Friday, December 24, 2004

Greetings from jet-lag central (for "blogger idol: travel")

I don't take drugs to alter my consciousness.

Except alcohol, caffeine, over-the-counter pain killers and the occasional large dose of legal theory. This may not be so much a matter of personal morality as naivete. I wouldn't know where to score anything else in Cambridge anyway. Despite doing a lot of amateur theatre with thespy undergrads.

Anyway, I digress ...

I write from an increasingly familiar space to yours truly, jet-lag central. I arrived back Chez the Folks, near Canberra, today after a 22 hour flight from London and an involuntary stop-over in Sydney due to a certain lack of foresight on my part in co-ordinating a connecting flight far enough ahead of time.

This is the third time in three months I've done a 22 hour plane trip. Weirdly, I'm getting used to it - especially weird as I can't sleep on planes. Jet lag has become my most expensive form of altered consciousness.

The main thing I notice is that time becomes a marathon race: I'm always counting off the hours to the end of the flight, the time the next good movie starts on the in-flight entertainment, or on arrival the hours until I can reasonably go to bed and (hopefully) sleep.

Also the small stuff stops mattering at all. I just shrug and go: "Huh, I've lost a travel padlock."

"What do you know, despite being up for 30 hours, I just can't sleep. Let's go downstairs and pester the desk clerk for the right time, then."

"Hurm, just dropped the boxers I was planning to sleep in on a wet shower floor."

Everything happens in slow motion, quite some distance away. I can converse, using stock phrases, and listen with polite intensity (because it requires a weird intensity of concentration to get through simple actions like wrapping a Christmas gift) but am relatively useless for any activity which is not closely supervised.

Other weird side effects include making unguarded personal comments to strangers and crying at movies (neither usual pass times). Both I guess indicate that the emotional filters are down, and the world while oddly distant becomes peculiarly heightened, too.

Still, my biggest achievement in all of this has been (other than not losing any luggage) reading and possibly understanding about 150 pages worth of a book on the history of theoretical approaches to international law.

No honestly, it's considerably more interesting than you'd imagine.

Okay, yes I am still jet-lagged as I write this.

PS Blogger idol 'travel' entries that made me think:
A Dervish's Du`a'
Cliff between the lines

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