February 02, 2009

Brothers In Arms

The sky was just beginning to lighten in the east, but was pitch black in the west. The War Room called a truce. Keith had to go home to get his two-year old son up, dressed, and off to nursery school before he himself headed to work. Bret and I went home to sleep. Jay was staying to finish laying out the boards before heading to TA the 8:30 Vis Lit class, after which Chris would take over, take the boards to the media center to print and the post office to mail. With a postage stamp, we would send out peace treaty off to the competition jurors. With any luck, they would reject our offer and we would surrender. We a little more luck, they would accept us as a finalist, send us some money, and several more week's worth of work. We hadn't decided which outcome we would prefer, though we knew which one we expected.

The custodians had settled in for a little gossip before heading off. The undergrads in The Link were still fighting with the fifth tower, whose top lay on the fourth floor balcony, ready to be placed, but not quite fitting with the three stories constructed below. The Barn was empty. The next day's buses had begun to run. My car was not the only one in the parking lot, but it did have the thickest layer of hoar frost. I turned onto my street behind the garbage men, a reminder that it is, in fact, Monday. I'm glad as a single person, I don't generate much garbage, so it won't be a problem to miss a week. The clock on my dash ticked over to 7:00 just before I pulled the key from the ignition.

I wondered if I would be able to sleep. I tried to remember my last cup of coffee. Around midnight, I think it was. I pulled the curtains closed and turned off the alarm. About two hours later I woke to very vivid, and very corny, dreams and an urge to relieve my bladder. I don't remember sleeping much after crawling back into bed, where I lay until noon.

The night wasn't as difficult as I had anticipated. The closest I had ever come to an all-nighter before was staying up until 3:00 and rising again at 6:00 to go back to work. (I still don't consider this an all-nighter since I didn't go directly from studio into crit. It doesn't count if you don't go straight to crit with your sleep deprivation intact. So my record is intact. Sort of.) It was different being surrounded by a group of people, teammates, comrades, brothers in arms, no matter how ill-mannered. The energy was different from the last late night I had, which I spent working by myself at home. It begins to explain the strange vibe that permeates studio during the end days of a project. On my own, I would never pull an all-nighter, but when it was for others, others who were willing to give just as much, it was easy.

And I don't feel bad for leaving Jay and Chris. Jay is a veteran of many all-nighters. I think that is how he prefers to work. Chris is a bartender and inveterate party boy, used to late nights and odd hours. Keith is just a work-aholic, and a dad. I can't imagine dealing with a two-year old first thing in the morning on no sleep. Me, I'm a lightweight, I called in to work today, swapped for Tuesday, which is usually a day off.

I usually don't like team projects, but these last two, the Douglas project last semester and now the ULI project with the boys. I've enjoyed these. I wonder if it was the project, the people, or maybe something else has changed. Whatever it is, it is dissolving my prejudice against teams and that is always a good thing. Maybe I'll figure it out with more precision when I'm had a little real sleep.

And on that note - goodnight.

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