When is jet lag not jet lag? This is not a self-existential inquest. For a couple of hours (say about 72-96 give or take) this really bugged me. I hadn’t bothered reading up on jet lag initially because;
- I figured it was fairly straightforward – you board a plane in one time zone, you deplane in another and your body punishes you for screwing with its cycle. Typically, it does this by shutting down at the most inopportune moments, but you work out your differences and you’re back to 100% eventually.
- I am cutting back on consulting Google whenever I feel a little ill because the few times I have in the past year Larry Page’s search engine has told me there’s a stroke in my future, my heart will not go on and I need to get a lung shipped in from Latvia stat! Then again, that lung thing may have been from google.ng
However, just because I wasn’t paying attention to the lag, it doesn’t mean it’s machinations were not following me about like that annoying guy no one wanted to hang out with that ALWAYS ended up with you.
The first order of business in Robbinsville (New Jersey, keep up) was to find a decent meal, so we popped into the car moved around a little and hit a mall of sorts… except that it may not have been like an actual Mall-Mall, but a nice collection of shops with super friendly people waiting to make a sale and a food court housing cholesterol eager to clog your arteries.
Spending a lot of time in a third world country kind of handicaps your ability to place orders for food when you’re challenged with a variety of establishments that have never even appeared in your favourite sitcom. There was no Burger King, no Pizza Hut, no Mc Donald’s, but there were all these other eateries that were branded so well they had to be legit.
As I settled down to eat my attention moved to the patrons. It felt so reassuring to see people from, I think, all over the place and not just one nationality/pigment. Say what you will, but after consuming enough coverage on the US Election, I was a little worried that at some point I’d be asked to take my sandwich and cheesy fries and sit at the back of a bus.
There was no bus, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if they managed to get one just to prove a point. Actually, my paranoia would have been vindicated if the freakin’ Amistad docked outside the mall-that wasn’t really a mall.
Oh yeah, the jet lag thing.
As I moved about the mall with my pal, I had to deal with some bouts of light-headedness and an irrational belief that the ground kept shaking for no reason. You’re probably thinking, “jet lag doesn’t make people feel that way,” good for you, move to the head of the class. As far as I could tell, the reason I was worse for wear was because time zones had been crossed and in so doing, so too had my body. This was payback.
Anyone that will talk to you about dealing with this nonsense will insist that you stay awake until it’s dark. Apparently this dupes your body into thinking, “this is just like home”. No one cares that you spent at least ¾ of your 14 hours tossing and turning and babysitting wayward neck pillows.
Also, there’s something of a conflict when it becomes dark around 5:30. Your mind figures, “this can’t be right” while your body goes like, “oooooooh, this is my cue”.
Surprisingly, I managed to ward off sleep for a while. I think shifting involuntarily from one foot to another communicated to my brain that falling asleep would not only prove embarrassing, it would also result in a world of pain.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that I looked okay. I’m sure the teachers at the daycare my friend convinced me to accompany him to must have thought, “for $1, I can make a difference in this young man’s life”. Whatever. I managed just fine. Heck I even slipped so easily into the “great uncle” role. So, I guess you can say, everything was going just fine.
Except it really wasn’t. See, along with the jet lag that may not have really been jet lag, I’d developed super powers…is what I would have said if this were a movie. There were no super powers here, just lots of instances of channeling static electricity. It would have been nice if the jolts served to exterminate the other thing (faux lag) but all they did was see to it that I kept shutting the car door with my elbow and kept gingerly tapping any metallic surface. In short, I looked stupid. . .and that’s putting it lightly. I looked like a person that was afraid of interacting with the first world.
Day 02 was a little more eventful because I got over my dislike for coffee and tried a vanilla variant for breakfast and thankfully it didn’t trigger my usual caffeine related palpitations. I was still light headed by the way, but I was also wrapped up pretty snuggly because of the weather so there was little chance I’d be harmed if I just happened to collapse. There was a high likelihood that I would be recruited as a wardrobe.
We took a ride out to New York a while later, but there wasn’t enough time to take in any meaningful sites unfortunately, however I made a mental note to come back a little later and do all sorts of touristy things. I didn’t climb any buildings (damsel in distress in hand), but I did drive past the building that housed Jimmy Fallon’s studio.
Naturally I figured a door would fly open and he’d run out and ask me to come on in. I’d then be hosted for exactly 2 minutes and I’d regal his guests with tales of AFRICARRR and talk about my initial feelings about AMERICARRR. From the apparent lack of uploaded selfies or videos, I’m sure you can tell it didn’t pan out like that.
Maybe some other time.
Back to Robbinsville, we went, stopping along the way to do some shopping and become the subject of an elderly Caucasian gentleman’s observation that I was not a ‘medium’ sized person. The reason I feel the need to be descriptive is to give you an idea of how race relations played out while I was there. Here I was, a black guy that was decidedly not from around there and I was not being told that me and my kind were not welcome. I was the subject of some good natured ribbing.
And that was that. Thus far, my fears were unfounded. People got along just fine here.
But I was yet to visit Texas…