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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder

Nite Owls

Everyone seems to be OK with me working nights.
For one thing, I don't have any trouble putting in more hours this way.

Michael David Crawford, Baritone,

February 5, 2007

Copyright © 2007 Michael David Crawford. All Rights Reserved.

It's five after one in the morning as I write this. I'm using the free wireless at the Robson and Burrard Blenz Coffee in Vancouver. I come here often late at night. Several times I've stayed here the whole night.

There are only a few other customers here. A couple of them are braving the chill fog so they can sit outside, I guess so they can smoke cigarrettes.

I didn't get out of bed today until a little after four in the afternoon, and only then to go to my piano lesson. I had planned to go to work right afterwards, but decided to go back home to practice in preparation for tomorrow night's open mic.

After I drink my coffee I'll walk down to Gastown to work. When morning comes I'll ride the train home to sleep.

Everyone seems to be OK with me working nights. For one thing, I don't have any trouble putting in more hours this way.

The same guy is here working the counter on graveyard by himself as was here my first week in town. The first time I saw him he asked us all to sit at the tables outside while he cleaned the interior, then let us back in.

A fellow nite owl I guess.

This cafe is where I came my first night in Vancouver, looking for wireless Internet. I didn't know anybody in this town then, and felt more than a little afraid of how my new life might turn out. Now I'm friends with most of the staff here. Vancouver has become a familiar place to me.

I had a good practice tonight, but it tired me out. I didn't feel I could go to work. I had some time before the trains stopped running, so I lay on my back on my bed, looking up now and then to check the clock. At twelve-thirty I took the train downtown.

I came very close to falling asleep. I considered just sleeping through the night, and setting my alarm to get up in the morning. But I decided I couldn't do that - I couldn't really guarantee I'd make it to work in the morning.

What's more important is that I'm working on some critical bugs, and I work best at night. I had great success fixing an "un-fixable" bug after I told a project manager that debugging was what I did best, so now I'm after the bugs for a second project.

There is a fellow sitting at the end of the counter here who didn't buy anything when he came in. He's just sitting there. Homeless I guess, looking for a warmer, happier place to spend the night than out in the fog. The guy working the counter doesn't seem to mind.

I just bought a second coffee.

My forearms feel weak. While I practiced heavily this evening, I don't think it's from that. Yesterday afternoon I bought a GigSkinz GSK8 keyboard bag for my M-Audio ProKeys 88sx.

M-Audio ProKeys 88sx Lightweight Stage Piano

Even though the 88sx is one of the lightest pro keyboards made, the combined weight of it and the bag strained my right wrist carrying it from the SkyTrain station to the club, and from there to the bus stop to go home (the trains had stopped running by then). It has wheels on one end, which do help, but it was still heavy.

In my left hand I carried my keyboard stand. Most keyboard players use "X" shaped stands but I tried one and found it wobbled excessively. I returned it and got a collapsible four-legged stand. It is quite heavy.

I think the fact that I had tired my wrists and hands carrying my gear contributed to my poor performance last night.

Maybe someday I can afford to have roadies. Maybe someday I can afford to buy a car - Bonita has ours back east.

I think the best I can do for now is to buy some dumbbells and work out my arms until they are strong enough to tote my gear.

Some of the other musicians last night came to introduce themselves when they saw me come in with my keyboard. I introduced myself, shook their hands, and gave them each a handbill and said they could download my music. "I gotta do that with mine," said one. "Email me and I'll give you some tips," I replied.

Mike and Brad

When the club closed last night, it was still early enough to catch the 19 Metrotown bus to go home. But the stop was at Granville and Pender, farther then the stop for the N19 night bus I had planned to catch.

I felt pretty self-conscious carrying my gear down the deserted Granville Street - I feared I might get jumped. But there was no one at all on the street, or at the stop.

I was glad to get on the bus. The driver saw my big keyboard bag and said "Be careful with that, keep it out of the aisle."

"I'll sit in the back," I replied.

At the next stop some very loud guys got on the bus. Oh yeah, the bars all just closed.

Two guys sat behind me, and one on the seat across from me. Two of them were telling the third about how he could get work as a day laborer even though he didn't have any ID or a Social Insurance Number. "They'll pay you a hundred bucks a day," they said, "all you got to do is work."

After just a couple stops the guy they were berating got off the bus. The driver called back to say that was a good way to chase someone off a bus, and said he'd give it a try sometime.

I tried to mind my own business until one of them said something I found funny. They caught me smiling, and that made them laugh.

I held out my hand. "Mike," I said. "Brad," said one, and the other: "I'm Mike too."

They were a couple of fine young fellows, despite being quite drunk. They chatted with me all the way to my stop at Kingsway and Joyce. I gave them each handbills; they said they'd download my music.

I was very hungry but had no food at my apartment - I'd completely forgotten to buy any groceries. But there was a 7-Eleven by the bus stop, open twenty-four hours. I went in, set my gear down out of the way then poured a Coke Slurpee.

Slurpees! They don't have 7-Elevens in Nova Scotia. It had been a long time since I had a Slurpee.

"Give me a corn dog and six wedges," I said to the cashier. "Spicy or regular," he asked. "Spicy."

I stood right there in the store to eat my food and drink my Slurpee. Then I picked up my gear to walk down Joyce Street, past the SkyTrain station, to home, to bed and to sleep.

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