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Burning the midnight oilby Bridget Landry
April 22, 1997
Working graveyard shifts this week, going in to work around 9 p.m., and coming home with the dawn. Strange to be driving home under rosy skies, pulling the pillow over my head to shut out the morning light. Stranger still to hear meetings called for midnight or 2 a.m., and having to ask, honestly, whether something scheduled for 6 is a.m. or p.m. Oddly enough, what I learned of myself, and my own tolerances, at science fiction conventions (when I tried to stay up all night, for fear that I would miss something) has actually helped me in these tests. I know, for instance, that I can either go without sleep or food for an extended period of time, but things get real surreal if I try to do both. Snacking all night keeps my blood sugar up, helps me concentrate. Small things are important: I brought in slippers so that my feet are comfy and so I can sit Indian-style in my chair more easily. I find that the hardest time is between 2 and 4 a.m.--my mind starts to wander and follows odd routes to the strangest places. I have to keep reminding myself of the immediate task at hand. I take copious notes, both to keep from forgetting something (my memory goes as the hours advance) and as a focus to stay on track, or return to the track when I've taken a mental stroll.
This test hasn't gone well. Many mistakes on all sides have added up to some major concerns. I think it will all sort itself out; from my own experience, early rehearsals are often disastrous. I think the telling point will be how much and how fast we learn from this and whether we can keep making new mistakes, rather than repeating old ones.
Seventy-two days and counting.....