The Jetlag Tango

I’ve come home. To Bali. Ubud. My little oasis.

I open the gate and Blackie leaps up to lick me, slips by, letting herself onto my terrace – hungry for bones and hugs.

Palm-sized butterflies flit around my garden. The frangipani tree sheds petals onto the grass. The markesa vines are in full bloom, finally weaving their fast-growing curlicue stalks over and through the wooden overhang; green bulbous passion fruit are in full view, dangling from above. Purple-and-white orchids burst forth from tree limbs, while the resident cat sneaks silently along the perimeter wall casing its prey.

But this too: I. Am. Exhausted. Day is Night. Night is Day.

A week later, I’m still locked into the jaws of jetlag, the dead-of-night and I entwined in an involuntary tango; seeing way too much of the dark side: 00:56, 3:22, 4:44, 1:27 – and this morning, 2:44. A.M.

As a result, I’m tapping into a silence broken by perfectly-pitched birdsong (I’ve even heard a new whistle!), crickets, cicadas; the occasional rain shower, and the soft buzz of a fluorescent bulb nearby.

In this vacuum of darkness and quiet, with nothing much to do (ok, full disclosure: I’ve been on the mat), and nobody to call (across the seas? They’re at work), I switch on the night light, delving into the final pages of Tracy Kidder’s Strength in What Remains. The 2nd book I’ve wolfed down (lapped up?) in this past week, due to long stretches of nocturnal emptiness.

Tossing and turning. Flossing. Clipping toenails. Scribbling notes, a to-do list for the coming day. Switching on the AC – maybe cooler surroundings will tire me out? Switching it off – nah.

I step outside to see the stars – a sight somewhat limited by the sole fluorescent lamp burning in the vicinity. The cat is curled up on the bench, startled and leaps off into the pitch blackness.

Flicking on my laptop, I write. Read articles. Listen to music. A whole life unfolds in the wee hours, much to my chagrin.

I nap during the day when possible. I’ve tried to stay up late, gone to sleep early, and everything in between. I’ve tried all the permutations and combinations. No cigar. What’s the deal: When can I get off this jetlag-go-round?

 

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