We were leaving the game last Saturday night. ...and listening to the sounds of the sirens as they echoed through the downtown. The kids commented in that excited, "I wonder where they're going" style they have. ...and as we hit the freeway and were looking out over the lights of the city's core, Shelley said, "This is the time of day I don't miss it..."
She was speaking of her street time. ...and her preference for the early mornings when we worked the day shift. Looking over the city at night just makes her want to be tucked safely into her bed at home, with the kids in their room and me typing in the room down the hall.
...but looking over the city at night brings different feelings to me. It's my time. I'm a creature of the late night, happy to roam the streets for years taking care of people until it was time to give it up and go home with the dawn. I've always loved the night shift. ...or the back half of a twenty-four hour shift in the metro. There's no hope of sleep, so you just go for it with whatever caffeine-laden beverage your stomach could handle, buffered with doughnuts still warm from the ovens. ...so warm the glazes and toppings wouldn't set properly.
There's a different feel to a town at night. ...and to a city. The rural was always quiet: we'd break the silence as we came and left, but the quiet would return as the equipment departed, the fire rigs to the stations, the law enforcement folk back to patrol, and us off to the hospitals in the city. ...but in the metro, there's always the background noise of a city at work. You could come back out of the hospital and hear activity both close at hand and at the edges of your perception. People. Night people. People going to and from their jobs. People on their jobs. People with no jobs...
...and I'd drive my partners to the edge with my philosophy of "Why try to sleep; we'd just have to wake up for the next call!", as I'd cruise off into the night and try to talk dispatch into letting me freelance instead of posting. I loved cruising the city at night; everyone you met had a story. ...and every place you went had some atmosphere. Sure, sometimes it wasn't the best; but hey, certainly the next call would be interesting!
...and the other night workers were often the same; pulling the night shift for whatever reason, economics, school, choice, kids, whatever. ...and a surprising amount of them as happy as I was to be out and about or inside and working. Less people to deal with, more time for one on one, short-handed but pulling together.
...and my habits haven't changed: Last night was one of those nights when I had to force myself into bed. My brain had awakened after the burden of the last few weeks and my muse was in attendance. I wanted to read and blog and do artsy things and live and love and finish this "Night Shift" post and work and play and just Do Things!
...and with the job staring at me in the morning, all I could manage was "Swing Shift". ...and I still couldn't let go. So I checked the camera to see if any of the day's pics was worth a post. ...and then the thunderstorms started and I wanted to go outside and watch.
...and again tonight: it's late/early and my brain is spinning quite happily along. I'm blogging away here and emailing with another night person here on the west coast. The east coast's late contingent finally gave up around 0130 their time; but their morning crowd will be coming on line in just a few, if I can stay up for just a little while longer. I have a graphics project pulled up to tweak and a website redesign that is getting ready for it's final push.
...and once again duty calls.5/21/2002
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