I remember my old early mornings. Waking up at 5, brewing coffee, reading and writing as light slivered the sky. Then going to the gym and working out before the day dragged me down, when I was still fresh and alert. Before noisy bus trips and long shifts on my feet. Answering a million mundane questions, where is the bathroom, what’s your wifi and where are the lids.
Exercising early instead of locking my body into a mechanical rhythm for the needs of the industrial service industry. And then disconnecting from that machine to work out my contorted frame. The new natural posture is a torturous realignment of bone and muscle. We are not made to sit or stand but that’s what we do now most of the time.
Our bodies are made to walk, run, climb, clasp, and lay. Wake up with the sun and fall asleep with heavy arms and legs in the deepening dusk. Organic life is a set of interlocking rhythms playing off each other. A movement in the environment calls for a movement in the organism that inhabits it. It’s life in time as a cycle, as alternation, complimentary rhythm. Day and night, life and death, a beating heart.
But we now live on a timeline, an electric grid, where moments are just divisible, discrete units to be filled and rearranged. And our movements don’t match our surrounding rhythms. Order is top down, imposed from above. Cognitive command centers flatten and compress time and space for efficient engineering. Mutant frontal lobs carve up the body of the earth and the span of a life.
There is no night down here on the ground. In the cities the skies are darker than the streets at midnight. A universe of stars shine in the windows of the cityscape and radiating screens cook bloodshot eyes. Anything can happen whenever we want. Anything can also happen when we don’t want it to. And we’re often doing things we don’t want to do at times it makes no sense to do them.
You can work third shift, because 24 hours can be divided up into three solid shifts. You have to work at least one of those and just because third shift happens to fall on a time you’d normally be asleep, well, it’s a shift and someone has to work it.
Someone has to stand behind the counter and ring in funyuns and TGIF loaded baked potato skins at gas stations set along winding highways. Truckers are hauling theater sized flat screen plasma high definition televisions down the road at all hours; what happens when they get hungry and no one is awake to sell them slim jims and mountain dew?
The lightning paced shipping of goods and services needs its own support system of goods and services. Populations must be rapidly raised and settled in newly forming markets. When the space is cleared, people are brought in and buildings are brought up. The goal is to always have an excess population because it keeps wages low. More human mass equals less individual human value, and that’s a deal no reptilian corporate overlord can resist.
People become depressed not when their lives are too easy, but rather when their lives are too cheap. And they sense this from the inside, sometimes dully, sometimes acutely like shattering glass. I am worthless, says the redundant individual in an overcrowded physical and conceptual space, cut off from a meaningful role in an organic community of genetically similar people.
But we can’t pull ourselves out of the high tension comfort of the always on call service economy. We’ll remain cocooned in convenience until the day when the delicate threads of the finely woven social fabric come undone, exposing our nakedness, dependance and hunger. And then we’ll eat each other.
I write all this to say that I don’t like working in the evening, being awake after midnight or sleeping late into the morning. I need to get back to a more natural sleeping and waking cycle.