Tuesday, June 19, 2012

You're only a day away

The days of the week are, of course, illusions.  We usually aren't aware of this though because they are so ubiquitously subscribed to.  Somehow, somewhen, someone bullied everyone else into agreeing that this day, so indistinguishable from every other day, was in fact special and different, and should have a name.  And, weirdly enough, it would come back again in another seven days, just the same.  Think about it, it's a freak show.

No, I am not stoned.

It's just that working shifts for the first time in my life has torn the veil from my eyes, swept back the hoary eyebrows of familiarity, and shown me the truth.  It's made of people!!!!  Or something like that.

In my last position I was working a lot of Saturdays.  And on the Saturdays I wasn't working, I was working Sunday.  So Sunday kind of ceased to exist for me.  My week would start conventionally enough on a Monday, then go Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, then one extra day of work.  The Day That Dares Not Speak Its Name.

Being a programmer in the past, I was tempted to call it Friday++.  But that doesn't convey the full blackness of having to work that sixth day.  So instead I call it Double Scorpion.  Then the day after, that everyone else is calling Sunday, is my virtual Saturday.  If I had to work then too it would be Triple Scorpion.  This is when things get crazy, because the Monday after would be actually be Quadruple Scorpion for me, escalating all the way to Octuple Scorpion by your Friday and then Nonuple Scorpion when it should simply be my Double Scorpion on your Saturday.  That's only happened to me once, and it wasn't really that bad because the first Double Scorpion was only two hours work in the morning.  But that's the situation when you work a lot of overtime.

Shift work is different.  I'm now on my fifth consecutive day of work today, so it's virtual Friday.  (Not actually at work right now because my day starts at 11pm, but it's rostered for today.)  And this is my longest stretch of consecutive days for the next 2 months.  So this will be my only virtual Friday, and there will be not a single Double Scorpion for me.  Whoo!

Because my working week is broken up into little 3 or 4 day chunks, it means I'm frequently resetting the clock back to virtual Saturday, totally out of sync with the rest of the world.  When I started this placement it was (actual) Wednesday, but I had two days off, so for me it was virtual Saturday/Sunday.  Then I had three days of work, so it was virtual Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday.

Then I had four days off.  The first two days were virtual Saturday/Sunday.  But then the next two - what were they?  What happened is that at 11:59pm on virtual Sunday, the previous day was retconned to virtual Good Friday, and things proceeded from there to virtual Holy Saturday, virtual Easter, and virtual Easter Monday.  It was incredible! 

The practical effect of this is that for the next little while almost all my days are virtual Saturday/Sunday/Monday/Tuesday, with a few virtual Good Fridays and virtual Wednesdays thrown in.  A couple of virtual Thursdays, no more virtual Fridays.  It's amazing!  The only disadvantage is that my Smaller Half is also doing shift work but on a totally different schedule to me.  So right now I'm virtual Friday, she's virtual Tuesday, which coincidentally is also actual Tuesday.  But on Wednsday we're both on virtual Saturday which will be nice, although I'll be asleep for most of it, having worked all night, so it'll be more like virtual Friday night for me.

Still, it was worse beforehand.  The one time I had a Triple Scorpion, she was on her 5th day off because she was only working 2.5 days per week.  I don't even know what the 5th day off is.  It's unprecedented in my experience.  I guess if you went to a Twelve Days Of Christmas naming scheme you could call it Gold Rings.  I like the sound of that. 

Of course, this all goes out the window in August when I start a 7-on, 7-off roster.  So it'll be virtual Monday on Wednesday through to Triple Scorpion on Tuesday, then virtual Good Friday right through to Swans-a-swimming, then back to virtual Monday again.

I think it could catch on and be the next big thing.

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