Friday, September 08, 2006

Bracing for the early morning brutality


This coming Monday and Tuesday, and then the same days two weeks later, I have to be at work by the ungodly hour of 4:00 a.m. I will be producing the newscasts on Ottawa's A-Channel Morning.

I FREAKIN' HATE THOSE EARLY HOURS! When I worked in radio, apart from a couple temporary fill-in stints, I succeeded in avoiding working early morning hours. Unfortunately, when I worked at CTV Newsnet, the bulk of my shifts started at 5:00 a.m., with a few starting at 4:00 and even a handful of 3:00 a.m. shifts. I am simply not a morning person. Besides, it is totally inhuman and unnatural to have to get up in the middle of the night to go to work. Most early-morning radio or TV people I have ever talked to actually thrive in those hours. And almost without exception, they can snooze in the afternoon, allowing them to have an evening social life, when everyone else is off work. I can't nap during the day, regardless of how early I'm awake. If I could, I could probably handle early starts.

I will admit, however, to being curious about what kind of freaks I'll encounter in the Byward Market at four o'clock in the morning. The Market is a fascinating place. When it gets dark at night, it takes on a totally different atmosphere from daylight hours. But the latest I've ever been there is around midnight, so it should be a treat to see what it's like a few hours later -- and when the moon is still close to full. If you don't believe that the full moon makes weird things happen and brings out the weirdos, you've never worked in a newsroom -- not to mention as a cop, paramedic, in a hospital or any other occupation that requires nighttime work.

For all its charm, the Byward Market can exhibit its gross-out factor any time of the day or night. For example, this morning, shortly before eight o'clock, the pigeon outside Minglewood's (a bar/restaurant -- or as they're known in Qu├ębec, resto-bar), pecking away at someone's puke. Mmmmmm... great way to start your day, even before your at-work breakfast of toast, peanut butter and jam, and coffee.

On a less disgusting note: The Major Bantam hockey team for which I'm trainer (all the players born in 1992) is in a tournament in Kanata (west-end Ottawa) this weekend. We've played two games so far, tying the first 1-1 and winning the second, 3-0. I'm finally getting to know the boys by name. They seem like a great bunch of kids, and show signs of being a formidable force on the ice.

One more thing: If you're ever in Kanata, drop in to Subway on Terry Fox Drive, in the Terry Fox Plaza. Just after our first game today, a strong thunderstorm rolled across Ottawa, knocking out electricity to much of the city. We had planned to take the boys to Subway anyway, because we didn't have much time between games, and didn't want them scarfing down McDonalds food (yuck! I'd rather pick at the pigeon's breakfast than eat that crap!). The young folks working at Subway didn't let a power outage get in the way of serving our team quite admirably. By the time they were done, they were running short of bread, but our boys were fed, and that's all we cared about. Nothing else in the neighbourhood could handle the lack of power -- including McDo and sorry, Ma, but even Timmy's. Another thing that impressed me was that the young guy manning the calculator and taking cash-only for the sandwiches actually knew how to make change, without a cash register! That's a rare quality these days.

Okay, fellow bloglodytes, that's all for now. Your comments are welcome, as usual.

BigBroBob out!

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