I apologize for my entire species of second- and third-shift workers. I know it must be irritating to hear the scrape of my snow shovel going across the sidewalks at 2am in the morning, when you are long abed, snuggled under your covers and sound asleep.
Always mindful of your slumber, I try to be as silent as possible while removing the foot and a half of snow from the sidewalks and driveway. I am not always successful, however, and a needle of guilt slinks into my heart. “Shit; I’m going to wake someone up.”
Then it occurs to me – my schedule, while less populated, is no less valid than yours.
Do you enjoy having 24-hour tech support? Doctors and nurses in the hospitals in the middle of the night? Grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants open whenever you need them?
Then thank us, the off-schedule night creepers. We’re here for you.
We are what makes those things possible.
So as I labor in the dark, snow and wind blowing into my eyes, try not to be angry with me. Perhaps notice I also shoveled your walk as best and as quietly as I could. When you awaken and leave for work, perhaps don’t slam the car door quite so loudly, or yell to someone still in the house, for those are my hours of rest.
I don’t expect you to think of this, for why would you; I am just the weirdo neighbor girl who comes and goes at odd hours, and has friends over until nearly dawn. Surely, this must be of my own doing.
Some of us work these shifts by choice; others are relegated here because they have no say.
But we make the night world run. Your infrastructure is cared for night and day because of people like me and my friends. Your roads are plowed, your city streets patrolled, your packages transported. You rely upon us, even though you may not know it.
We forgive you your impatience with us, if it exists; we do. We understand. Even though your world forgets us – banks, educational institutions, business offices – we’ll be here.