Back in the mid 1990s, I worked for Domino’s Pizza delivering to the stores in the area. One of my routes took me to Pennsylvania.
After spending the night at a motel, I started the second half of my route around 1 AM. My first stop was the store on Pennsylvania Ave in Wilkes-Barre. After making my stop, I always wandered over to the Mr. Donut (now a Dunkin), which was open all night, for my first hot cup of coffee. There were always the same people sitting in the donut shop, numbering from 5 to maybe 12 staring blankly out the window, reading a book, or just watching their coffee swirl. In the two years I did that route, the same people were always there- winter, summer, fall and spring. The weather didn’t matter either, it could be snowing or in the middle of a sweet summer thunderstorm, those folks always were there. I found out gradually, that they were people who work odd hours, mostly third shifters, some all night delivery truck drivers, whose biorhythms never readjusted to daytime hours. Most of these patrons were retired or unemployed, and shared their nights of sleepless hell with each other, not communicating their aguish with words, but with just unspoken companionship.
I called them Wilkesbarrians. Most of the people in my circle, after explaining the term for the first time, understand when I call a person a Wilkesbarrian.
I mean no disrespect for those folks. It seems like a lot of people worked odd hours out there in the Wyoming Valley of PA, more than any other area that I went to. That’s why I coined that term, rather than anything else. I don’t know if there is an official term for those people who reside in that area, but Wilkesbarrian seems fine to me.
The past week I’ve been on vacation. I like NOT getting up at midnight and during my time off I generally slept until 4 or 5 AM, late for my standards, but early for the rest of the population. Around mid Wednesday, I developed a crippling headache. I still am dealing with this, even after taking many remedies for headaches. I remember back on my spring vacation, the same thing happened. I don’t know if it’s the sudden shift in sleeping hours, I try and stay up later than normal, but the headaches still find me. I think it’s a shift in my biorhythms, my body is telling something. I’m becoming a Wilkesbarrian.