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Bravo: My November Week In May
The night is eerily quiet; am I really hearing suspect sounds or just imagining the footsteps outside? Harties is strangely silent in the early morning hours; you can hear a pin drop if you’re outside...
The responsibility of being the Bravo November night shift Controller for the week is pressing hard on my consciousness. I find myself acutely aware of every sound outside and probably imagining some. The little nagging voice in my brain is telling me not to sleep as I might miss a desperate call on the SOS phone or not hear the radio (so I’ve got them both on maximum volume, just in case), and I jump with fright when some innocent ‘idiot’ accidently presses their radio call button at 3 in the morning! It’s a really shitty crackling sound!
Doing the night shift is no easy task as I’m not aware of my own sleeping patterns. As a bachelor, I don’t know how deep I sleep or even if I do sleep properly at all? So I make myself a cup of strong black coffee and the taste is truly invigorating.
During these lonely night hours, time suddenly moves slower than I am accustomed to and I find myself constantly looking at my clock radio realizing hour after hour passes without any sense of real intervals. I take my customary stroll outside; remembering to take the emergency phone and backup radio together with my torch. It’s noticeably colder and I’m hearing everything, every sound. The bushbabies make their usual fleeting early morning visit and as usual they won’t stick around long enough for me to go back inside and grab my camera.
I walk up to the palisade fence, switch on my torch and sweep the street knowing I won’t see anything suspect (again). The humming in my ears move with my head and I realize it’s emanating from the south of Ifafi. My mind tells me the mechanical hum drifting over the air is coming from NECSA’s side… it’s like a monotonous low frequency pitch and it doesn’t sound ‘healthy’ to me. Is there a problem at the nuclear facility or am I just being paranoid?
Harties is extremely quiet 3 o’clock in the mornings, but there’s always a dog barking persistently somewhere and always a car racing through Harties streets.
I go back inside, lock my door, switch off the backup radio and double check the radio connected to the external antenna at my bedside… all okay.
This has been my nightly routine the past week and honestly I can’t tell you how I slept or even how long I slept each night. I catch up on sleep when the sun is out and extremely grateful that I have a Bravo day buddy that stands in for me while I pass out. This got me thinking; some Bravo members do this alone! And it’s voluntary…
My body clock used to be confused before, but now I think it’s broken? Then comes 7 o’clock at night and I start to get ready for the next night, next register call, next sleep issue but with a sense of pride and accomplishment. I am helping my community; our people are sleeping easier ‘cause they know Bravo November is just a call away.
So for all our brave voluntary Bravo Control Members… I salute you all; day and night!
So, will I do it again? Yes of course; it’s for our people and keeping us all safer!