June 20, 2008

Night shift

Most of the fun people are supposed to have in college I didn't have until most of the way through graduate school, when I was too old to have an excuse and too broke to afford it. And frankly, if I'm honest, I didn't have that much fun then either ... but the selective memory of nostalgia tells me grad school was pretty great.

Most of my positive memories of college are of passionate conversations about music, movies, books, and stuff like that, either in my dorm room or in the music listening lab. Most of my positive memories of that period of time, though, are of working in the mill in the summer. Again, there's some serious cherry picking going on down in memory lane. I was talking to my dad on Father's Day and we were reminiscing about that time. It was pretty great working with him every day, and driving back and forth with him. I of course got to leave when school started, but he had to stay. On the other hand, he ran the crane, which was a relatively clean job. As summer help, I got dirty.

What I never got used to was working night turn. I couldn't sleep during the day; we didn't have AC, so the house got very hot. Usually I'd sleep about three hours a day. This led to interesting hallucinations by the end of a week or so--giant rats just out of the corner of my eye--not to mention a volatile outlook on life. I don't mind getting up before dawn, in fact I do it just about every day, but I never got used to seeing the sun come up if I'd seen it go down the night before. It makes one reflective. Even if it's not work--even if you're sitting in the Olentangy Inn having a greasy breakfast after a long night out having fun, it's a bleak feeling watching the sun come back around to bite you in the ass.

1 comment:

NYMary said...

When I was in college, I was a townie, so the clear division between home and school didn't really take effect until grad school--by which point I was married with a kid. But I'm finding myself nostalgic for that period recently--catching up with old friends on Facebook, looking at my research, that sort of thing. It's looking back, but it's also rediscovering who I was at a certain point, and I'm not unhappy with that. It feels now like reconnecting with that can help me move forward.

I don't think of the imbalances of nostalgia as cherry-picking, however. It's more like looking at the past through very old glass, so that some of it is magnified out of proportion, and other parts seem tiny and insignificant in comparison. You know intellectually that they're more even than they appear, but it seems like some events are more telescoped than others.