Friday, March 19, 2004
cidade maravilhosa, coracao do meu brasil
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Thursday, March 18, 2004
..and every stranger's face i see reminds me that i long to be..
if the sky is light when you go to sleep and dark when you wake up, is that the inverse of sleep?
where exactly on the spreadsheet of forward-marching time does the elastic exhaustion of jet lag live?
i finally fell asleep last night [this morning? tonight?] by tucking my head into the corner of one seat and shoving my feet into the seat-pocket of the other. it only lasted an hour, but it was the closest i came, after three espressos at the airport and two cokes on the plane, to approximating the sensation of sleeping on a grounded horizontal surface. but while it mimicked my tendency to shove one arm, crooked, under the pillow that supports my head, it was lacking severely in the chalk-marked-dead-body aspect of my leg pattern - that is, one stretched out and the other pulled up and bent at the knee, usually corresponding to which side my head is turned to.
and worst, most ignoble of all, the shortness of air on planes makes me drool tenfold my usual amount. so there you have me: feet shoved into seat pocket, arms clenched around head, hands clenched at chin, lower back poked by seat buckles, collecting buckets of drool.
the dreams of the inverse-night plane-sleeper are either lost in low-oxygen ether, or remembered and exceedingly bizarre. the sound of a passenger snoring made strange dream-babies with the constant rumble of the engine and the uneven hum of the wing slicing through clouds. it left me dreaming of driving down the road in a car with long hairy arms instead of a steering wheel. as i tried to navigate the rumbling machine down the road by jerking at the weird forearms that protruded from the dashboard, some part of my still restlessly-conscious brain thought,
this flying thing is for suckers.
as a child, i had very little jetlag because i actually slept on these netherworld overnight flights. i'd stretch my tiny body across the two seats my mother always miraculously procured for me and dream my way over the atlantic, or mediterranean, or the wilds of the sahara, or the caribbean. as i got older and taller, i discovered other tricks of the flyer's trade. the seat-rest foot-tuck. using the pillow as a bridge between the edge of your seat and the window. exactly where to fold your coat so that the metal arm of the chair doesn't cut into your ribcage.
but still the relentless march of my age takes its toll and i find myself more and more disoriented after every international jaunt. it's like i'm stoned. my body is on autopilot, so that i've taken a shower, gotten on the subway, and spent three hours at work without even choosing these movements. i'm fine. friendly, even. until some tiny grain of sand gets wedged in the machinery of forward-motion. like i can't find my lighter, even though i'm sure i put it in my coat. or someone questions the simple writing-down of a phone number. or the printer stupidly chooses 11x14 instead of 8x11. or my finger gets briefly trapped between the drawer and desk-frame.
and the exhausted frustration makes my inner child [the one who used to love sleeping on airplanes and playing make-pretend in airports] beat her tiny fists against my breastplate from the inside, so that suddenly i am fighting a wailing scream that will end only when i collapse to the ground and sleep for what feels like it should be eight solid days.
* * * * * * * * * * * *