“I’d like to apologize now for being ridiculously tired when I get to your house. Basically, I’m going to live the same day twice. With no sleep in between.
I get up at 5 a.m. on Wednesday the 17th in Australia. I spend the entire day getting to the airport and riding on a plane. When I land in L.A., it will be like all that never happened. It will be very close to 5 a.m. on Wednesday the 17th. Still.
Since I will probably get a minimal amount of plane sleep, given it will feel like ‘daytime’ to me, I expect to collapse in a heap on your doorstep.”
What I wasn’t able to foresee?
I’d be collapsing in a heap much sooner than that.
I have a penchant for being thrilled by even the tiniest things. “Oh, look at the rainbow colored awning! How beautiful! Oh my… this tiny flower growing in the sidewalk crack is about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life! *Gasp* Can you believe the sun is shining today?! How lucky are we?!!!”
Since my excitement levels run high, when it comes to things that ‘normal’ people find exhilarating… I basically become insane. Leaving a country I used to call home and going to visit American friends I’ve been dying to see for three years? Bouncing. off. the. walls.
So did I sleep the night before I had to live the same day twice?
No. Of course not.
Valiant effort? Yes. I’m not that crazy. But I was so wound up, I kept flipping on the light to jot down notes and to-do list items racing through my brain. Ironically, many of these scribbled items were ways I imagined productively taking advantage of the hours and hours I was about to spend on planes and in airport lounges. But productivity requires brain power. Brain power requires sleep. I’d not-slept my way into survival mode, which involves functioning on scraps of naps in contorted positions while being regularly kicked in the kidneys by the poor wiggling, crying toddler next to me.
Zombie U.S. Arrival
I behaved very much like a confused drunk as I muddled my way through immigration and customs at LAX. Mercifully, for the first time in my life I was not pulled aside for additional screening. (Thanks to my free flights travel hacking, I finally got Global Entry. Hopefully things like this will never happen to me ever again.)
If you don’t travel much, maybe you don’t know L.A.’s airport – SUCKS. Seriously, if you Google, “LAX Reviews,” you’ll read thousands of people complaining about, “the worst airport in the world” that’s “basically like a third-world country.” The main issue, aside from general dirtiness and that being there overnight leaves you starving and homeless: each of the nine terminals basically functions as an independent airport. Getting between them is a nightmare.
I stumbled my way to the Alaska Airlines Lounge in Terminal 6, which I can access also thanks to my free flights travel hacking. Finding the lounge temporarily closed, I sourced a meal hoping it would make me human again. Nope. My desperation for sleep reached a fever pitch just as I spied a carpeted peninsula at the back of the tiny gate 64B. Going to circus school turned me into a floor sleeper, so this isolated corner looked like collapse-in-a-heap paradise.
Earplugs, eye mask, airplane blanket and six hours saw me back to Neanderthal level.
Coup De Grâce Oopsie
Thankfully, my lounge was open after my long nap.
When the check-in woman asked, “How are you today?” I blurted, “So, so tired” with such inadvertent emphasis that her eyes grew wide.
I wandered around the huge room assessing the seating options. My near-catatonic movements drew a few stares. After plunking down at a business desk, I went to the refreshments bar. I selected a banana, poured myself a glass of water, and beelined for the coffee machine. Figuring out which buttons to push (Americano? Latte? Cappucino?) took all three of my brain cells.
Just the smell of the Caffe Verona sent relief dripping into my veins. I took a sip from the ceramic mug, then scooped up my banana and water glass with my left hand. As I turned to walk away, I discovered my brain could not currently control both my hands and my feet simultaneously. As soon as I took a step, my hands lost the “carry water glass level” command. I poured the whole thing straight onto the floor while my zombie brain remained focused on “get back to seat.”
My eyes went wide as it dawned on me that I was the source of the out-of-place noise and sudden spray of moisture. The look on my face caused a grin to spread across the mugs of the two nearby businessmen. One brightly quipped, “Wow. That might have been the smoothest move I’ve ever seen!” As I laughed, the other joined in, “Yeah! I wish I could be that smooth when I go places!” aThe latina women I worked with recently said they think it’s important that I tell you the first guy was a late-40s black dude and the second an late 30s white guy. Whatevs. Both leapt into action as I stood there in awe of my ridiculously low cognitive function. Guy #1 was already at the service counter asking for a rag by the time I thought of it. Guy #2 was already trying to mop up a giant puddle with tiny cocktail napkins by the time I wandered back to guard the slip hazard.
And that, my friends, is one of the many Things That Happen When You Live the Same Day Twice.
Happy Travels! ♣
References [ + ]
|a.||↑||The latina women I worked with recently said they think it’s important that I tell you the first guy was a late-40s black dude and the second an late 30s white guy. Whatevs.|