Actively comparing environments in which I have worked, I laughed out loud imagining inviting someone like Reggie Watts to perform for the corporate puppets. The polite smiling but not really understanding what’s going on. Corporate life provides its own brand of lunacy and crazy entertainment. We wouldn’t need a comedy genius like Watts, who would be misunderstood anyway. The average giant company is plump with self-congratulatory pomp and unintentional hilarity.
I don’t know if it was the initial intention when The Night Shift was launched (most shows take time to find their footing), but it has become a showcase for the different aspects and challenges of veterans’ lives as they return from war, whether it’s their access to healthcare, inability to get a job, PTSD or reintegrating and feeling “normal” again.
On the whole the show is a bit over-the-top, and I would not have bothered to watch except that I needed something as background noise during an intensive project. While I did not love the show or anything, I was struck by its intention to bring real heart to its telling of veterans’ stories….
It has been especially good at portraying the bond/camaraderie that cements these soldiers together when they come home – the struggle against their own pride and the feeling that you have lost everything and cannot (and would not know how to) ask for help. One guy discusses having been a leader of men when in the war in Afghanistan but coming home to be nothing – not being able to “find their way back” – and that is where I think the show does its best work. That said, it would be impossible for me – or anyone who has not served in the armed forces or in some other kind of conflict or crisis – to say whether or not this is an accurate representation. But it tries, and getting some visibility on some of the more invisible issues at hand cannot be a bad thing.
Even when some aspects of life are annoying as all hell, others can be remarkably satisfying. But these opposing forces balance each other out eventually. Remarkably good days followed by forgettably bad ones.
The last few months, I have run into or talked to people (former colleagues mostly) who really brightened my mood – both in the moments spent together (from a couple of random running into cool people in Oslo to a couple of phone calls) and in the days following. During the weekend I caught up with one such former colleague and it was refreshing.
During the earlier part of this week, someone working at a coffee place remembered my name even though I had not been in there for months, and when I said I was surprised, and that the girl must have a superb memory, she said, “But you’ve been here since the beginning! How could I not remember?” (We’ve never really talked, and I don’t know her name.) On my way to the coffee place, some weird ladies on the tram said to me, “You are very beautiful.” Well, they said it in Swedish, but I was sure that I misheard them because that seemed odd. But they repeated it in English, and as odd and out of nowhere as it was, it was nice. Random niceness, especially when I don’t feel beautiful.
Various other nice things happened during that evening, and I also got a lot done. Contentment.
But then the next day, literal stormy weather arrived. Self-congratulatory corporate BS reared its head. Traffic was a nightmare. And then my bank apparently had problems with all of the credit cards it has issued not working at all. I have no other cards or cash so was pretty much stuck without dinner or options. And, as the real and present “threat” of a former and acute problem coming back to haunt has reappeared, I also got to endure the lonely and internal freaking out about things over which I have absolutely no control. Non-contentment.