Monday 20 October 2014

The Dark Circle of Life

A friend of mine uploaded a picture from outside of his home this morning on the way to work. Well, I think it was outside his home, but it is really too dark to see anything at all. There is probably no worse feeling than to be awake and on the way to work when all normal humans are still comfortably wrapped in their blankets. Okay, laying naked covered in honey on a fireant hill would be worse, but not by much.

I spent a good part of my adult life being awake before others, tip toeing around the house trying not to wake anyone else up while I got ready. The truth was that I would have been hard pressed to wake them up with a bass drum and a trumpet. I would get in the car or on my bike and ride the empty streets to work. The streets are much busier now; a combination of the city getting larger and more services are needed to accommodate those getting up earlier to service the people getting up earlier…
I don’t like the idea that we early risers have to now share our dark, quiet world with the rest of humanity. The whole benefit of going to work early was that you could at least avoid the crowds going and coming. Now, it is slightly less crowded than later, certainly not worth giving up an hour or two of the best sleep of the whole night. I think we can agree that those magic moments before you wake in the morning are worth ten times the sleep between 11:00 PM and 4:00 AM. Well, that’s how I feel.

I can remember a job I had in my early twenties that made me feel like a sub human, living my life underground, only coming outside while it was dark. I could have been a vampire except for the fangs, cool cape, ability to turn into a bat and oozing sensuality. I worked for the Canada Pension people changing the numbers on small cards for each and every pensioner that collected OAS. They had recently gotten an increase of 19¢ and the cards had to reflect that change. I asked if payroll used the cards which started the supervisor chuckling. It turns out that no one would ever look at these cards until there was another raise and they hired twenty or thirty temps to change them again. Stupid fucking job!
I would roll out of bed, have breakfast and shuffle to the bus stop in the dark with all the others of my ilk. I would stand on the bus rocking back and forth, staring out the window hoping and praying that something would be out there worth looking at. There never was. From the bus I would walk into the building and into the basement, still in the dark. We would spend the day adding 19¢ to hundreds of cards with no real end in sight. The day would finally come to an end and we would emerge from our subterranean hideout only to find that the sun had once again set. I walked to the bus stop in the dark and stared out the window watching nothing happen in reverse. I did this for months. The job ended not when we ran out of cards, but when the government decided that new cards had to be made up for all of the OAS recipients. That was a job for a different part of the country, and I can only assume it wouldn’t start until the sun disappeared again.
I am now one of those people who get to stay in bed while others get up to toil in the dark. Soon I will be a recipient of OAS and I imagine some young people will earn a pay check adding 19¢ to a card in some darkened basement of a government office building, never seeing the sun for months at a time.

This is the dark circle of life…

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