Writing Skills Feature Article Assignment


The weekends are long and ever so tiring. The work is monotonous and repetitive and I plod through it, leaving my brain outside the gate. At least that is the plan, but not thinking for too long is a difficult task, reserved only for those who have trained for years in a Tibetan monastery.

Security is the work, if it can be called that. Okay, I will use the word “work” very loosely from now on. Ten minutes of patrol time and then sit down for another hour. An hour spent staring at a gate that no one ever enters at the ungodly hour of 3 a.m. or any hour during a weekend nightshift.

Fridays are the worst. I think my week is over, but then I remember work. Oh no, there I’ve gone and used that word again. My whole body sinks into a different mode. Energy levels are just returning to normal again on Thursday and then Friday comes around once more. I wake up at 7.30 a.m. and it hits me. I will not see my bed again until 8.30 a.m. on Saturday morning. An ominous and gloomy feeling overcomes me. One part of my brain tells me not to go and the other part knows I am going anyway due of the realities of life and bills that keep coming.

I think I am going to sleep before my shift. I tell myself, “You are going to sleep!” Going to bed when it is still daylight outside is not easily done. There is too much light and too much noise. Kids playing, dogs barking, some neighbour arguing with another neighbour. I try to lie there and dull all of my senses. I want to surrender to sleep for just a few hours. It is a battle I rarely win. Sleep will not take me, so I get up and make some tea or study or perhaps even watch television. Whatever I do, it is much better than lying there with my mind racing and not sleeping. I will pay for it later though.

Time seems to hurtle towards the hour to leave for work. It is midnight on a Friday. Shouldn’t I be out on the town with the lads? Maybe I should be turning over in my sleep at that time. If I keep thinking like that it will not make my shift any easier.

11.30 p.m., it is time to leave. The uniform is on. I look like a cop, except for the cap, which is distinctly different. Walking to my car, some kids see me and start singing the theme from ‘The Full Monty’. I laugh, thinking to myself, “I wonder if the money’s any better?” Thirty minutes later that thought is forgotten, filed in some nether region of my brain as I leave it outside the gates I am entering.

It is dark, it is cold and it is late. I am the only person in the factory for the next eight hours. Well that is the plan. Any visitors are not welcome. They are unauthorised guests, who come over or under the fence and are out to ruin my night. Sometimes I pray that they will come just so I will have something to do. It would certainly make my night a lot more exciting, but in hindsight, the boredom is probably the best road to stay on. I did leave my brain outside the gate, after all.

Minute after minute, hour after hour, time seems to be moving at an ever-decreasing pace. I am tired and contemplating going to sleep. I fight it, but it is hard to do. My head begins to fall and I kick myself out of sleep mode numerous times. I must stay awake so I can do my job.

I clock in at three points as I do my security checks. It will be checked the next day to make sure I was “working” and not sleeping. I record my duties on the log sheet and note any discrepancies. A door unlocked that should not be, a padlock not secured properly and other such matters of security. Observe and report is my brief, so I stick to it. “Call only in case of extreme emergency”, is one of my boss’s much used phrases. I vary my routes throughout my shift, checking everything, but I am sure that I end up taking the same path many times.

Cameras watch me as I go about my duties. Big brother truly knows my every move, or at least the factory owner does. I ignore them, even though I always know that I am being watched. I try not to care and say they are there for the bad guys, but I

know they are keeping tabs on the security guards’ routines as well. Someone has to watch the watcher; it is the way of the world we live in now.

Morning time finally approaches and my shift is coming to an end. It is now 8 a.m. and I long for my bed so can catch up with the sleep I was fighting all night long. I hope that I find it because there is still Saturday night and yet another night of the same old routine to get through.

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