Wednesday, January 1, 2014

TJ6: Of Dominoes, Departures, and Deranged Old Women Who Swallow Animals*

It's finally here, my departure date. That is, it is here if you count the days using the traditional Jewish method, in which a day starts at sunset. If you use the traditional American method, I won't leave until tomorrow.

I'm not sure which option I prefer at the moment. While I am undoubtedly excited and eager to get on that plane (in which case I am ready to leave TODAY), I am also scrambling to make sure I have taken care of all those little things that need to be taken care of before I go (in which case I should probably leave TOMORROW). 

What I really need to do in the meantime is get some sleep. That's because I have a plan to avoid jet lag, a plan first recommended to me back in 1999 when I flew to Alaska for two weeks. "Stay awake," I was told. "Stay awake at least 24 hours. Don't sleep on the plane and don't go to bed until your regular bedtime arrives LOCAL time at your destination. That way, you'll adjust your circadian rhythm to the local time much more quickly." Considering that it took me two weeks just to get used to Eastern Standard Time this year during the "fall back" from Daylight Savings Time, I need all the helpful advice I can get. My friend's suggestion worked in Alaska (and on the return from Alaska), so I'm following the same system on this trip. I even put it on my calendar: Wednesday, January 1, SLEEP!!!

That's because I am going to the airport at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow (or today, if you are Jewish) and flying from Orlando to Newark and then from Newark to Frankfurt. I won't arrive in Frankfurt until 6:55 a.m. FRIDAY morning. (Thank you, inventor of time zones.) Then, after sitting in the Frankfurt airport for about seven hours, I will get to Cairo at 4:30 p.m. Friday, check into my hotel, and sleep. On paper, that's 36 hours without sleep, but really it's only 29 hours without sleep. (Thank you again, inventor of time zones.) Piece of cake. With a cup of coffee. Several cups of coffee. Really strong coffee.
Side Note (just for you, Tracy!): I am not a coffee drinker. In fact, I hate coffee. I am super-sensitive to caffeine due to an accidental caffeine overdose when I was 17, and I don't like the coffee flavor either. However, when I get desperate enough, I can drink the stuff. People who know me well get a little concerned when they see me ingest more than half a cup, though. I literally start bouncing around. Literally. (I do not literally bounce off the walls, although I do figuratively bounce off the walls. On occasion, I literally bounce into the walls, but that happens even without caffeine, so just forget I mentioned it.)
Coffee will only work if I am already rested before the trip, though, which is why I plan to get a good night's sleep tonight. To make sure I sleep soundly for at least nine hours, I decided to stay up real late last night. I knew that wouldn't be a problem, since last night was New Year's Eve and everyone stays up late on New Year's Eve. In fact, my son told me he planned to stay up all night, so I knew I'd even have company.
Side Note: This is what we call the "domino effect." In order to get on Middle Eastern time so I can enjoy all of our excursions, I need to sleep Friday. In order to sleep Friday, I need to stay awake all day Thursday. In order to stay awake Thursday, I need to sleep well Wednesday. In order to sleep well Wednesday, I need to stay up late Tuesday... (Hey, at least I'm not planning to swallow a spider, although all that wriggling and jiggling and tickling would probably keep me awake as effectively as caffeine.*)
You see it coming, don't you? By 9 p.m. last night, both my son and I were fast asleep. That's because my plan didn't extend back far enough. I should have gone to bed early Monday, but I didn't. And Tuesday I worked out at the YMCA and then went on a grueling kayak trip, so by the time I got home and showered and ate dinner I was ready to stretch out on the couch for a little while. Just a little while.

So here I am tonight, hoping I will be tired enough to sleep soundly so that I will be able to stay awake on the plane tomorrow (or today if you are Jewish) without having to ingest enough caffeine to draw the attention of airport security. 
Or a spider. 

*If you don't recognize the literary allusion, see

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