Kickin’ It Old (Night) School
2017-09-23 23:16:52.000 – Mike Carmon, Senior Meteorologist & Education Specialist
With our usual night observer, Caleb Meute, off shift for a few days during the middle of the shift, our crew decided to have someone else cover the night shift for the entire week-long stint. As one can imagine, having one individual switch from the day shift to the night shift then back to the day shift over the course of eight days would be a little tricky and likely throw the body off-kilter as well as wreak havoc with the mind and the mood. As a result, I volunteered (as tribute) to work the night shift for the week.
This is a major throwback for me, as this is how my career began with the Observatory! For my first four years as a summit observer, nighttime was my time! Although I never got used to the distinct zombie feeling that I could never seem to shake, I certainly became comfortable with the quiet Mount Washington nights. The dulcet sounds of our server room fans consistently running are the extent of the background noise, and the one and only companion in the office is the summit cat Marty, napping the evening away with a soft purr and the occasional kitty stretch. While I try to cozy up to Marty and play with him a bit, I am fairly confident he sees me as a bit of a nudnik interfering with his sleepy time.
The only nighttime companion: Mr. Marty himself!
Being back behind the wheel during the nighttime hours has been a fun experience so far this week. Hearing tales of the hustle-and-bustle goings-on of the day upon awakening during the mid-afternoon hours makes me grateful for the distinct comity that the night shift brings with it. It is a completely unique atmosphere on Mount Washington’s summit while the world sleeps, and it’s an experience that I’m lucky to have experienced for my first four years as a summit observer.
Sunset comes first while working the night shift.
The zombie effect, however, is one blast from the past that I do not miss. Although the body adjusts, I do recall this distinct feeling that one never feels quite normal sleeping with the sun up and keeping watch through the moon’s time. When Wednesday comes around, I’ll be ready to shake that zombie feeling in true Rick Grimes fashion, and get back to the world of the living.
In the meantime, however, with the second half of the week I have left to go, I will enjoy the planetarium of stars splattered across the skies, the peace of the void, and the thrill of walking headlong into the darkness to perform our vital weather observations.
Mike Carmon, Senior Meteorologist & Education Specialist