Posted by: thedirtybaker | June 13, 2011

Nocturnal Lemurs

I’m not a morning person.  Most of my friends realize this.  It was fine at the first dig that I worked on, where we were woken up at 7, had breakfast, lectures, pottery washing, free time, and then lunch before digging from 12-8 (and many of us ran the 5k back to the dig camp).  Most digs, however, run on the opposite schedule, with digging first thing in the morning (before I consider it to be morning), and find-processing/

Sunset over the Mediterranean. Not sunrise - that would be over land.

lectures in the afternoons and evenings.  I have never been able to get enough sleep on that schedule, because I can’t go to sleep at 9 pm, no matter how tired I am (well, except for jet lag days).

So here I am, working for an excavation, but as a specialist.  I’m not in the field, just working with materials that they excavated in previous years.  I’m staying in a room above the lab (which is mostly a residence but with a computer lab, a big table, and a little bit of scientific equipment), so I am not being woken up at 4:30 (alhamdullah!) like everyone in the hotel.  I don’t have to keep their schedule, and I don’t pretend that I am. I run in the morning, and might not start working until 11 am, but then I work most nights until after midnight.  Not a big deal – it’s still a respectable workday.

However….. I suspect that I look like a slacker to the other people here.  Back on that first dig, the woman who woke us up and ran the camp operations thought I was lazy because I didn’t bounce out of bed at the 7 a.m. wakeup.  It was only when I stayed after the rest of the student volunteers to help pack everything up for transportation/ storage that she  realized that I work hard, and I really am just not a morning person.  And she told others about her concern that I was lazy.  And therein lies the real problem.  This field is godawful gossipy. (In that case, she also apologized to me and made sure to tell everyone to whom she’d voiced her concerns,  that I was a very hard worker.)

Not everyone is as conscientious about such corrections.  I’ve lived at a research institute where the director kept track of when people got up, how much time they spent working. I know he thought that I should get up earlier, though he also realized that I worked late, but only because he worked early, late, and everything in between, and stuck his head in the library at night.

The few people who are staying at the lab know that I work very late, but the majority of the crew goes back to the hotel by 7.  As far as they know, I might be doing only 8 hours of work in per day, which is nothing for an excavation season.  Perhaps the wiser choice would be to shift my schedule to a morning one, but I’d have to give up running to do so, and that’s a worse choice.  I’m a nicer person when I run.  And honestly, I get more done after everyone’s gone to the hotel or to their rooms, and I’m less distracted.

So I find myself doing something I dislike having to do – mentioning in conversation how late I work.  Fortunately, as a specialist, my habits are less important that the chapter that I produce from the work (this is how the very nice but hygiene-challenged man has worked here for years, I assume).  In other words, I’d better make it damn good.

That way I can get more gigs like this, and get asked back.  Rumor has it that there are some nice pieces of jewelry from some other periods here, too…..  (And we’re back to gossip – but the good kind this time!).  And on that note, back to work!



  1. Have you met Scott Zorn? You just described him to a “T.” Don’t worry…really you are not alone….just in your small circle for the moment. You do your thing, girlfriend, because it works for you, and that is all that matters!

  2. I was never and morning person, and still am not. However, since my childre are both early risers I have learned to go to be early. In fact, sometimes I fall asleep as I tell them bedtime stories. Someday I hope to get back to a schedule that I like. I say do what works for you. 🙂

  3. Hey Abby…I just got nominated for the versatile blogger award. I’m not sure if it’s real or not, but it seems like a good way to get to know other bloggers. So, I’d like to nominate you, too. Here are the rules…

    1. Thank the person who awarded you and link back to them in your post.
    2. Tell 7 Random facts about yourself.
    3. Pass the award on to 7 new found (or old favorite) bloggers.
    4. Contact each blogger you want to pass the award on to and let them know you’ve done so, and let the giver of your award know you accept it… or not.

    Hope you can do it…I’m working on it right now, so you can check out my post about it in a little bit. Fun to cheerlead for you!

    • Thanks for thinking of me, but this sounds too much like a chain letter…

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