I dedicate this blog to Jim Meech, former colleague and talented CNN nightshift live truck field logistics engineer dude, who’s up all night, tonight.
I have no idea what woke me up at 2:03 this morning and I’m too tired to think about it.
Actually, I’m not even sure I ever really fell asleep. I think I did. Maybe.
If I was paid for every time I woke up in the middle of the night, I’d be retired on Sanibel Island with a frothy fruity drink in my hand next to him.
The dark of the night is old familiar to me, stemming back to my first shift in television news as an overnight producer for WKTV (NBC) in Utica before being picked up just six months later by WTVH (CBS) in Syracuse for my second overnight shift. I was 37, when most women are in their prime, and heading into the newsroom at 11 p.m. It was odd, but it wasn’t so bad, especially because I was able to learn the business from the best producer in the world, Gregg Millett, who is now in L.A. Gregg taught me how to be a solid writer. You don’t forget those people.
I also worked with a rising reporter and anchor who’d been in the Channel 5 newsroom since his teens, David Muir, who since has reached rock star status at ABC. I’m not even sure he’d remember my name. Well, he’s so nice, he probably would.
Just as David and his photographer would return from their 11 p.m. live hit, I would waltz into 980 James Street in Syracuse ready to prepare for a long night of producing three newscasts, which I’d then co-anchor from 5-8 a.m., Monday through Friday. Even back then, David was a consummate professional, always putting together a ‘look live’ for the morning show. A ‘look live’ is a story a reporter tells where the audience believes the reporter is live, when really the story is to tape. I was always impressed that David would put the stories together for the morning show without anyone ever asking or expecting him to do so. It is a good deal of extra work at the end of the day, especially after a long day.
But David just did it.
After his story was done, he’d sit at an edit bay and study his performance from the night… over and over again. I never really understood why he did that back then, and I didn’t really have time to ask. He’d often sit there until midnight or later studying camera angles, his lines, his delivery. Before he’d leave, he’d always ask if I needed anything else. Can you imagine that? Hardly anyone does that these days.
So I consider it an honor to watch my former colleague, David Muir, on ABC World News Tonight and 20/20. He’s about as big as it gets in the TV news business.
And for the record, David is as handsome, as he is nice, as he is real, as he is smart, as he is talented, as he is cool.
Speaking of cool, the only way I could work the night shift starting out in the TV news business later in life as a single mom with two young teens, was to be creative. Raising kids and being creative are two things that come naturally to me. Soooo, I gleefully arranged a deal with a with a totally cool college student, Brandy Hammer, who was a student at Utica College of Syracuse University. Brandy stayed at my house overnight while I went to work. She’d get up in the morning and make sure the kids got off to school. They’d sleep while I worked. I’d sleep while they were in school. The kids loved her and she loved them. I think I made her meals and gave her gas money. Anyway, I know I paid her because we’re still friends today.
So as I sit here mindless at 3:02 a.m. now, I know I’m in good company with the dedicated night shifters of America, including television producers and directors, doctors, nurses, firemen, policemen, gas station cashiers, Wegmans grocery clerks (love you all, MUAH!), donut making experts, drive-thru crews and, of course, we can’t forget bar tenders closing up shop. Boy, how much have they helped all of us crying over spilled…..problems?
On a continued bright note, Brits are heading to work.
Thiruvananthapurams in India are having an afternoon snack.
And people in Tokyo are just about ready to close shop.
Unfortunately, I’m also in not-so-good company with the other 50-70 million Americans who wake up in the middle of the night, every night, and can’t fall back asleep. Some have insomnia, some have babies, some have indigestion, some have regret, some have guilt, some have worry – and the rest of us have no clue.
That’s me. Clueless.
Pets and bugs have insomnia.
Insomnia can be heredity.
If you can’t sleep 3 times a week or more, you’ve got a medical sleep condition.
Social jet leg can cause it. Thanks a lot Mark Zuckerberg. Bet you’re sound asleep getting ready for your big massage tomorrow on your yacht.
Hormones can cause it.
And insomnia can kill you. It’s rare, but it can happen. In fact, it just did, to that British intern in London who died after working three or four nights in a row trying to prove his worthiness. Not worth much now, unfortunately.
Insomnia is expensive too, costing American businesses about $63 billion dollars in lost productivity. (Yikes. I hope my boss isn’t reading this.)
So to help myself fall asleep, I’ve thought of 10 things to do – that you never have time to do, but really should do – while you’re passing the time watching the clock pass the time as you count down how many hours of sleep you’re NOT getting so you can figure out how many hours of sleep you have left to hopefully…sleep.
10. Think about that last sentence and decide for yourself if it makes any sense. At all.
9. Write an essay to the following…”If a man speaks, and a woman is not present, is he still…wrong?”
8. Clean the dirt off the ceiling fans.
7. Write a handwritten note to mom thanking her for her sacrifices. I guarantee there were many and she’ll appreciate it.
6. Consider a note to your own kid explaining how if Miley Cyrus listened to her parents she’d have more hair, more clothes and less limp tongue.
5. Brief a note to God thanking him for another day – even if it started God awfully early.
4. Handwash that clothing item your spouse keeps meaning to get to. IN COLD. (Brownie points!!)
3. Get your Fantasy Football picks in order.
2. Create a bucket list.
1. Write a blog, cuz right now…