In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog:

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

It Takes Getting Used To

Retirement, or age, sure changed my sleep habits. I stay up all day, feel like I could sleep for days, go to bed early, and snap awake in the middle of the night. Rolling over doesn't work, so I get up, go pee, and make a cup of coffee. That's when I go on the porch to observe the night. 

I've worked nights for extended periods of time. Night is when you see what hides during the day. That, and the people that probably only go out at night. While some fear the dark, I know it's usually just neutral. Something that can startle me will probably startle the something just as much. 

Working on the interstate at night was probably most interesting. The drunks start wandering through around midnight, and this would continue to about an hour after closing time. Some would hit a barrel, which usually only was an inconvenience, unless you were in the path of the flying barrel. That hurt, and would leave a bruise.  I'd watch the traffic more closely, so I could warn the crew if the oncoming car was having a hard time staying in its lane.

One night, a group of college girls stopped, flashed their boobs, and sped away laughing like hyenas. the crew took about a half hour to settle down, but considering how mundane the work could be, the memory for them probably lasted as long as mine. Such "Did you see that?" moments aren't forgotten. 

Cats were interesting to watch. The feral ones were easy to spot. Where a domestic cat would saunter through a parking lot, smell everything to be smelled, and poke at a dying bug, a feral cat darted with purpose, and used the shadows, while it paused to survey the surroundings. Considering the shape of some I saw, such behavior was probably the only reason they weren't laying bloated to be the meal of scavengers.

Working at night led to an entirely different mindset. Flashlights were demanded, and a headlamp was a necessity. The little things you set aside while working are now carefully placed in a set location, or conveniently placed in a container. One wrong move, and something necessary could become lost by rolling only a few feet. Light towers would help, but even then, the light only shined on what wasn't in the shadows. Some tasks were nearly completely by feel, since trying to see with a headlamp led to positions that were uncomfortable. 

Given my proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, the nocturnal thunderstorms would put on a light show. They'd start out with an occasional flash, grow larger, and the lightning soon to come would turn the clouds into bulbous, angry masses of constant bright flashes. Bolts would streak from the clouds, spread, and the mesh of lightning would be dazzling. Morning light would reveal the remainders of these storms; anvil heads of cirrus on a column of virga.

What I most remember is the humidity. Regardless of the temperature, there was no relief. Sweat would pour from my hard hat, and run into my eyes. With the temperature not dropping below the upper seventies, and humidity near 100 percent, the work at night was as draining as working during the day. The only difference was there was no bright sun to burn your skin, but the mosquitos would fill in with their misery.

It's time for another cup of coffee. I think I'll go outside, sit on the porch, and try to determine why the neighbor's dogs are barking. That, and to relish the quiet of the night.


  1. Over twenty years have passed since I worked nights but sleep still often eludes me until the eastern sky begins to lighten. I am fine with that, for after the bar patrons next door go home, the noise in the center of town are also gone. We find our peace where we can and when we can.

    1. I read the age changes the circadian rhythms, which leads to different sleep habits.

      After decades of having schedules, sometime limited sleep, and too much stress, the luxury of cat-napping, and sleeping at odd hours is a new experience.