I love sleep. For those of you who know me, my list of most of important things in life usually goes as follows:
- everything else
Unfortunately for me in the past couple weeks, my sleeping has degraded from falling asleep normally and just waking up for a few minutes multiple times a night, to taking quite a long time (an hour or more) of just laying in bed before I can fall asleep, and then waking up in the middle of the night, only to not be able to fall asleep for hours. In the past 7 days, I’ve had two instances where I’ve had less than 5 hours sleep, and those 5 hours were interrupted by 1 or more hours somewhere in between.
Normally I wouldn’t care, but yesterday I had a job interview and I was so tired that I’m just hoping that I didn’t say anything stupid, because I don’t totally remember everything that happened.
To take a few steps back… Last Wednesday, after 4 months of job hunting and not finding anything, I received not 1, not 2, not even 3 but 4 calls from different companies either offering me a job right off the bat, or at least asking me to come in for an interview. I honestly don’t get it – why 4 months of nothing and then so many all at once? At any rate, after my brain had calmed down from the elation of prospective jobs and the subsequent off-my-backness of my parents, I started mulling over the possibilities.
Company #1 (Calgary, Alberta): A very small IT support operation, working with numerous real estate related companies; a few realtors but mostly things like the legal side of it, like the housing board and the mortgage board, etc.
- Pros: Decent salary ($50,000/year + $1,200/year to be spent on health benefits like Blue Cross) with an increase after 3 months; overtime requirements are slim if any; the team sounds very close knit; lunches are bought by the owner once a week just to meet up with the employees to see how things are going; work would be rather relaxed due to the nature of the business their clients provide
- Cons: Being a small company means that while there is room to grow, there are really no defined roles
Company #2 (Calgary, Alberta): Quite a larger IT support company working with businesses of all flavors
- Pros: Great salary ($55,000/year + $700/month [avg.] bonus); work with a very large team of very skilled individuals; ability to move laterally or up due to the size of the organization
- Cons: Very demanding and more stressful work; would be responsible for a single site (or possibly even multiple sites) by myself (do I really trust myself to be single-handedly responsible for a full company’s IT infrastructure?)
Company #3 (Winnipeg, Manitoba): Working in the datacenter of a global IT company
- Pros: Experience that would rival no other; great resume material; work that I would really enjoy
- Cons: Salary offer was a joke ($39,000/year; would not budge)
Company #4 (Winnipeg, Manitoba): Store in the local shopping mall (I don’t even remember dropping off my resume here, so I don’t even know what they sell)
- Pros: It’s working in a mall, so I can’t imagine the work would be incredibly stressful; the eye candy walking through the mall would break up the monotony
- Cons: Single digit hourly salary is quite less than other offers listed above; I would be working in a mall
After speaking with Company #1 for a while, they decided to fly me out to Calgary the following week (a.k.a. this week) to meet the team, and see what they’re all about. After hemming and hawwing for about point-two seconds, I accepted because: hey, free trip! We made the arrangements and I was to both leave and return on the following Monday (yesterday), which would also allow me to meet up with a few old friends for dinner before going home.
ENTER STAGE LEFT: INSOMNIA P. McINSOMNIA
INT: ALL LIGHTS ARE OFF, CURTAINS CLOSED, DIGITAL CLOCK GIVING OFF A FAINT RED GLOW, ONLY OTHER VISIBLE ITEM IN THE ROOM ARE SUBJECT'S EYES WIDE OPEN
EFFECT: TIME ON DIGITAL CLOCK SPEEDS UP TO SHOW THE PASSAGE OF HOURS, EYES STAY COMPLETELY STILL THE ENTIRE TIME
Sunday night comes around, Ashleigh comes over (yes, we’re back together; that’s not the point of this post) and we watch the absolutely amazing documentary “Discovery Atlas: China Revealed” (which I absolutely recommend to anyone who hasn’t seen it; it is bar none my favorite documentary). She left around midnight or so, and shortly thereafter, I took it upon myself to head to bed. My flight was at 10:45 the next morning, so I wanted to be well rested before the long day I had ahead of me.
My brain had other ideas.
I entered the confines of my soft cage around 12:10AM. At 12:30AM, I was upset that I wasn’t asleep. At 12:45AM, I was angry that I wasn’t asleep. At 12:50AM, I was on the brink of crying because I knew that it would be a long night. At 12:55AM, I told myself to relax, but couldn’t since it was twelve-fucking-fifty-five and I was still awake! At 1:00AM, I’m not sure what happened because I was finally asleep.
Joy of joys. It only took me an hour to do what normally takes me only 5 minutes to do. No worries. At least I’m asleep, right?
Wrong. An hour later (almost to the second) I was awake again. I tried just laying there to fall back asleep. Ain’t happenin’. I got up, got a banana, ate said banana, then tried to fall asleep. Nope. Got up, got on the computer for a few minutes, went back to bed. Time to asleepness? Nearly an hour and a half.
So now it’s 5AM, and I’m just beginning my third hour of sleep. I also have to be up in 2 hours, which means that even if I sleep the entire time between now and then, I’m going to be flying to Calgary, in a job interview, having dinner with friends, and flying back to Winnipeg all on 4 hours of sleep. And not even 4 continuous hours. Someone kill me.
I manage to sleep the entire 2 next hours, and wake up and ready myself for the day. I iron my hand. Then I realize that the iron is supposed to be under my hand and on top of my shirt. Oops. I get showered and for some reason or other decide that today would be the best day to break my “no shampoo in the eyes” streak, of which I’ve had going for nearly 10 years. In my attempts to un-blind myself, I slam my head against the shower wall leaving a decent bump under my hair. And I haven’t even got dressed yet.
I stop to get gas on the way to the airport and lose my focus at precisely the moment I needed the most focus, as instead of putting $10 in, I let the nozzle pump its way higher and higher, all the way to $25 before realizing that I wasn’t paying attention. Just great. I have barely any money, I have no idea what my day is going to be like in Calgary like whether I’m going to need to cab it anywhere, and I blow $15 extra. Fantastic.
The flight was uneventful save for the quintessential crying baby, which strangely seem to only be on flights where you need to sleep. Seriously, have you ever noticed that? You can be wide awake, and the entire cabin of the plane will notice when the guy in the first row farts, but the one fucking time you want to use the 2 hours of nothingness to catch up on your Z’s and it’s like they somehow managed to stuff an entire English soccer team’s fanbase into a 100′ x 12′ tube.
Anyways, I get to Calgary, and the owner of the company picks me up from the airport and takes me to one of the sites that I’d be working at. I find out at this point that the amount of work I’d be doing is significantly less than I had imagined previously. (10 points for Gryfindor!) They seem to have their shit together hardware-wise, so at this point, my decision is definitely being swayed their way.
We then head out to Moxie’s for lunch where I meet a couple of the other guys on the team and find out they definitely know their shit (which is a good thing, considering the people I’ve worked with in the past.) We talk about my job history, what Bermuda was like, and all kinds of things, and after everything was said and done, the boss made me the offer. Wanting to think it over, I told him I’d sleep on it and get back to him tomorrow (today).
With that said, he dropped me off downtown where I met Dave. It was weird being back downtown, not to mention that we decided to meet at City Hall, which was my office for a number of months when I first moved out there a couple years ago. It brought back memories of a computer deployment gone wrong, and our favorite breakfast (“BACKDOOR!”) [Editor’s Note: Inside joke.]
We ended up getting a 6 of beer, heading back to the house for a bit before Eden and Brett were ready to go for dinner. We picked up Terry on the way and went for wings and beer at the Regal Beagle. Like always, the wings were awesome except for the fact that they must use the world’s smallest chickens for their wings; they’re tiny!
This is where the fun really begins. My flight is scheduled to leave at 8:45PM. Common sense tells us that we should be at the airport at 7:45PM to be prepared to board the flight, yada yada. As the clock struck 7:45PM, we were just getting in the car. We’re in Kensington, which for those of you who don’t know, isn’t exactly airport-adjacent. We break several speed limits on our way to 16th Avenue which (of course) is moving about as fast as George W. Bush trying to say the word “education”, so we take a serious detour to try and get around whatever was holding up traffic.
At the sound, the time is currently: 8:00PM. *ding*
We’re finally moving at a decent clip, when traffic on 16th further up slows down again. This time some idiot (not us) has been pulled over for speeding, and the police (in all their glory) just stop the car in the middle of the road, rather than let them pull off to the side. You know, where it would be safe.
TICK TOCK TICK TOCK
We’re on the home stretch now, and it’s only *gulp* 8:10PM. I have 10 minutes before general boarding begins. We can do this, we can make it! DAMMIT DAVE, DRIVE FASTER!
We pull up to the terminal at 8:15PM. General boarding has begun. I enter the airport building, only to realize…”FUCK, I’M AT THE WRONG END!” I run from quite literally one end of the airport to the other, tired as hell already but determined not to miss my flight. I already have my confirmation code memorized, so I reach a Self Check-In station, have my boarding pass printed in record time, and run towards the security checkpoint.
Praying to God, Buddha, Allah, and Gretzky that there won’t be a line, I reach the metal detectors with my wish of the day apparently granted. Not a single other person in either line. I empty my pockets faster than I could ever hope to imagine even if I was being mugged, I get through the faux-doorway not even setting it off with my belt buckle. God, I’m really starting to believe you exist.
But wait. “Gate D50.” The entire way down the hallway. Fuck you, God. You’re just fucking with me, and I definitely don’t need this today. I refill my pockets, grab my things out of the grey plastic bin, and take off running again. As I approach the end of the hallway, I reflect on how many people must have just seen me run by them and think “What the hell is up with that guy?” at which point I hear over the intercom “This is a final boarding call for WestJet flight 509, with service to Winnipeg.”
My heart sinks. I need to run past another 10 gates before I can start waving my arms in the hopes they hold it for a few more seconds.
I start waving. She doesn’t see me. She’s inputting something on her computer, of which I can only imagine reads “JUSTIN SMITH IS NOT ON BOARD. HE IS ALSO AN IDIOT FOR LETTING HIS FRIENDS TELL HIM THAT HE’D BE ON TIME. DO YOU WANT TO TEACH HIM A LESSON? [YES/NO] _”
She looks up.
Pleeeeeeeeease see me.
She sees me.
She smiles indicating that she will hold the doors for me.
I fucking trip.
My binder goes flying. My folder of all the offer documents leaves the binder in search of a better life.
She laughs, comes over to help me pick up my things and says “good timing.” In my head, I think to myself “no, good timing would have been me being here 20 minutes ago without half of the terminal looking at me and laughing.” Whatever.
I get on the plane, find my seat, put my binder and folder in the pouch attached to the seat ahead of me, insert my headphones, press play, and pass out. We hadn’t even taken off.
I suddenly wake up to a stomach churning “bump” during our final descent, impressed that my shirt is drool-free. My MP3 player had stopped playing at sometime during my nap, but I didn’t care; I had finally slept, if only for an hour and a half.
The craft docks with the mothership (a.k.a. the gate) and we’re allowed to de-buckle ourselves to stand up. It’s at this point, I come to the realization that I’ve been wearing the same dress shoes for 15 straight hours. OH HOLY SHIT PAIN. People aren’t moving at the speed of light (a.k.a. not fucking fast enough) and I suffer for what feels like another 15 hours while I watch nearly the entire plane neglect the baggage checking service and remove 9 planes worth of suitcases, duffle bags, Ikea end tables, and washing machines.
FUCKING MOVE IT ALREADY.
We make our way off the plane, single file like proper children, when one of the stewardesses compliment me on my aviator sunglasses. I am so mad at this point, that if I did acknowledge her, it probably looked like a cross between a hobo who found someone in his shopping cart and a serial killer who just had his first taste of murder. I just wanted to get home and to bed; is that so much to ask?
I make it to my car without issue. My house. My bed. I AM HOME FREE!
I climb into bed. It’s the perfect temperature. My feet and legs feel like they could spontaneously explode at any second, but I ignore them. I close my eyes, anxious to fall asleep.
My brain had other ideas.
EPILOGUE: After thinking long and hard about what I really want, I decided to pass up selling my soul for a bigger paycheque, and accepted the offer at Company #1 (Versalt). I called them this morning to let them know of my decision and will be starting August 13th. That means I’ll be moving to Calgary in exactly a week, since Dave and Brett will be camping until Monday, being that it’s the long weekend.
Wish me luck!