So I woke up this morning at 2:17 am and for some reason I thought of my character Carly in Joyride. I thought about how she would not only be awake, but in the middle of her shift at the Breeze Mart. While other people are home drooling on their pillows, she’s up all hours of the night, trying to earn money and stay afloat in school. And though I desperately wanted to go back to sleep, curiosity got the better of me and I ended up calling different gas stations in the area, begging employees to interview with me just to see what working the graveyard shift is like. (I never said being an author was normal.)
Here are some of the answers I got just this morning (including what I know in my heart Carly would say). Know this, most of the employees I spoke with questioned my sanity in general and my motives in particular, and some of them thought they were being audited by their companies, so keep that in mind as you read these somewhat conservative responses.
1.) What is the best part about working the graveyard shift?
Charlene: The best part is getting to spend your days with your family and getting to see people as they go to work in the morning.
Austen: The peace and quiet.
Pete: For me, I’m a night owl and I don’t sleep at night so it’s perfect for me.
Ally: It’s slow so you can get things done.
Carly: After I get done with my responsibilities, I basically get paid to do my homework on the clock. What other kid can say that?
2.) What is the craziest incident that ever happened on this shift?
Charlene: Nothing really crazy at this location.
Austen: Nothing crazy has happened.
Pete: Oh, I can’t say that! That’s telling people’s business! All I can say is people come from the club worse for wear, and that’s all I can say.
Ally: A group coming in after all the clubs close and rush for the bathroom. There’ll be eight of ‘em in there at a time waiting to take turns. There’s also a group of cross dressers coming in regularly—they’re always entertaining.
Carly: One time, this moron, who shall remain nameless, decided to put a cowboy bandana on and try to rob one of my customers. And since I have no common sense, I pulled a gun on the robber. We were all surprised. He still stole my bike though. Moron.
3.) What do you do on down time?
Charlene: There really is no down time, we’re expected to keep the store immaculate.
Austen: Face the aisles and make sure the store looks great.
Pete: I don’t have any down time, I work the whole time I’m here.
Ally: There is absolutely no down time. Our down time is waiting on customers instead of stocking and cleaning and getting ready for the next day. We stay pretty busy.
Carly: There isn’t a whole lot of down time, but I try to get my homework done before Mr. Shackleford comes in because he stays for a while and wants to chat about rich white people things, and sometimes he pees in the aisle when he’s drunk—and alcohol urine is the stinkiest, I’m telling you.
4.) What’s your least favorite part of the shift?
Charlene: Breaking everything down and cleaning machines/equipment, taking the truck shipments.
Austen: Being slow, the time drags.
Pete: I love being up at night, so I don’t really have one. What else would I be doing, you know?
Ally: That depends on the night of the week. Club nights are Wednesdays and Saturdays, which are busy so hopefully we have everything done by the time we get rushed, but even if we do, they just destroy the store and we have to start all over again.
Carly: Did I mention Mr. Shackelford pees in the beef jerky aisle
5.) Do you believe in Sasquatch—why or why not?
Charlene: I can’t say no and I can’t say yes. There’s some evidence out there, but they’re not coming up to us and saying “hi” or anything.
Austen: No I don’t, because I’ve never seen one.
Pete: No, because I’ve never seen one and I’ve got to see it to believe it.
Ally: Yes, because there has been evidence presented already that they exist.
Carly: What kind of stupid question is that? I thought this was supposed to be a real interview. I don’t have time for this crap.
Have you ever worked the graveyard shift? What’s the most interesting thing that happened to you? Or maybe you’ve been the person to pee in the beef jerky aisle, hmmm? Leave a comment, and let’s start the Graveyard Shift Diaries!