But you can learn something from almost any situation. One of the most rewarding elements of working a dead end job in the middle of the night for almost no money is that you have time to think. And I’ve been doing a lot of thinking.
The more time I spend there, the more I find I overcome my own prejudice. I think subconsciously, and much against my own desire, I’ve always thought that working graveyard was one of the worst places to end up in your life; a trap; a no man’s land.
And that is what it is, for many people there. A gap in between their past, and an unknown future. No one expects to spend their life there, day after day, but, inevitably, some will. Going into it, I think I thought that there would a type of person that worked there. A singular type – someone with no skills and no hope and no inspiration. I couldn’t have been more wrong. There is a wider and more far reaching range of characters there than you would find in most jobs. People are there for many different reasons. And for all of us, it feels temporary.
Take my colleage Tracy. She is probably close to thirty years my senior. She has no education and has worked there for two years. She refuses to watch the news because she thinks it’s depressing. She sings loudly to Asda FM. She wants to get the hell out of there. Will she ever? I don’t know. But she is also one of the funniest people I have ever met, a natural rebel, and speaks her mind with intelligence and gusto. She has qualities that will be wasted stacking shelves for the rest of her life.
But somewhere inside her, I think there is a fear of leaving. It’s comfortable and easy and after time, complacency sets in. If we challenge ourselves to do something more, there is always that feeling of “will I be good enough?” and that inevitable fear that what we always dreamed of doing won’t stand up to our expectations.
So we end up living for tomorrow, continually hoping something will change. In a way, I think that’s reflective of life as a whole, and everything in life. We are dreamers and realists, all of us. What we never realise is the extent of the gap between our dreams and our reality. Politicians spend their lives attempting to reconcile that gap. But war, revenge, disappointment, even honesty, are all spurned from it; they are reasons, above everything else, to keep on living, to keep on wishing; that gap, as big as a dark abyss once we know it is there, becomes the anger in us, becomes the strength to fight for the things we believe in.
At the end of the day, perhaps that’s the point. Our lives are the bridge between our hopes and our reality. We do our best to close the gap.