adventures abroad, flotsam, there is something wrong with me, travel, ups and downs

Go west! (And wake up confused)

In January 2001, I went to Hawaii for the first time.

It was a direct flight from the East Coast to Oahu. So a good 12+ hours on the plane, minus time change effects, meant that I left at something like 6AM and landed at something like 2PM, feeling already like something the cat dragged in. And this in the days before an extra 2 hours of security clearance time and who knows but that economy seats may have offered precious inches more space per passenger.

I have vague recollections of scouting for something to eat shortly after arrival — even back then they hadn’t fed us (or hadn’t fed us anything palatable, perhaps) on the flight — and after a wholely dissatisfying meal, going to a park near Waikiki where there was a free hula demonstration, and trying with all my might to stay up for another 8 hours until it was “late” enough to go to bed. Which I did, somehow, though my lack of memory of events indicates I wasn’t the most coherent I could have been.

I slept hard, and when the jets from the AFB flew over at dark-and-early-oclock, I woke groggy and still tired and not knowing what had woken me.

And not only unsure of where I was, but when I was.

I wa traveling at that time with a girl I worked with. We had flown to Hawaii and were sharing the spare room in her brother’s place. I woke up in that completely unknown room, and of course my overtired mind couldn’t place where I was.

Still more asleep than awake, I looked around blearily for clues, and in the next bed over, saw the dark hair of my sleeping colleague, whose back was to me.

In that moment, the only thing that made sense to me was that it must be my sister.

That we must be children again, sleeping at someone’s house. Maybe an aunt’s or something.

In the way that one accepts illogic as normal in dreams, I accepted that I was momentarily caught out of time. My location was somewhat more puzzling.

D–, are you awake? I whispered, D—, where are we? When were we here?

My colleague, also exhausted from her still-longer journey the day before, slept on unaware and undisturbed. I went back to sleep, intending that I would ask my sister again in the morning. A few hours later, when I woke up again, I was better able to recall where I was and how I’d gotten there.

When I returned home, I had no similar disconnect, but I remember being tired for days afterward, while my system reset to “my” time. Apparently, westward journeys confuse me, while eastward ones exhaust me.

wpid-IMG_1168-N-Ireland.JPGOn Friday afternoon, I returned from Ireland. I’d been up since early that morning, and by the time I arrived, to me it was early evening.  I knew I couldn’t go to sleep yet, or I’d be up at 2AM, looking to start the day. So I made myself stay awake until a reasonable hour.

I woke up in the still darkness of too-early, the sound of the fan in my bedroom – turned up high against the heat – giving me the illusion that my bed was vibrating. I thought at first I’d been asleep on the bus. When I peeked my eyes open, the normally familiar patterns of light on the walls weren’t familiar at all. I was somewhere, but where… a cathedral… a hotel… ah, yes that’s right…


It’s good to be back. Confusing as all get out, but good.

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