I went in early with bagels and coffee for the night shift two weeks ago. I was designated - other people brought other things later. Despite my distaste for getting up early, I was looking forward to the chance to talk a bit with this crew. I worked the overnight shift years ago and still feel some identification with them, decades later.
I recognised immediately the aloofness and the distance, however. It was a social smell I had not sniffed in years but I knew it as soon as I opened the door, even bearing gifts. You're a Daywalker. We don't need you. We're fine just by ourselves, thanks. No we don't want your bagels. Those are Day Bagels.
They weren't in the least rude. I could have pushed the issue, and with some energy and skill gotten some grudging acceptance, I suppose. Yet that seemed intrusive. I stood aside and busied myself with useless things nearby. I caught their conversation, and that also had threads I had not followed for many years now, but still recognised immediately. There are folks who prefer 11-7 for social reasons.
I recall having a wonderful 3AM conversation with an attorney who no one hired (maybe alcohol, maybe appearance, maybe social skills - dunno) and a rather irritable lesbian who was trying to get an antiques business off the ground. Y'know, the usual conversation about Sonny & Cher, hitchhiking near Baltimore, Subaru commercials - and I reflected how one of the great benefits of the graveyard shift was all the great conversations one had. They both got kind of quiet, and Bill smiled wryly. "Only on the units you work. It's pretty quiet everywhere else."
I couldn't read whether that meant "This is mildly entertaining in small doses, but shut up," or "We're really grateful there's someone here to talk to."
And in a few months I was gone. When I would chance to see them, I could tell I had become a Daywalker to them.