The great Ronald Reagan said he heard that hard work never killed anybody, but that he wasn’t taking any chances. Reagan was expressing in his amiable way a truth that anybody who studies work knows. After working a while, your efficiency drops. You face diminishing returns. My guess is that something around nine hours is good. You can and sometimes must work longer hours needs be, but it is unsustainable. Workaholics should get a life.
Around here this wisdom does not apply. Even if you didn’t want to work, there is just no place to go or anything else to do. You see my “can” in the picture. I am lucky enough to have an end unit, but it is not a place to relax. My view consists of the latrines and a big tank that says “non-potable”.
I have started to run again and I can go outside the gate, but there is not much to see. I have found a few lonely eucalyptus trees. I try to run by them more than once. I also have a Eucalyptus tree near my office. Birds have returned to it in the last couple of days and they are active at dawn and dusk. (During the day, during the summer, Icarus like, they might just catch fire in the hot sun.) There is just no reason to go home. So we don’t. You can find people at work anytime. You can schedule meetings for Sunday morning or Saturday night secure in the belief that people will show up and probably be grateful for the diversion. The office is nicer than the can.
The Marines have a ferocious work ethic and an unrelenting positive attitude. I do not think they need to sleep at all. The Colonel is working when I get here in the morning at around 8. Last night I left the office at 11:45 (2345 to them) and most people were still at work just like they were the rest of the day.
Nighttime is just a brief interlude, just a time to sleep. Not a time to go home.
Adapting, I am. I have carved out time for running and time for blogging. I am going to carve out time for reading books. I am desperately seeking a routine. When I get one, I figure I will be less inclined to gripe. Today I went out and sat under one of my eucalyptus trees, across from the portable toilets to enjoy my moment of Zen. As I let the rest of the world go by – trucks, helicopters and men going into the green plastic outhouses* – onto my I-pod came “Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini” by Rachmaninoff. If you saw the movie “Groundhog Day” you know this music. It is a calm and urbane. The soundtrack did not go with this particular scene, but my experience here is reminiscent of the “Groundhog Day” theme.
* I have learned that the best time to use the green port-a-potties is around 10 am. The cleaning crew comes out and washes them down, so you get that daisy fresh atmosphere. Of course, after dark is also a desirable time, since what you cannot see bothers you less.