Sunday, January 24, 2010

Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Darkness prevails as a buzzer sounds in the corner of your mind. You wake to find that the sound is all too real. You must find the source, and shut it down. It must be a mistake. It’s far too dark to be time to get up for work. The street lights appear to still be lit. In denial, you hit the snooze at least one more time than in your usual morning routine. Eventually, your brain processes the numbers on the digital monster and you can deny it no longer. It is time. You rise to start your day in the darkness. You skip breakfast since it is still too dark. Breakfast is supposed to be sunny, cheery and lit up. You decide to replace it with a light supper instead to brighten your dark morning. It looks like night time, so maybe it could just be supper time. After a chicken leg, a handful of french fries and a diet soda, you exit your home, flashlight in pocket, lantern in hand, and journey to your daily occupation.

The days are long, and riddled with hunger and acid reflux due to the consumption of improper morning nutrients. You regret not ingesting a simple muffin or toast, and a cold shiver passes through your body as you think about what you packed for lunch this morning, more chicken and fries. Through the office windows, you sense that there may be light outside at long last, but you don’t have time to investigate any further. You must return to your windowless environment, and continue pretending to work, whilst watching the minutes pass by at an impossibly slow pace and surfing the internet. Upon the eventual completion of your routine daily hours, your entire system is once again thrown for a spin as you step foot outside. It is dark again.

“How can this be? Perhaps the sun simply has just not risen yet. Surely I could not have spent all of the bright hours indoors... here. That would be, well, it would be not good.”

Later, as you eventually find your way back home, you dreadfully conclude that the sun is not about to rise. It definitely has already fallen. Network television can only divert your attention away from the bleak truth for a certain amount of time, as you eat reheated turkey out of a cereal bowl with your bare hands. You probably would go to the gym, or even for a brisk walk outside, but now, what’s the point? Anyways, you already went to the gym once this week. Or was that last week? Hmmm... The dark mornings and nights all seem to blend together. No matter, the sun is gone, and won’t come up again until a time when you won’t be around to see it anyways.

Should you decide to take action against this dark and dreary lifestyle, you must make some drastic changes in your life. After all, you can’t go on like this. It wouldn’t be fair. No, the answer is not going the gym, having productive hobbies or starting better dietary habits, stupid. You need to start devising a plan, a schedule wherein you can still get your eight hours of sleep, as well as your eight hours of work, and keep the maximum amount of the sunlit hours as your free time.

You must go to sleep at two in the morning, and wake up sometime between nine and ten, the golden morning hours during this dismal season. You will not rise and go to work. Instead, you will spend your sunshine well. Bask in the living room in your underwear and let the sunshine warm your body. Go outside, shop, eat, or even take a nap. Do everything that you always dream you could be doing when you are normally indoors during sunny sky time . Sometime before sundown, unfortunately, you must then head to work. Work until and then return home for bed.

The schedule is perfectly balanced and maximizes at home sun time. But your main obstacle is to make your employer agree to it. Ask. If they say no, you must first try and convince them that you are in fact a Vampire, or whatever supernatural or alien type of being or entity is trendy, and that you need to spend the sunlit hours at home asleep in your coffin, cave or spaceship. Vampires do seem to be so popular these days, so give that one a whirl first. They are just so cool and shit, so I feel that they’ll totally agree to it, like, for sure.

If they don’t believe your sudden Vampirism, or whatever creature of the night you suggested, the second tactic is to make up a religion and say that these are the only work hours that comply with the decrees of your rare and special Sun God. Don’t take a name that sounds too goofy. Just create a fake religion with a name that sounds official and real like Radapopolism, Solar Molasses, Sunny Deezlhism, American Apparel or Scientology. Try to get a few other colleagues on board with your religion, to make it seem more legitimate. If you just tried the Vampirism argument, best to wait a week or so before trying your new religion argument out on them. You’d hate for them to catch on to your ruse.

If these genius ideas still don’t work, then just quit your job. You’ll definitely be happier getting a nightshift job somewhere than to have to spend all of your free time in the darkness. Some options are:

-Lady / Man of the Evening
-Private Detective, film noir style, not Ace Ventura style
-Something at a Hospital
-Babysitter’s Club

If you insist on keeping your current Vampire unfriendly job, then there are some techniques to employ to assist in combating misery during the year’s dark ages.

You should take at least three personal or sick days per week. Take longer lunch breaks when you actually do decide to go into work, and spend them entirely outside. Move your cubicle next to a window, or directly inside some executive’s cushy corner office. They won’t notice. They’re busy working. Decorate your cubicle with palm trees and pictures of the sun and the beach. Garnish every cup of coffee or glass of water you drink with paper drink umbrellas and always drink with a twisty straw. Keep Hawaiian shirts, board shorts and flip flops in your desk, and change into them every day. You must remember to bring them home occasionally to wash them. Most people don’t like stinky people. Put a space heater in your cubicle. If this makes you sweat too much, than I would advise against it, or at least advise you to bring the clothes home for a wash more frequently. Bring a boombox armed with reggae tapes and carry it with you at all times, even in meetings - especially in meetings. Tell people that you hope that they like jamming too. Every day, bring a container of sand, and dump it on your cubicle floor, slowly creating yourself a beach at the office. Be sure to leave a note for the cleaning crew ordering them not to vacuum up the sand. For your lunches, only eat spicy Mexican food. This will simulate warmer climates and sunshine inside your body and also help you to take sick days more honestly, by increasing your diarrhea frequency.

All of these techniques may lead to the unexpected and early termination of your employment. Don't worry. This in turn, will enable you to enjoy more sunlight time. If you start looking for work elsewhere, remember to job hunt in the dark night hours. The contacted employers will be gone for the day, allowing you to leave messages instead of talking directly to them, and you will definitely look like a real go-getter when they see that you called in the middle of the night. Mention your desired work hours, but wait until the interview to bring up your religion or Vampirism. If, however, you fail to snag a job that suits you and your desired schedule, and you eventually have become accustomed to being home during the day, then switch the focus of your job search to some of the options listed above.

If all else fails, move back in with your parents, and tell them it’s entirely their fault. They’ll love hearing that, and you can enjoy free food and sunshine. If this is not an option, then begin crashing on a friend or relative’s couch after your eventual eviction. Assure them that it’s just until you get back on your feet, sometime well after the spring equinox, of course.

In conclusion, Winter sucks the bag, and I hate the Winter Blues.

That’s it. Let the sunshine in.

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