These two things are the bane of my existence right now. One seems determined to make my life as miserable as possible, while the other simply refuses to be moved. Between them, they have managed to turn my days into a long hard grind, replete with suffering and hardship. I think I'll go sit in a corner and pout about it.
This will not however remove the problem. Today I enjoyed relief from my suffering, but even this blissful rest was not untouched by my tormentors. After this quiet weekend is over, in a short 48 hours or so, I will once again face a week of toil and trouble. I will be back at work.
Now, I do not mind my job as such. It's hard, and I'd rather be at home, but we probably all feel much the same. (except for a few of you weirdos out there, I'm sure) But my two friends make my job much harder to endure.
Firstly Five o'clock, as you have most probably guessed, is of the early morning variety. I will be off in the wonderful Land of Nod, enjoying the random wanderings of my mind, when I am rudely pulled back into the cold dark reality of my bedroom by the 5am alarm buzzer. There is no escaping this herald of misery. It will, without fail, call me from whatsoever far corner of my mind I have been slumbering, and usher me on my way to the days drudgery. Although I would gladly give in to the temptations of a warm bed and a beautiful wife to cuddle up with, I cannot deny this messenger of the days beginning.
Now, I must admit, this slavery to the 5:00 alarm is of my own doing. In the dim past of my early teens, I aspired to the humble position of an early morning paper delivery route. I trod that route for almost six years, and at the end of those years I had developed a sensitivity to the alarm clarion that has stayed with me still. Only the most extreme exhaustion will induce my body to ignore this wake-up signal. In fact my sensitivity is such that when I wake up a few minutes before the alarm, as I am sure many of you have done, I know instinctively that is 5m and my alarm is about to go off.
This skill is extremely annoying. It is one thing to wake up and fumble for the time only to find that is only midnight and you can roll over and return to your slumber, and another thing to wake and know with surety you will have to rise in a few minutes to begin another cold and cheerless morning. Furthermore, this phenomenon has it's evil grip on my weekends. On a Saturday morning, when I should be able to sleep in blissful tranquility until noon, my sub-conscious awareness still drags me into waking before the sun, and troubles my slumber thereafter.
So I must get up in the cold and dark and prepare for work each morning. There is little cheer to comfort these morning ablutions, save a hug and a kiss from my briefly conscious wife before I stumble sleepily out the door. I must then endure an hour travelling in the back of a van to get to work, unable to catch any more sleep due to the uncomfortable seating and noisy radio. This trip is made all the more cheerless by the constant rain that will invariably follow us at this time of the year.
Thus I am brought to face my second nemesis: rain. Normally I do not mind rain. It's fun to play in, or stare at out the window from the comfort of a warm blanket. It makes flowers grow and keeps everything green. In fact, I cannot work in the rain, as getting insulation wet (I work in industrial insulation) will destroy it's usefulness. When it rains we must all sit around in the smoko hut waiting for it to stop, and if it does not stop, we may go home early. Which I quite enjoy.
Why then, is rain my enemy? Because it taunts me with this ability to grant me less work for full pay. We have a clever rain here in Taranaki. It will not allow me the luxury of an easy day or a swift return home. No, it must go out of it's way to keep me at work. It will rain cats and dogs for our entire trip, but as soon as we get on site, it will cease precipitation. Thus we must go to work, with all our work surfaces wet and cold. My hands soon get soaked through, and do not warm up until well into the afternoon. All our tarps and covers hold large pools of water, waiting to drop on some unsuspecting or clumsy head. So my day becomes miserable.
Now, this phenomenon is not universal around here. The rain stops at our work site, not anywhere else. I will look to the east or west and see rain coming from every direction. But it somehow manages to avoid raining on my work. It will go to the left or right, or just fizzle out altogether, but no matter how often I see rain coming and think I might be able to go sit inside for a while, it will not rain on me. We have recently had two of the largest rainstorms in ten years pass over the country, swamping the entire region, yet my job has seen only half a day of serious rain.
Remember, this is only when I am actually working. I do not work in a dust-bowl. It will rain on site. Oh yes. The rain knows our break schedule quite well. It will start raining at one o'clock sharp, soaking you if you are late for lunch, then just as promptly stopping to let you out and back to work when break is over. Oh, and by the way, it's just made everything dripping wet again. Or it will sweep over in showers, making you cover everything up, then run off laughing as soon as you have. It may drive you to find shelter for a few minutes, but only long enough for you to stiffen a little from the cold, then back to work you must go! Yes, and you're wet again.
On one memorable day last week it actually rained all morning, allowing me to enjoy a book in the shed. I had high hopes of being home by two. But this rain is not to be used in such a manner. Just as the decision was made to go home at one, it stopped, and I had to work the afternoon. It must have been listening at the window.