Ask the Subjects :: Wake up!

How have your feelings towards the scientists tasked with waking you/preventing you from sleeping changed?

Is fatigue starting to override social niceties?

Sean the Bookonaut

Hi Sean! My feelings fluctuate pretty wildly. It helps that all of the scientists are lovely people. If they were more authoritarian it would be easier to resent them, but instead they say please and thank you and talk about how nice baby pandas are. In some ways this is worse, because they have a gentle firmness which lulls you into compliance, and then I am annoyed with myself for being so obedient. That dependence relationship makes us vulnerable. Before the last sleep period I was kept up after the others and was so tired and miserable, pacing to stay awake. The scientists are the ones who end our suffering, as well as our captors.

Jennifer Mills

I love the scientists. Partly by inclination, mostly because they’re all so patient and nice to us. And they bring us food. I’m pretty sure it’s not Stockholm Syndrome.

Speaking for myself, I came into this with a willingness to trust the people working here, and that’s a pretty good baseline to start off from. I’m here because I want to be, and so are they. We all love our jobs. There’s no conflict on that level.

That said, our jobs are different, and we Subjects (and perhaps the scientists too) do keep an informal league table of who is the meanest. “Meanest” being a deliberately provocative term for the person least likely to let us bend the rules a little. We are always wanting to hang out when we shouldn’t. We are always grizzling about the PVT. We are always wanting to work when we should be sleeping, or vice versa. We are always playing music when we testing begins. Someone has to make us do what we agreed to do when we signed up for this, and identifying those best at this task is important if we’re going to make any progress at bending the rules and getting away with it.

Choosing your battles, all that. There’s nothing to be gained by being mean. Also, they’re working on weird shifts too, so we figure they’re going through what we’re going through. Only with more chocolate.

Sean Williams

The scientists were wonderful. I think as a coping mechanism to the delirium from the sleep deprivation/change of sleep pattern, I found myself laughing at everything or making a joke in an attempt to make it more an enjoyable experience instead of a repetitive clinical one. I think as well because in the ‘real world’ I’m generally fun loving and easy going, it’s not in my nature to be rude or narky even if I was feeling frustrated especially when the testing would interrupt my art flow.

Thom Buchanan

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