The Wrong Kind Of Waiting
While most the waiting I do these days is “waitin’ on a woman”, an enjoyable waiting even if the cause of said waiting believes I think different, it’s professional waiting the has had a detrimental effect on my life.
In the days of the band, we’d spend our afternoons waiting for the main band to do sound check before we could load in. We’d spend the evening waiting for the clubs to open and let the patrons in so we could play to a reasonable audience. Then we’d have to spend the late evening and early morning waiting for the main band to load out before we could get our own gear out. Over the time we became good at several things, waiting and sleeping back stage while bands played and fans screamed.
As a Surveyor I spent countless hours waiting on the side of roads counting traffic, counting pedestrians and whatever else the council needed figures on. I’d spend hours waiting while builders and concreters argued about council rules and regulations they didn’t think they needed to adhere to and I spent hours waiting for my assistant to walk from point to point during land surveys so the electronic theodolite could record the information the developers needed to design urban infrastructural.
In the world of IT and especially IT training for the Federal government some days I may as well have just stayed home because I spent so much of my day waiting for staff members to give in and accept that training was required if they wanted to keep their jobs.
But the waiting that pretty much screwed my life was the waiting as a truck driver. Waiting for stores/shops to open which saw me sleeping in the front of the truck for twenty minutes here, thirty minutes there and ten minutes there. Tuesday’s and Sunday were the worst when my ten hour shift went something like this.
10pm-11pm: Load truck
11pm-1am: Driving and small store deliveries taking anything up to five minutes.
1am-1:30am: First major supermarket delivery, load in, pack shelves, and load out
1:30am-2:15am: Small shop deliveries
2:15am-3am: Sleep whilst waiting for second major supermarket night fill to open back door.
3am-3:45am: Load in, pack shelves, load out.
3:45am-4am: Small shop deliveries.
4am-5am: Sleep whilst waiting for third major supermarket.
5am-5:30am: Load in, pack shelves, load out.
5:30am-6am: Small shop deliveries.
6am-7am: Sleep whilst waiting for fourth major supermarket
7am-7:30am: Load in, pack shelves, load out
7:30am-8:30am: Travelling and fifth supermarket load in, pack shelves and load out
8:30am-9:15am: Take away store deliveries
9:15am-10:15: Travel and unload truck at depot.
At least three periods of waiting in every 10 hour shift, a waiting which after a few years goes from sitting in the truck reading books etc (this was before mobile phones and internet in your pocket) to sleeping and trying to catch up on what night shift makes you lose.
Why didn’t I just start my shift later and avoid the sleeping breaks? Three reasons, firstly we had set times we were suppose to adhere to, supermarkets expected us in a set time frame and they did not care if that meant we had to wait or what time we had to start. The second reason was that any casual worker who took over my run when I was on holidays or sick couldn’t manage to do the run in less than 10 hours with no sleep breaks so therefore the run was an allotted 10 hour run and sleeping was a perk of being about to do that job well. Thirdly even if someone had told me all those short cat naps during the morning were going to ruin my sleeping for the rest of my life I probably wouldn’t have listened.
Now I pay the price for it. It’s a price many people don’t even understand let alone accept. Some think it’s just like having insomnia but it’s not, insomnia is not being able to sleep, I don’t have trouble sleeping I can fall asleep anywhere any time, the problem is I can’t sleep for more than an hour at a time and usually after that sort of nap I’m awake and alert enough to not go back to sleep. I don’t make light of anyone who suffers from insomnia but it’s amazing how many people who can’t sleep refuse to accept how much a shift worker’s insomnia can effect every aspect of their life. It doesn’t make them less of a person, less of a carer, less of a human but the lack of understanding often makes the sufferer think that’s how people see them.