Friday, November 17, 2006

time dilation

I mentioned earlier that I hit the 40-hour mark this week on Tuesday at 5:30pm. I hit the 80-hour mark fifteen minutes ago, and by the end of the weekend I will have hit exactly 100 hours. If I followed union rules for overtime, I'd get paid 180 hours for this week. If there's some philosophical basis behind overtime pay, that means I've done an entire month's work this week. It's enough to make me wish I actually got paid overtime, instead of volunteering for that extra 60 hours. Heck, forget actual overtime pay -- this week, I'd be happy with an hourly rate for the post-salary hours.

I'm not only working a lot, I'm working hard. Moving heavy things, wiring, hanging artwork. I figure I've spent 30 hours this week in a lift, and another ten or fifteen climbing steel. I feel tired. And I feel silly saying this, but I think I might be getting too old for 100-hour weeks of hard labor.

I've noticed that I'm experiencing science-fiction time dilation. At this point, I have absolutely no sense of relative time. Tuesday I found myself telling a co-worker how much I enjoyed the Bill Lancton Quartet earlier in the week, and they reminded me that the show was only a few hours earlier the same day. That kind of thing has been happening all week. I was thinking just an hour ago about troubleshooting some wiring I had done earlier today, but when I actually thought back through the schedule I realized I did the wiring on Sunday. I keep trying to remember when things happened, and I have to do complicated scheduling math because my innate sense of timing is completely shot.

On the other hand, my brain isn't completely toasted; I've actually been pretty clever and creative when I'm exhausted this week. I've come up with a lot of highly original solutions to problems without any mental effort. With no research whatsoever, I'm going to guess that the part of your brain that gets tired isn't the part that does the creative thinking, but the part that watches and critiques the clever part. So being mentally wiped frees your mind for creative problem solving. I might have to remember this as a cure for writer's block someday.

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