It’s that time of year again, when the papers roll out the old chestnut, “Should Qld be on daylight savings time?” Usually this is followed by numerous interviews with ‘people in the street’ who agree that it’s time Qld stepped into line with the rest of the states and re-adopted daylight savings.
Fabulous. Just as we crawl out of Winter, they want to wind the clocks forward an hour so I spend another month getting up and riding to work in the dark. This isn’t about saving daylight, it’s the age old battle between day people, (aka Fowls: the early risers), and night people, (aka Owls: the stay up laters).
It’s no secret, I’m a night person, an Owl. Unfortunately, I work in an industry run by morning folk… the rotten Fowls.
When I started working in my very first part time job at the tender age of 15, the start time was 7a.m. This meant I had to be up by 6am, at work by 6.30, and have the doors open, and the petrol pumps going by ten to 7. It’s time to point out that my usual wake up time on Saturday and Sunday mornings was somewhere between 10 and 11am… ish. If I’d been allowed, I probably would have slept til 3pm. I’m just not cut out to be an Early Bird. So when a vacancy came up for a person on the late shift, I got the spot because everyone else I worked with wanted to start and finish early. Not me 🙂 I got to sleep in, and didn’t have to put up with the early morning crush of cars on the driveway. Time oozed by on those long and mostly sunny afternoons. Perfect.
My father on the other hand is a Fowl. The earlier the better for him, so to see someone slothing between the sheets when the sun is rising in the East is akin to a mortal sin. Many was the time I had the top sheet torn off my slumbering form at some ungodly hour, and the words, “Come on Get Up! You’re wasting the best part of the day!”
I would stagger from my bed and sit over my cereal in a drowsy stupor, and the rest of the day would be spent in a kind of fog of tiredness. Mornings were definitely not my ‘thing’.
At school I would sit slumped over my desk until lunchtime waiting for the little neurons to start firing up and kickstart my sluggish brain.
By 4pm I’d be right, playing cricket, riding my bike, running wild through the scrub etc. Tea time, terrific. After tea, no worries. Bedtime. Oh oh. I would lie in bed, reading until late, waiting for the Sandman to sprinkle my eyes liberally with his magical sleepiness sand. Many was the time though that the miserable little fairy ran out of sand and flew off in disgust.
Once I decided to invite my father to my little world of peace in the middle of the night. I clearly remember strolling into his room at around 1am, and shook him heavily as he lay asleep, “Come on!” I yelled, “You’re wasting the best part of the night!”
I also clearly remember several things about the events that followed. Particularly the bit where he managed to grab me around the neck without even opening his eyes, and the the bit when, as spots filled my vision, I promised myself that I’d never, ever, stuff up like this again.
Not long afterwards I started my apprenticeship. Guess what the start time was. Yep, 7am. I bet a morning person decided that 7am was a good time for people to be working on heavy, fast spinning equipment. They probably would have preferred to start at 5am, but some kind and intellegent person probably prevented them from getting their way.
Over the next 4 years I would stagger into work looking like I’d be dragged in behind a fast moving car, clock on, note that the ink on my time card was red instead of black (a beacon to the paymaster that I was tardy), and get stuck into whatever task was at hand.
Often I could be found at the start of the shift standing lifeless over my lathe, gazing into nothingness as my machine spun merrily away, job floating untouched in mid-air. I was the bane of my apprentice masters’ life.
“Look at you!” he used to shout, “Jesus boy, I’ve been here since 4am and just about done a full days work before you graced us with your presence at 10 past 7! Look at you, about as much life in you as a wombat overdosed on valium! Just look at you! I’m going to start calling you mogadon, ’cause you’re nothing but a slow working dope!” You may be surprised to know that I don’t really miss him at all.
They were happy with my work though. Once I woke up, somewhere around 10.30 ish, I was a model employee, who could mix it with the best. Unfortunately, just not before lunch time.
Then something happened that changed my life. The plant I was employed at, went on strike. Certain employees, among them we smiling apprentices, were left to run the plant. I immediately volunteered to work the dreaded night shifts until the dispute was resolved. Well, what can I say? It was wonderful! My ‘day’ started at 7pm, and ended at 7am the next morning. Suddenly I went from a slow, dull eyed wombat on dope to a supercharged Energiser Bunny chock full of speed. At 3am while my fellow workmates were falling over themselves, drool falling freely from their slack mouths, I was bouncing off the walls. My enthusiasm was boundless, my energy and drive limitless. I was ripping through the work, then asking for more. The nightshift boss was delighted with me. I was, for all too brief a time, “In The Zone”.
And, funlovers, I’d like to point out that not once, ever, did I point to a slumbering form in the smoko room at midnight and poke fun at them, call them dozey, slack arses, or dope fueled dummies. Nope. For we night folk are a magnaminous group, who know all too well the horrors of working outside your comfort zone.
But all good things come to an end, and the workers returned from their strike and we ‘boys’ were put back on day shift. Back to the 7am start. I’d like to report here that the morning people left me alone at the break of day, but no, they just picked up where they left off with the snide insults and merry jibes. Not to worry, I knew their dirty little secret.
So, here we go once again with the Daylight Saving debate. I don’t know why Fowls are so keen on it? Going to work in the dark, getting home in the blazing daylight, then falling asleep in front of the 7pm news while outside the evening sun still burns away. What’s the point?
Why make Owls lives more miserable? Let us sleep in you inconsiderate swine! I know the inevitable will happen, that one day they will win and we’ll be forced to wind the clocks forward an hour, and I’ll be forced up in the dead of night to start my day. Of course, my cries of “Why can’t the rest of the country abandon daylight saving? Why not have a referendum to have it abolished?” were shouted down once again this year. Morning people are very touchy about the subject. I think we Night folk frighten them. They probably wonder what terrible deeds we get up to while they lay in their comas in the dead of night (after falling asleep at 8pm…) Mwahahahahah! Little do they know! Ha ha ha ha etc.
Maybe it’s all part of the Fowl plan, to keep us so tired that we can’t get up to any trouble at night.
The trouble is, I think it’s working!