punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

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To sleep, perchance to dream...

I once went to a sci-fi con, and didn't sleep for 3 days straight. It wasn't my fault, really. It was during a disastrous (logistically) convention where the head of security went mental, and I didn't have the cajones to tell them, "Fuck off, I am going to bed," because I was a late teen and intimidated by authority.

The details are blurry, but here's what I remember: Last good sleep I got was Thursday morning. It was New Year's Eve, and in addition to panels, I was also doing security. Unexpectedly (a mistake in retrospect), half the con showed Thursday night because it was New Year's Eve, duh. Security wasn't even set up yet, but I guarded the elevators by the bar, and dealt with drunk mundanes until about 2am, when I was relieved. I got about 4 hours sleep before I had to get up again because the staff sleep room got too noisy with hustle and bustle. I did some panels, and then started a security shift in the late afternoon. The shift lasted until 1am, and then my relief didn't show, so I did two more shifts until am Saturday morning. I tried to go to bed, but the staff room was stacked like cordwood, and there was this fat smelly guy snoring loudly anyway. Then I had programming in a few hours, so I just did that. Then the head of security went nuts, was "retired" by the head of the convention, and so anyone who knew anything about security was called in to try and assess the mess he left behind. By Sunday morning, I had been up since I woke up early Friday morning. I had done a 16 hour shift that night/morning, I was patrolling floors 1-10, but no one really knew because the head of security had notes no one could understand. He was retired, BTW, because he didn't sleep, at all, since Thursday.

Apparently, during this shift, one of my friends went "missing," and her dad freaked out about it, and everyone was searching for me to find her. Even though I called into security central every 15 minutes or so to check in as "all clear," the people who said, "Okay, do another round," didn't seem to be speaking with the people going, "Find Punkie! wombat1138's dad is freaking out!" That's how bad security communication got. Oh, and it turned out wombat1138 was at home the whole time, in her bedroom, and her dad never checked. [Insert sound of trumpet going "bwamp bwamp"]

So, there I was, at security central at 1pm on a Sunday, weaving and bobbing about. Since half of security was also doing this, and for the same reason, I didn't stand out. There was a guy, fuzzface00 who was so sleepy, he was wandering around barefoot, shoving his sneakers into people's faces, going, "Do these smell?? I think they smell..." He also told an ex-girlfriend she looked terrible in spandex. That's when he was sent to bed by his current girlfriend. Then webqatch was passing around "atomic tea," which I don't have the time to explain, but let's just say it was a restaurant pitcher with 100 bags of tea's worth of... concentrated tea. It was kind of thick, with the viscosity of motor oil. I drank about 4 "glugs" from the pitcher until webqatch grabbed it from me, going, "Woah, WOAH! I said SIP!" It perked me right up!

Then the co-chair of the convention did "security sweeps" or people who hadn't slept. I was WIDE AWAKE thanks to the atomic tea. And probably totally incoherent. I was sent to bed around 6pm, and pretended to sleep until I peed out the tea, and crashed around 10.

When I woke up at 8am the next morning, I was not happy. I had to leave to go to work. I was 19-20 at the time, and could take this kind of abuse. Now I am 36, out of shape, and been up... let's see, shall we?

Fast forward my flashback machine to last Thursday. I can't really tally the hours so well, because my ability to do math has been greatly reduced, and the sleep times do not coordinate with day or night. I will try my best...

Thu/Fri - 6 hours of sleep
Fri/Sat - 4 hours of sleep
Sun/Sun - 12 hours of sleep, in 4 hour bursts during the day
Sun/Mon - 2 hours sleep

I had to get up and go to work, because I had a meeting at Dulles at noon, and I had to prepare for it. That meeting ran long, I missed another, and got a cab ride home. Then I slept for about another 2 hours so far, and got paged twice. The first was a page to say I have a 4am install tomorrow morning. The second was a page to say, "AAAGHHHH! My stuff is broke!" from our International. I was in on a call while writing this, and it was just resolved as, "Script has wrong password, they change every 60 days, you ninny..."

I pray I don't get paged the rest of tonight. Please. I have to be up at 4am.

Gahhh... I just got paged! No, really, I did! [sendmail.cf-looking swear words]
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