Thursday, February 26, 2009

At Night

The inside of even an empty factory is a noisy place. Oh sure it's kind of quite but there are a million little sounds from equipment that is never shut off, to wind blowing through parts of the building that are not exactly air tight, to the dripping of water at a couple of leaks, to vermin that have made a home in the plant, to the echos of your own footsteps as you walk through the building with a flashlight. Night and emptiness seem to magnify the sounds and sometimes the imagination kicks in. Sometimes you almost, but not quite, hear human voices that you just can't quite make out.

Now I know that these are "voices" are actually other sounds being altered by my imagination, which can run pretty wild at times. A real human voice would be unmistakable and I have heard them before and followed them to find a couple of stragglers, maintenance usually or management, working on something that the previous guard forgot to tell me about.

I kind of get a chuckle as I wander through the plant. I mean I can just picture one of the "psychics' from Most Haunted wandering though the plant and positively attesting "There has been a murder in this building, I tell you, a murder!" It's easy to let your imagination get carried away. I laugh as I realize that I am hearing the same kinds of sounds the scare the wits out of those "investigators".


I enjoy the guard shack. It's warm and cozy but you get to look forward to the your walks through the plant and out buildings to make sure everything is secure and nothing is wrong. Saturday evening I entered the water purification building and it was Holy Cow! as I discovered two inches of water on the floor of the subterranean level. The leak was easy to turn off but they still haven't drained all the water out. Maintenance doesn't seem too worried about it.

There are little things to keep me busy but eventually you sense the isolation of being the only human within a quarter of a mile in any direction. You step outside for a minute and let the cold air wake you up as you struggle to not nod off. You can watch TV but I'm not much of a TV watcher. Read a little. I wish I had internet access there but no. It's not a job for a person who can't handle isolation. Fortunately I can. I even kind of enjoy it.

16 Comments:

Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

I did night-shift for 7 years in a hospital which is fairly busy. But Chas was a night-shift security guard for nearly 10 years. He could handle the isolation of an empty building but I don't think I could.

1:38 AM  
Blogger Average American said...

Have you read many books yet? I like to spread out a jigsaw puzzle when I get that kind of duty also. And don't forget the sudoku puzzles.

3:42 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

My wife drives me nuts with that stupid show "Ghost Hunters" on the SCIFI channel. They run around with these night vision cameras and try to prove the existence of ghosts. They of course try to justify a bit of wind or a little noise as a spirit but all wholly unconvincing (to me, anyway).

I remember standing watch on the ship. Do you have a detex clock and keys in different areas to prove that you made your rounds?

8:54 AM  
Blogger dons_mind said...

wow...i love night shifts, but can't say i've ever worked 'em in the type of isolation you describe. i'd like to think it wouldn't bother me, but who knows...

9:09 AM  
Blogger Chuck said...

I have had two 3rd shift jobs. One was at a group home while I was in school. The guys mostly slept through the night. The other was as an RN in a busy ER, that wasn't boring. I miss the traumas we got at night.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Ducky's here said...

Count Dracula: I am Dracula.

Renfield: Oh, it's really good to see you. I don't know what happened to the driver and my luggage and... Well, and with all this, I thought I was in the wrong place.

Count Dracula: I bid you welcome.
[Suddenly, Dracula hears wolves howling]

Count Dracula: Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.

------------------
Singularly great scene from the Tod Browning "Dracula".

12:26 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Your post brought back good memories, as my first radio job was for the overnight shift: 11:00 Pm until 7:00 AM.

Loved it!

11:12 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

pjc and D_M you have to have the right personality to work completely alone. I have it.

AA I read a little bit, no room for puzzles, and I also have some minor assembly work they leave for me, but that usually only takes a couple of hours.

tim We have a "watchclock" if we need it but right now we are on the honor system. Those shows are great entertainment if you don't think of them as documentaries.

Chuck I enjoy night shift too, but I don't think I could handle trauma.

DH thanks

Joe Never worked in radio.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

I enjoy the guard shack. It's warm and cozy but you get to look forward to the your walks through the plant and out buildings to make sure everything is secure and nothing is wrong.

For a few years, Mr. AOW worked as a security guard at college. As the newbie aboard, his shifts were typically the night shifts.

He really enjoyed the work because of the quiet and the time he had to read, event though Mr. AOW doesn't particularly like isolation per se.

7:59 AM  
Blogger Chuck said...

Chuck I enjoy night shift too, but I don't think I could handle trauma.

We're freaks, we admit it. I have patients say they can't handle the sight of blood. I tell them that is a normal response, those of us that can are the abnormal ones.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Donald Douglas said...

Great post, Shoprat.

I hope you don't have any night visitors! And love that picture...

12:23 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

I've worked the night shift a few times. I actually enjoyed it, but I did get tired of not being able to see the sun...

Wait a second...I'm in Michigan during the winter...there isn't any sun!

Be safe.

4:49 PM  
Blogger christian soldier said...

Have you considered writing a novel -a book of poetry - or...????
I understand that isolation is the best for such a venture...
C-CS

1:01 AM  
Blogger Skip said...

SR... you know my feelings, maybe you want to borrow some of my equiptment? maybe get you to the "other side" of the fence?
Skip

8:24 PM  
Blogger Z said...

Can't you write there, Shoprat? your books?
I admire your enjoying that much isolation.WOW

8:32 PM  
Blogger BB-Idaho said...

It does take a knack to be a night plant guard. One of our explosives operations was a 50 acre site with several various buildings, so our guard had a schedule of 'making the rounds'.
He developed the hobby of finding
and dispatching rattlesnakes, displaying the trophy skins outside the shack. He in his pickup truck had standoffs with an elk herd and a surprized cougar. I got called over one night by 'Sgt B'..a windstorm had wreaked havoc, plywood and building supplies were scattered hither and yon, as well
as some pails of demilling percussion primers. At the height of the windstorm, a canvas cover for a lumber pile came loose, blew towards the guard shack, looking like a great tumbling white ghost to the Sgt. It settled over the shack like a huge parachute...isolating the poor isolated guy even further.
..glad I'm retired these days...

3:10 PM  

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