Someone left Frank Zappa’s Overnight Sensation in the patrol car, so I play it all night while driving from one side of town to the other, checking on the guards at the numerous construction sites. It’s certainly not marching into Poland music. The whole thing is uniquely absurd with toads in the short forest, newts in Idaho, dwarfs, panchos, and dental floss… a virtual cross section of western lore and culture bouncing around as random as dice in a soup bowl. Only about 30 minutes long, it must have gone around and around ten times during the night.
The sun comes up as I end my shift. I drive into Krawtown and leave the car in the lot, leave the keys in the drop box. I walk home as all the office workers are heading in. I like the night. I like it that it is quiet. No traffic. I like that I am opposite the mass of the population, going to bed as they are clocking in, clocking in as they are going to bed. I tell myself I like it. I like it at times like this.
I sleep till 2pm and then walk around in a haze, getting my bearings, brewing some tea. If you’ve ever worked shiftwork, you know it’s discombobulating. Waking up is like getting off an airplane after a ten or 15 hour flight, into a different time zone and climate. The nature of time changes and your relationship to time becomes nebulous. In an airport you can see a guy eating a hamburger at 7am and completely understand. You can see another guy fast asleep in a crowded lounge, middle of the day…
…and you can see a peasant in a blue uniform on the steps of the train station somewhere in Henan province and feel out of place and out of time in another way.