliché head freeze.
There is one tiny advantage to this burn-out pace—I’ve lost 7 pounds in the last week and a half. Of course, it’s probably not healthy weight loss. It’s probably seven pounds of muscle, internal organs, and happiness.
I got to loose this job.
Saturday night, I started yawning.
“No yawning yet,” said the woman I was training.
“I’m not yawning,” I said, “I’m screaming very quietly.”