Sunday, July 14, 2013

Stream of (Total) Consciousness: 7/14/13

I woke up at 5 a.m. this morning. Like most everybody, my tolerance for getting up early has increased with age, though when I was younger, I couldn’t imagine that ever happening. I’d hear about people rising at the crack of dawn—and acting as if it was normal—and it simply didn’t compute. I hated those people and their attack-the-day mentality, and I never wanted to be one of them.

Yet sure enough, here we are. My tolerance hasn’t grown out of ambition or wanting to be up at and at ‘em, though; it’s come from necessity. With every successive job I’ve held, the alarm on my phone has gotten pushed earlier and earlier. Eight a.m. became 7:30 a.m. became 6:15 a.m.—as the college student in me slowly met his demise. Each time there was an adjustment period, but each time I made it through. The good thing is that it’s made certain situations easier to deal with. Early flights, early tee times…they’re not as intimidating or debilitating as they once were.

But early wake-up calls to go try and get a caddying job? No such luck. Five a.m. is freakin’ early. It’s mess-with-your-REM-cycle early. What’s funny, though, is that, armed with my built-up tolerance, I had a false sense of confidence, convinced it wasn’t going to be that bad. Then I started doing the math: to get eight hours of sleep, I’d have to be in bed by 9pm. The sun doesn’t even set here until at least 9:04 p.m. If I went to bed at my normal time around 11 p.m., I’d get six. And when you factor in all the instances I’d wake up in a panic, worried about how much time I had left, I’d get even less. All of this made my head hurt, and before I knew it, it was 10:30 p.m., and I was still sorting through pointless message board threads about Texas football.

T-minus 6 ½ hours and counting.

To the surprise of nobody (and by nobody, I mean me), I was in a world of hurt this morning. Not helping matters was the frozen tundra that awaited me just on the other side of my comforter. Cold tile floors and should-I-go-or-shouldn’t-I-go bathroom deliberations over the years have taught me that the biggest obstacle to sliding out from under the covers is the goose-bump-inducing chill. Getting up when you’re still tired is uncomfortable, but getting up when you’re tired AND cold…well, that’s just inhumane. It’s tough, because I love the room to be cold when I go to sleep, but I’d much rather it be warm when I get up. I’ve been using a space heater to achieve ideal waking conditions, but once my parents saw it when they were here, they insisted that it was too much of a fire hazard, and that was the end of that.

So my day got off to a rough start, and everything since has been anything but enjoyable. Whenever I get up at an out-of-the-ordinary time, that’s what my entire world becomes about. It’s all I can think about, and it’s the underlying theme of my whole day. The countdown clock to when I can next be in bed never stops ticking. And at the course, I eventually reached the point where I was hoping that I didn’t get assigned a job, so that I could go home and take a nap.

Fortunately (or unfortunately? Yeah, unfortunately), not getting a job has not been a problem to this point, as I’ve done an awful lot of sitting since I’ve been here. Had my father not come when he did and given me work, I’d probably have an impressive streak of consecutive days of DNP-CD (Did Not Play; Coach’s Decision).

I actually did know there’d be lulls in available bags like this before I ever came out here. I was told that there was no guaranteed workload, that there would be weeks when I went out twice, and others when I went out every day. That’s just kind of how it is. But I also knew that they’d been running this caddy program here for a long time, and I trusted that they wouldn’t have accepted my application if they didn’t really need me. In fact, when I first contacted the Caddy Master back in January, I was told they were full. I let a couple of months pass and then contacted him again, at which point I was told they were taking on new caddies. My assumption—and I feel it’s a logical one—was that they had an increase in player reservations, and thus, needed to increase their pool of loopers. 

But it’s been awfully slow to this point. I keep hearing that it’s going to pick up, but when that’s supposed to happen continues to get pushed back. First it was after the fourth of July. Now it’s the latter part of the month. And for someone who is here for such a finite period of time, it’s definitely cause for concern.

As far as I can tell, caddies are assigned by seniority. The guys who have been around for years are scheduled in advance; they show up each day knowing exactly when they’re going out. Anyone who is not assigned beforehand can show up and wait for a new bag to surface. These caddies are “free agents.” And even within the free agent ranks, seniority still appears to apply. So if a guy has worked for multiple seasons shows up as a free agent one morning, he jumps ahead of all the other caddies he outranks, no matter how long those other caddies have been waiting that day.

This arrangement is obviously not favorable for somebody like me, somebody with zero seniority and minimal experience, leaving me to ride the pine and stockpile splinters. My only hope is that I can get to the course early enough, ahead of the other newbies, so that when an available bag does make it down to the lower portion of the totem pole, the powers-that-be have nobody else to give it to but me.

Hello, 5 a.m. wakeup.

Thankfully, they do make it comfortable for you while you wait, though. There are big screen TVs, a counter that serves discounted food, and a putting green where you can practice to pass the time. There’s even plenty of comfortable seating, and a lot of guys are able to lay back, prop their feet up, and catch up on their rest. But given my sleep apnea and accompanying snoring, that’s not really an option for me.

After all, I don’t have a nickname yet, and I don’t want to take any chances.  

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"It's not a lie, if you believe it." Those were the words of one of my generation's great sages, George Costanza, and the more of life I experience, the truer they ring. And while I still haven't found what I'm looking for, the search for my own personal "truths" is never-ending. Care to come along for the ride?