It was late. I don’t even know what time it was, but it was well past when I should have gone home. The clock in the car, annoyingly- doesn’t work. The LCD is dim and faded. Not only does that make the time impossible to see, but scanning through radio channels is a crap shoot to find anything you wanted to listen to. I had to keep looking at the computer in the car to see what time it was, or dig through my pocket and find my cell phone, whose battery was draining fast.
I was supposed to come off shift at eleven PM, but for some reason, every time I started to leave, dispatch would send me somewhere else. I’d have just a few moments after I cleared to open the computer, check the time, and write some notes so I could tackle the mountain of paperwork that was forming later on.
The details of each call were missing from my brain. I was absolutely exhausted. I remember the radio calls, I remember saddling up and leaving, then returning to the empty parking lot of the school to work on the computer, only to be set up for the next call….for the life of me though, I didn’t remember any of the calls. I hoped my field notes were complete, and that after I got some sleep, I would remember more.
Sleep. When the hell was I going to do that? The clock on the computer said 6:30am. My God. I’ve been working a busy shift for fifteen hours, and I needed to be at the IT job in less than two, AND I had another 3-11 tonight? I closed the computer, called myself out of service, and started to drive home. I got halfway before I realized that I hadn’t swapped vehicles and was driving home in a police car. I needed to go BACK and get my car. I was so tired I could barely think straight. Not only couldn’t I remember the calls, but now I couldn’t remember the procedures I’ve been following for over a year. I turned the car around and headed back to the garage, my mind and body begging me for sleep.
My alarm clock screeched to life. 6:30. I woke up in my bed. Warm. Comfortable. It had all been a dream. My shift, while busy- had not been enough to keep me more than my scheduled hours. I’d been home and in bed before midnight. I sat up.
I laid back down.
It felt as though I hadn’t slept a single iota all night. My brain had fed me dreams of exhaustion, and now my body believed them. In spite of a normal night’s sleep (6.5 hours is my norm) I could barely move. I felt as though I’d put myself to bed one minute before the alarm kicked in and I was being wrenched violently from what might have been rest- and was being thrown back into work with no buffer in between.
My legs were sore. My back hurt, my head was light and empty. Focusing on anything was nearly impossible.
I stumbled out of bed and went into The Narrator’s room to wake him for school…and damn near passed out on his bed as I tried get him going.
As I slowly came out of the fog, and my body shook off whatever science voodoo that my brain had cast over it while I slept, I began to marvel at the powers of the mind, and what sort of control it actually has over everything else.
Some people can use the brain’s power for good, or at least awesome. Walking on coals, meditating, that sort of thing. Amazing ‘powers’ that harness the brain’s capabilities and refocus them on something good, constructive, or enlightening.
Me? My jerk-bag brain runs amok using its powers for evil. He controls my body with a reckless abandon, like a small pink dictator.
Even after coffee, I’m still feeling exhausted, and I’m sure it is leftover from the vivid dreams of sleep-deprivation that I had last night. Wonderful, considering that Thursdays are my ‘long days.’ At fifteen hours split between the IT job and my full time job (I still love saying that!) a case of fake exhaustion is really not what I need at this point.
Thanks brain. You suck.