Saturday, August 14, 2004

fade into darkness

Today begins my transition into working the night shift. They start me off gently, from 12 noon to 12 midnight. But by tomorrow I'll be working 8pm to 8am, and everything will become very topsy-turvy. It's like taking a one week trip to Japan.

Working in the wee hours of the morning as often as I do, I have become finely calibrated to the nuances of my personal circadian rhythm. There's the 10pm power surge, followed by the 1am first wave of fatigue. The 3am wave of uber-fatigue, coupled with the sudden drop in body temperature that sends me scrambling for your sweatshirt, or, barring good foresight to bring a sweatshirt, an extra patient gown. There's that paradoxical surge of energy around 6am, followed by the nausea and disorientation at 7am when everyone comes into work all fresh and (somewhat) rested, while I'm just about ready to hit the wall. And of course, that temporary 10am revitalization as I'm walking out of the hospital, just before I fall asleep on the subway and narrowly avoid missing my stop.

I never pulled all-nighters when I was in high school or college, because I never really felt that I was as productive without at least three hours of sleep. (Well, there was this one unfortunate night my first-year of college, with the unfortunate intersection of a philosophy paper due early the next morning and two tabs of Vivarin...but that was a true dark night of the soul, and we will never speak of that again. "Revive with Vivarin" my ass.) Now, of course, my whole job is to pull all nighters about every fourth night. Man, if I had known, I would have been practicing all along.

Currently reading: "The Da Vinci Code." But that's for the subway. My nightstand reading was "Scrapbook: Uncollected Work 1990-2004" by Adrian Tomine. It's not so much a comic book as an art book, but I would highly recommend it to all Tomine fans. It even has a catalogue of all his illustrations for the New Yorker, Esquire, and various other glossy publications. What a talented artist. Some of his pieces remind me of Edward Hopper's stuff, in the way that they exude this sense of isolation and loneliness.

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