I've been working a graveyard shift lately, 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Last week, one of my few nights off just had to be the night someone went around my apartment complex vandalizing cars. Practically any other night in the last couple of weeks, my car wouldn't have been there. As it was, somebody attempted to break into it, and smashed the lock on the driver's side door. (IMAGE BELOW: Not my car.) I should be thankful the perp didn't succeed in opening the door, and that he didn't resort to breaking the glass. But I now have to lean across the passenger's seat to unlock the driver's door from the inside. And that's pretty annoying.
I discovered the damage the next afternoon when I emerged from my lair after a supersized night's sleep and spotted a policeman's card duct-taped to the left-hand window of my car. It said: "A police report has been filed. Please call me so I can obtain additional information." Then it gave the officer's name and badge number and a phone number where he could be reached. To this day, I still haven't reached him. I've always been at work when he's on patrol. When I go home to sleep, so does he. When I have a night off, either I sleep right through his shift and forget to call him, or I remember to call him and find out that it's his night off.
On Friday morning I tried to file an insurance claim for the damaged lock. It went OK up to a certain point. A claims adjuster was supposed to drop to look at my car by between 1 and 3 p.m. on Friday. I made sure I was awake, at home, and ready to make myself available to the adjuster during the appointed two-hour window. No one showed up. Eventually the insurance company called to say he wasn't going to be able to make it, but maybe Monday between 1 and 3 p.m. would work.
On Sunday I raced straight from work to church. Somehow I made it in time, even though I had gotten out of work 15 to 20 minutes late. I don't remember the traffic signals being so favorable. Yet, even though it consistently takes 20 minutes to get from work to home, and 20 minutes to get from home to church - and, even though home is actually on the way from work to church - I somehow managed the whole trip in 20 minutes! This left me plenty of time to get the organ warmed up, my suede-soled dancing shoes on, and the prelude that I had picked out on Saturday humming into the sanctified stillness of the church. I nodded through two services and a Bible class, then went home to bed. Apart from a couple hours to cook breakfast, pack a lunch, blog, etc., I spent the whole day resting up for another night shift.
Monday was even more harried. Again I rushed straight from work to church, this time for a funeral. I tried to nap in the church parlor during some downtime before the service, but there was no way for me to get comfortable. So I bolted homeward as soon as the last note of the recessional died. I knew that I had to get a day's rest in before a special joint rehearsal of the Symphony Chorus and In Unison on Monday night, from which I would have to drive straight to work again. So I closeted myself in my bedroom and ignored my cats, ignored the ringing of my phone and cell phone. I really couldn't hear much through the closed door. And having put in one two-hour shift looking out for Mr. Adjuster, I no longer cared much whether he found his way or not.
As it turns out, both he and a lady at the insurance company between them left a dozen messages for me. The last of them came today while I was resting after last night's shift at work. I listened to it come into the answering machine. Then, after reviewing all the messages I had missed, I tried to call the adjuster. I tried to call the girl at the insurance company. I made both attempts during their office hours, when I would ordinarily be sleeping. Nevertheless, and though I had just missed the adjuster's call by minutes, I couldn't reach them. They'll find messages from me in their voice mail tomorrow. And the vicious cycle of "phone tag" will go on.
Increasingly dawning on me: working overnights is incompatible with having any sort of life outside of work.