Thursday, 27 October 2016


Wednesday night was the night I had my overnight volunteer shift.  My first "graveyard" shift, so to speak.

I've never been an all-nighter.  Not for work (thank goodness!) but not for parties or social reasons either.

Sure, I've stayed up late, but I've always hit the hay before dawn, certainly at Burning Man.  The only sunrise I'd seen at Burning Man was last year when we got up earrrrrly on leaving day and I saw the sun rise as we were packing up the tents.

Lots of people stay up all night at Burning Man.  Many get up early to see the sunrise.  I... like my sleep so have never done either of those things.  Except the time Connor and I got up (a tad too late) and caught the tail end of a sunrise... second year?

So I knew this would be my first all nighter at Burning Man as well as my first "I've stayed up all night on playa" sunrise.  All because I was volunteering.  Cool.

Well, let me tell you, a playa sunrise is just as pretty as you'd imagine.  Even if you're in the middle of the city witnessing it.  There really is something special about watching the sky start to lighten... ever so slightly and then waiting hours yet for the horizon to take on a tinge.... and then the light to start to filter... and brighten... and then to stand and watch, waiting for the golden globe itself to crack over the mountains.  Wow.

So imagine if as you're watching your first sunrise out on this place that is so very very beautiful, and you see that the skydivers also wanted to watch today's sunrise... from the air.  Yep... it was awesome.  I don't know how many... ten?  A dozen?  Jumpers jumping out just as the sun was rising over the mountain tops.  Beautiful.  *This* is the magic that is Burning Man.  If you let yourself see it...

So that was lovely.  But man, that graveyard shift... hoo... doozie.  Power to those of you who work graveyards... I don't know how you do it.  I hit a wall around 2am.  And powered through it... and then hit the wall to end all walls at about 5am.  I was so done.  Fairly non-functional done.  With two and a half hours more to go.  Dude.  It was rough.  And chilly.  Burn barrels for the win, I say, I say!  But yeah... I survived an overnight shift, got to stand around a lovely warm burn barrel for a while and then watch the sun rise... with bonus parachuters...  Cool.

I was pretty dead by the time my shift ended and I headed back to camp hoping to all get out that my van would be "cool"... ish enough to sleep in.

Which, thank heavens, it was.  So I skipped the breakfast line, mumbled to a few people about overnight shift and crashed on my bed.

Woke up not too long after getting warm... threw on the inverter and fan and got another little bit of sleepeye, but I was pretty much a goner for the day from that overnight.  Were I to do it again, I would plan it differently in the week so that it didn't eat up quite so much of the next day... or something.


Jason Langlois said...

I used to do graveyard shifts at a gas station, then at a video store. Between 2-4AM it's pretty hard to stay focused. And I didn't have a desert sunrise with parachutists to look forward too.

What did you do during the shift, though? Was it just to stay up and keep an eye on things, or were you doing some kind of activity?

Victoria said...

Yeah, that 2-4 time was ... hard! But 4-7 was brutal ;)

I did my work, which I'm being vague about, but there are several things on playa that go overnight and are infrastructure-ish :) But, in general, we were there to help.