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Dave Story: Night Shift Time Confusion
Dave Carlson - June 30, 2005

If I ever write an auto-biography, this story most likely will be there. It is a story about my life I thought you might find interesting. Many times when I tell my stories, people say, “You should write a book about that.” So, here’s a start…

1992 Korea -- One of the many things I did several times while I was in the Army was to participate in training exercises. One training exercise was in Korea. I was on night shift from 6 PM to 6 AM. Our work location was in an underground bunker -- it was nice, but once inside, there was no concept of time unless you looked at a clock. And, on that night shift, I did not have any briefings to attend, nor did I have any reason to know the time except to ensure I got to work to relieve my counterpart on the day shift.

Night Shift

Someone else was responsible for the event log, so I didn’t even pay attention to the time events happened -- just reacted to whatever crisis presented itself and solved things as quickly as possible. After work, I would go immediately to the gym where we were sleeping and hit the bed for five or six hours. Upon waking, I would do my physical training for about an hour, then shower and put on my uniform (we did not wear any civilian clothing on that exercise). The rest of the day I would spend reading or walking around the small Korean installation.

I usually grabbed a quick lunch at the snack shop or ate something I picked up from the shoppette. Sometimes I would go to the recreation center to watch a movie or play some pool. (I wasn’t very good, but I enjoyed it anyway.)

Every evening, I would go the Army dining facility for a good meal before heading to work. Most nights I would meet another officer who was on his way to his place of duty for the night shift. After several days, we started joking about meeting for “breakfast” and greeting each other “Good Morning.” (Remember, this was about 5:00 PM according to the clocks on the wall.)

One “morning,” as we left the dining facility and headed to work, I stopped, looked to the left, then to the right. My buddy said, “What’s wrong?” I replied, “Isn’t the sun on the wrong side of the gym?” We both looked stunned for a few seconds then spontaneously broke into laughter -- we had been joking about it being “morning” for so long, that we both believed it really was morning. The sun was not on the wrong side of the gym, it was just on its way down for the evening -- not on its way up for the morning.

I still think of this story every time I am scheduled for night shift.


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