Too Tired

Long time tiredness is not good. Unfortunately, it's also almost a way of life. I can't really remember not being tired. I am either tired, or very tired. I walk to work each day and meet a woman coming home from work. In the afternoon we often meet going the other way! Yet this is Australia, "the land of the long weekend!" We have a public holiday celebrating workers' rights. It used to be called Eight Hours Day. Now in Australia we work longer hours than any country but one. 

It's 5.30pm, and I plan to be here at this client's for at least another hour, plus the taxi to the train and then the walk home in the dark. Last week I was here all night and got home at 2.30 the next afternoon.

Other people don't have jobs while the boss and I get sick from working too hard. Relationships break up from the stress. Corey next door with his new house, of which he is so proud, works permanent night shift and is too tired to finish the yard. He lives among the weeds. The retirees at church don't get why the workers don't want meetings on public holiday nights. They also seem unable to grasp that finishing a meeting at 11pm for someone who hasn't been home yet, and must be up before 6 is not helpful! They criticise the exhausted young who are trying to keep the weeds at bay.

Being tired means I can't be blowed reading a book; even one by a favourite author. I don't have the energy to finish the next old computer to give away. Kids coming up to the bedroom are a nuisance, not a delight. I don't have the energy to write to the Prime Minister about his latest vote getting scam. My creativity is drained and my perceptions are blunted.

These last two show some of the most dangerous hidden costs of tiredness. We become too tired for our civic duty. We let things go. Cranky with those around us because we are tired, we are too tired to be outraged. Or too tired to notice what is happening. 

"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," we were told as children. The dullness insulates us from the needs of our children and the love of our wives. It makes us more traditional men- silent, morose, unable to feel. We don't need encouragement for these traits! In the end we drift from manhood toward an automatonic existence- going through the motions, slowly being drained of the spark of life. We descend to a prole-ish languor.  Long time too tired is an attack on our freedom to be human.

(June 2004)

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