Sunday, March 11, 2007

jet lag ramblings

I read years ago that when you wake in the middle of the night, keeping one eye closed ensures that you’ll go back to sleep with ease. Haven’t found it to work for myself, but nevertheless I still open only one eye. 1:50 am. Sigh … I am NOT getting up.

Seven minutes, a million thoughts, much pillow-puffing, and two impossibly fidgety legs later I throw back the duvet and jump out of bed. It’s pitch black. And silent outside, except for a heavy stream of rain rushing down the storm drain. I nudge the shower lever to maximum red and step inside, groaning in semi-masochistic pleasure as the stinging heat smoothes the cricks of a restless sleep.

I’ve been fighting this all week. After five weeks overseas, I’m stuck on Greenwich Mean Time; up by 2 am—a living, breathing zombie by 6:30 pm.

The good news is that I’ve wrapped at least eight hours work before 10 am every day. And in the peace of the early hours, the world outside my window presents an entirely different perspective.


Ideas that seemed ridiculous or tough to fulfill at two in the afternoon, seem reasonable and easily achievable at 3 am. Logic that eluded me at 8 pm, is razor sharp at 4 am. Challenges that made me want to hide my face in the pillow at 11 pm, become great opportunities at 6 am.

The bad news is that I have dark shadows under my eyes and my eyebrows are permanently raised in an attempt to pull open my eyelids. Plus, my current hours are just plain anti-social.

Four-thirty-am and I’m starving. I mean, eat the whole horse and tail, ravenous. (Although as a vegetarian I don’t recommend horse or tail.) So I pull on my ski jacket and head to the only local place open at this hour … Denny’s.

I feel bad about this, because for a couple of years after reading Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed, On (Not) Getting by in America, I boycotted all franchise diners and discount stores whose employees worked for poverty-level wages.


But today I’m beyond hungry, I’m belly-growling famished, and it’s the only place open at 4.30 am. I vow to thank the waiter for covering the midnight-to-six shift and promise to tip generously.

20 comments:

Pamela said...

welcome home to daylight savings time.

peteknowles said...

I know that feeling all too well. You never get used to it and the longer you're in a country, the worse it is! Rest up.

andrea said...

I have this bizarre theory that we're genetically predisposed to certain time zones, deepending on the origin of our families. At least that's what I say when I find myself getting up just a little earlier every day (which I have to guard against). If I finally reached GMT, though, would I stop? :)

Ant said...

GMT rules ok! :o)

I know *exactly* where you're coming from - bizarrely I love that "up at 3am" thing because I'm fresh and ready to work, whilst guaranteed that no-one will disturb me for at least another five hours. Downside is that banks and stuff don't open till 9am (though sometimes I get lucky...)

Have a night out with pals and drink - that generally sorts it out for me... :o)

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Usually, I feel like writing and recording about an hour after I get into work - at 10am, but rarely when I get home of an evening - the time I would rather feel like working on music.

Grr!

kj said...

welcome back bibi. first things first: this is a fine piece of writing.

i am blessed/cursed with the strong desire to stay up very late and to get up very early. i just love the quiet and stillness of those times, when it feels like i and the natural world are the only things stirring.

but those racoon eyes and muddle-headed braincramps tell me i need more sleep. it is quite a quandry.....

i was glad to see your avatar again. !

:)

Bibi said...

Pamela, thanks! Yes, moving that hour forward helped a little.

Pete, just going with the flow right now. That's the beauty of working on timelines vs. 9-5.

Ultra Toast, hmmm, this is where flex time really, really helps.

Andrea, I think you might be on to something there. I always fall more quickly into GMT than any other time zone.

Ant, ok, ok, GMT rules! ;-) Your cure sounds good; maybe I'll try that tonight.

KJ, thank you. I've always been a night owl ... but again that is anti social in the typical work world. So I'm making the most of these early morning hours ... getting a lot done, for sure! ;-)

deirdre said...

Oh, I hope you get back to a more workable schedule soon. I get terrible jet lag and once insomnia starts it's a bugger to stop the pattern. Maybe the time change will help you reset your internal clock.

Heather said...

Funny - on my last trip I ate at Denny's and felt rather guilty about it too. But it was the only place that offered room service, and it was storming outside, so my excuse was that I'm a wimp.

Becca said...

Welcome back, Bibi, although it sounds as if your biological clock is still overseas! I hope you get "regulated" soon~it's tough on the entire system to be off schedule like that. I have a hard enought time dealing with Daylight Savings Time!

Cazzie!!! said...

Yayy, welcome back to bloggerville Bibi. The black eyed thing is just awful, I get that when I wrok nightshift too :(
That waiter will definitely appreciate you tipping them generously I bet.

Anonymous said...

This made me laugh because it sounds just like me. I fly a lot for work and little do my bosses know that I often take a nap in the afternoons following a long haul flight.

BTW, I read BE's book too and it really made me think twice about where I put my dollars.

Keshi said...

WB Bibi!

Now Im hungry too :)

Keshi.

Kiyotoe said...

Bibi, bibi, bibi, thank goodness you're back. Imagine my disappointment when I returned to an empty "Bibi's Beat".

Glad you're back and I go through this sometimes when I travel to the West Coast so i can only imagine what going over seas does to you.

Bibi said...

Deidre, it's getting better thanks!

Heather, a storm's a good excuse. ;-)

Becca, thank you. The DST hour actually helped, as Deidre said it might.

Cazzie, oh night shifts must be really hard. I'll quit complaining right now ;-)

Anon, sounds like a 'productive' thing to do.

Keshi, thanks ... I've been permanetly hungry since I got back.

Kiyotoe, what a greeting ... thank you, thank you!! Glad you're back blogging too. ;-)

Within Without said...

Bibi, what a beautifully written piece! This was like one of Andrea's paintings...the brush strokes are exquisite and telling.

You really brought time and what it means at -- well, different times -- to life.

I hope your eyes and your body rhythym have recovered by now, but it surely didn't affect your abilities as a wordsmith.

Sometimes inspiration comes in the most strange of ways, huh?

Ces said...

Welcome back Bibi and thank you for that wonderful comment on my blog.

Now as for sleeping, I hate it. I personally believe that sleeping is a waste of time. I just sleep to dream or when I can no longer walk straight.

Bibi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bibi said...

within without, thank you ... high praise indeed. And yes I'm now back to normal (well, as normal as I will ever be, lol).

ces, I love it! ... just sleep to dream ;-)

Anonymous said...

I agree this is beautifully written. I haven't read the book you mention but have checked it out on the web and it looks interesting.

Ange.