Sometimes you just have to write…

Jetlag is like being on drugs

a picture of a plane, taken from a plane

Or maybe a better comparison is that it’s like floating in lukewarm water.

Or walking around with a big transparent cushion around my body.

Or living on a parallel world that looks the same, but where gravity is higher.

I don’t know how to describe it, but I’ve been walking around all day, trying to function normally, when all I really want to do in response to the drugs/lukewarm-water/transparent-cushion/high-gravity is curl up on the sofa and go to sleep. Except when I’m wide awake and a bit manic and couldn’t sleep even if I had the opportunity.

The problem was that I had to work today, which involved bicycling to the train station in Groningen; sitting on a train; bicycling from the train station in Leeuwarden to work; taking care of various tasks at work involving e-mailing, planning, consulting with colleagues, and so on; attending some meetings; and then teaching the first of a series of American Studies classes.

And I have no idea how any of it went, because it was as if there was a time delay. Information came in; I processed it – slowly – and then reacted to it – slowly – but was never quite sure that my reaction fit the information.

Okay, now my first comparison sounds about right, doesn’t it? It’s like being on drugs.

To make matters worse, some of the day’s proceedings had to be conducted in Dutch. I speak Dutch, but I’ve been away in the US for a month. I seem to have regressed by several European Frame of Reference levels in my fluency. Now that I think about it, I may have regressed in English as well. Did I make any sense at the meetings? I’m not sure. I hope I didn’t volunteer for anything I don’t want to do!

another picture taken from the plane

At one point this afternoon I couldn’t find my phone, and, of course, I panicked. It’s a new iPhone 5, and uninsured, after all. I searched frantically through my handbag, but it wasn’t there. I got on my iPad and opened the “Find my Phone” app (after several tries because I couldn’t remember the password right away), which showed that my phone was somewhere nearby, probably in the building.

My colleague offered to call it, and it rang – in my handbag. I had just stuck it into a different pocket than I usually use for it.

And there were moments that I don’t remember at all. I’m not entirely sure what I said in my American Studies lecture. It certainly was less organized than normal. I had a Prezi to follow, so hopefully I at least hit on the main topics I planned to cover.

On the way back home, I woke up on the train with my finger suspended over a button on my iPad in my lap. I think I must have slept like that for a big proportion of the trip home; it was the local train, which usually seems to take forever, but today went really fast.

And when I finally got home, I realized that I’d bicycled all the way from the train station with the outside pocket of my backpack open. It might have been open the whole way from work. I don’t think there was anything valuable or important in there, but, then again, I’m not sure…

and another (I think it’s Mt. Rainier)

It’s a nine-hour time difference between Washington state and here in the Netherlands. I used to have very little trouble with jetlag: I just stayed up till a normal bedtime, and was caught up to the local time zone within a day or two.

Not this time! The morning I arrived – Saturday – I tried to stay up, but kept nodding off anytime I sat down anywhere. It may have something to do with my age. I even had a couple of hot flashes today for the first time in at least a year.

Is it wise to write a blog post when I’m on drugs on a parallel world with heavier gravity, floating in water surrounded by a transparent cushion? Probably not. You’ll let me know, won’t you, if any of this makes any sense at all?

3 comments on “Jetlag is like being on drugs

  1. Rinelle Grey
    May 8, 2013

    Sounds miserable! Hope you’re feeling more with it tomorrow.

  2. Georgeta Andronache
    May 10, 2013

    Hi Rachel,
    I’ve read some of your posts but this one is by far the best of all. It has action. humour and makes you want to read more. It looks like a good beginning for a novel.

  3. rachela
    May 11, 2013

    Glad you liked it, Georgeta and Rinelle!

    Georgeta, are you saying that I should a) fly a lot so I’m always jet-lagged so I can write better? or b) take drugs so I can write better?

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This entry was posted on May 7, 2013 by in Travel and tagged , , .
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