February 17th, 2012

One thing that I’ve learned from working at this hotel is that the people who work the graveyard shift are not dull. It makes sense, I guess. It would take a major imaginative shift to decide to work all night and sleep during the day, totally reversing all the patterns set up by biology and society. You would have to really be the kind of person who could let go of normal in order to find the life you were meant to have.

Dennis, our graveyard bellman, is no exception. Dennis came to the mighty Silicon Valley from Texas, fresh out of college, with a degree in bio-chemical engineering, because this is where you’re supposed to go with that kind of degree. But there was a recession hitting and, anyway, he hadn’t really liked getting the degree and wasn’t looking forward to the work it would bring him. So he got a job as a club promoter and then, because he had all this free time and was getting antsy, he enrolled at the Art Institute. It was around this time that he came to us, needing to pay for art school, but not having time for another job. The graveyard shift was appealing because it didn’t interfere at all with his school schedule. But it turned out that almost entirely scheduling sleep out of his life was unsustainable and so he went on hiatus from art school, just shy of a degree. He’ll go back, he says, but when I asked him how soon he told me, instead, about how he had just been certified to teach English abroad and is about to apply for a position in Thailand. He can stay anywhere from 6 months to 2 years.

I, personally, am so impressed with people like Dennis. He’s drifting a bit, sure, but he’s also taking dramatic chances in his search for what he wants from the world. I love and envy this. If you get a chance, say hi to him before he’s gone.

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