# # Sugared Grease Tilt A Whirl

Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog

Sugared Grease Tilt A Whirl

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I worked first as a janitor for Hewlett Packard and then, some time later, as a security guard.

The first job, a delight of mop buckets, floor buffers, and trash bags, had a shift that ran from 7pm to 3:30 in the morning. It was an odd schedule but not too hard to get used to. Besides, I only lasted three months at the job.

The next time I worked at Hewlett Packard, the shift was a little more radical: 11pm to 7am. It took some getting used to but, to be honest, I enjoyed it. The bizarre part was the weekends which I would switch, time wise, by staying up for 24 hours on my Friday, then do the same on my Monday.

It sounds insane to say that so casually but it was no problem for me at the time. Certainly it led to some surreal moments and I didn’t always have the gumption to so perfectly resynchronize myself but, in general, that’s how I lived for three years.

Since then, my night owl activities have been purely extra-curricular. If I was up past midnight it was because I wanted to be and was screwing around on some project or goofing off with some friends.

Suddenly, out of the blue, I find myself re-engaged in an industry that has to work while most everyone else is sleeping: baking. Someone has to crank out those doughnuts, pastries, bagels, and muffins the scurrying hordes demand fresh each morning and, presently, one of those selfless souls is none other than yours truly.

Yes, between the hours of 1 and 8am, I toil over wads of sugary dough and a great vat of heated grease, frying the delectable goodies you pad your way to an early, clotted grave with. Sugar glazes, powdered cinnamon, syruped fruits.

Given my past experience, the odd thing is how the hours are effecting me.

Since starting this week and a half long training shift, I can barely tell day from night, up from down. It doesn’t help that, in this, the winter season of the Pacific Northwest, the skies are only one of two colors: black or grey. I awake or, honestly, even in mid “day,” simply glance at the clock and think: “6. Okay: which 6 is that? Morning or evening?”

Out of utter confusion, I have reset the clock by my front door three times, and changed its perfectly functional battery once, ever under the impression that it was off when, in fact, the one who was off was me.

Further, as I have work to do, calls to take, a daughter to see, my sleep schedule has become erratic. One day I get off and make a concerted effort to remain conscious ’til 2:30pm so that I can get my chores done and still arise at 10:30pm to have a decent “morning” before going back to work. The next, I am so wiped that I come home, make “dinner,” then give up the ghost, hitting the hay at 9:30 am to awake at 5pm.

My weekend, consisting of one day off, is even more erratic as I attempt to be awake for everything and everyone: sleeping in three or four hour shifts when they’re least likely to effect those around me. Soon I am in a constant and surreal fog of fatigue of designing webpages, writing short stories, having conversations, cooking meals, and falling into unexpected space-outs, activities which I sometimes have a hard time distinguishing from one another.

Am I really so old, now, that I cannot make the simple flip from days to nights? Is it the hours or is it my schedule, my various stresses, my mental state?

I fought for years to retain a goofy, youthful, fun-loving, and creative frame of mind and, while said state didn’t always serve me so well, I could console myself with the fact that I seemed happier than many my age, more able to relax, absorb, and enjoy the world around me, less creased with worry and fatigue.

Now I look in the mirror at the tired and slightly confused looking middle-aged man staring vaguely back at me and I think “but who are you? It’s only been a year!”

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