Friday, October 23, 2009

R U Ready?

Part 1

So after I'd agreed to move my fat ass to the overnights, my boss gave me a few days off, so as let me get my body acclimated to the new hours. So towards that end, I picked up a box of No-Doz from my local c-store and got ready to spend the next two nights staying up through the wee hours of the morning.

This was gonna be an adventure, because unlike today, where you could find something to keep yourself awake, either on the telly, the radio or the Internet, back in the early 90's, I really didn't have that luxury.

First off, I didn't have a lot of movie channels to play with. I think I had about four or five (gotta remember this is during the analog days) overall: HBO and Showtime, and I think Encore and Cinemax. Secondly, most of the t.v. channels started replaying the previous night's entertainment starting around midnight. Thirdly, the only first run programming I was getting back then was religious, most notably the Rev. Eugene Scott (who was, and still remains, the only televangelist that kept my attention for longer than two minutes at any given time).

So I got myself a large soda, a bag of chips, and my bottle of No-Doz, and plopped my fat ass on the couch. Putting the telly on, I popped a couple of No-Doz and settled down for a long dull night of trying to stay awake.

Around two o'clock, I started feeling sleepy as my eyelids stated to stay closed longer every time I blinked. So, not wanting for this night to be a bust, I popped a couple more No-Doz. Within a half hour, I started having a few mild hallucinations and a out of body experience as well.

Note: my wife was (and still is) vitriolic in her hatred of No-Doz. This remains the only time that I've ever taken stimulants to stay awake.

It was, in hindsight, the neatest thing, simply because I never took any kind of illegal (or legal for that matter) pharmaceuticals to get to that state of being. Back then, it was definitely a little creepy. Looking down on yourself while you're zoned out is something that one should only experience during a deep slumber, and not when you're wide awake.

Anyways, it took a couple of hours for the feeling to dissipated. By the time five o'clock rolled around, I was ready to crash big time. But I stuck it out until about six thirty, when I decided to have breakfast before going to bed. Now, unlike today, where I'm overly fanatical about monitoring my diabetes (currently on four different meds), back then I was in total denial. So I porked out big time at breakfast before hitting the sack to get about five or six hours of shut eye.

I repeated the process the next day, had the same out of body experience, and by the end of the week, I was ready to be trained at my new position of 3rd shift grunt.
Up next: Training for 3rd shift.


  1. Wow, an intersting experience that. I've never had an out of body experience. Maybe I should try some no dose.

  2. I've never had a normal pattern to my sleep, so I think it would be less hard for me to stay awake. Saying that, as you said, now with hundreds of tv channels and the internet there are many more things to help us stay awake!

  3. Funny, I've worked either rotating shifts or straight midnights for a total of about fifteen years of my adult life. More often than not, I was constantly jetlagged because we would work a particular shift for 3 to 7 days and then get a day or two off and work a totally different shift. I've even had to work four different shifts in the course of a one week period.

    I've never resorted to any stimulantes but coffee with the exception of when i was in the Army and had to work nights (swing mid and an overlapping cover shift in consecutive order ad nauseum) and my patrol was all over the island. All that driving? I got caffeinated with Dietac, the Contac diet capsule that came out in the 80s. Mega caffeinated.

    What I generally do when on mids is to nap for about 3 hours before the first shift, and when I get home, nap for several hours, get up around noon and then go back to bed in the evening so I can get 8 or nine hours total.

    That's not ideal, but it's what works best for me.

    Now I'm glad to work only days with very rare exceptions. I'm too old for that stuff!

  4. I've only taken No-Doz once. They made me feel like I was going to jump out of my skin!

  5. I had that out of body experience once, driving from L.A. to Seattle on Highway 101.
    Wonderland at the time but scary in retrospect.

  6. Oy. I don't think I could manage working a night shift. I do have two friends who worked nights in the printing industry - one who did it for years and then got out. The other's still waiting for his big break after many years. I know this: it wasn't good for them, physically or mentally.

  7. Out of body?! I can't even imagine.

  8. Okay, I have an experience a little like this. When I was in labor, my contractions were horrible but weren't doing anything so the hospital sent me home with a sleeping pill and said to come back when I can't even talk. (Nice, huh?) I don't take medicine of any kind, never did drugs, never even smoked a cigarrette (or can spell it for that matter) and took the sleeping pill. I remember laying on the couch and talking to a bunch of people from Boulder ( A place in Colorado) in my living room. I was for sure they were there... and no, they were not. Yeah, I don't think we would be good on hard drugs!

  9. I worked 3rd shift for several weeks several years ago and I adjusted somewhat easily except for the weekends. I was the only one I knew that worked that schedule, so Sunday - Thursday 11pm - 7am and then would try to have a normal weekend. My sleep has still not adjusted after all this time. :)

  10. Charles: I wouldn’t really recommend No-Doz to achieve that sort of feeling. Probably saying up for about 24-36 hours straight should do the trick.

    Joe: Most definitely more things to stay awake to the wee hours of the morning. I’m not sure if what I got is a long term side effect, but I can function pretty well on about 6 hours of sleep or so.

    Writtenwyrdd: Wow! Great way to get burned out and then some. Not sure if you read the first part of this, but this was my longest stint working the overnight (almost two years). I did a few other times when I was younger, but most of those lasted less than two or three months. Most of the weirdest things that happened in my life, happened at this job. But more on that in the future.

    Mama Z: Like I said, my wife absolutely detests the stuff. I know when I finished getting ready for this job, the box basically disappeared. I had customer once who used to by a one liter bottle of Jolt cola and box of this stuff to get himself going in the morning.

    Lane: When my sugars were extremely out of whack in the mid 90’s, I used to have that kind of thing while doing my daily driving activities.

    Sparkling Red: Welcome to the blog. I would definitely agree with your statement 100%. By the time I decided to leave, I was so burned out from doing it that I spent the next couple of months just enjoying the solitude of functioning like everyone else for a change.

    R.K.: It was freaky at that.

    That one girl: Wow. I don’t think I ever had that kind of experience before. I don’t think I would be good with hard drugs either. The closest I came to this kind of thing was just before I had shoulder surgery in 2001. I was in so much pain that I sucking Percocets like candy and the only it did was make me loopy.

  11. Lynn: I hear you on that. I'm still amazed when a few of the people who do 3rd shift at the facility I do payroll for, call me up in the late morning to ask me something.

    I usually say, "what are you still doing up at this ungodly hour?"

  12. I've always been a night hawk so staying awake hasn't been a problem for me. But HAVING to stay awake without work to do would be difficult - especially in those ancient days of 5 channel tv and no internet :)

    I can't wait to hear your over-night adventures, G. The whole out-of-body thing would be super scary if you were at work!

  13. Talon: That's why Dr. Scott would sometimes be my savior (pun intended) at night during my days off.

    He was the only televangelist I could tolerate watching (and remember, this was the true heyday of the televangelist).

    I think if it happened at work, it would be a highlight to an otherwise dull day.

    Got lots of stories about my days working the overnight. Just have to remember them in chronological order.

  14. I was here before, but somehow didn't get to the comment box.
    Drug-induced Out of body does sound strange. I've never done No-Doz, n stay up all night all the time, now used to it three years.

    Have done out of body during pre-sleep a few times tho, went out n flew about, visited folks, but came back n remembered it all later.

    Drug reactions for me so far have never been positive experiences...

  15. In all the years of taking pharmaceuticals (scripts and OTC) I've never really had that kind of thing before or since.

    It was interesting to say the least.

    I probably could become a 3rd shift grunt again if the money and benefits were matching up with what I make now.


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