The Wonderful World Of Jet Lag

Published by Rick on Tagged Uncategorized


                 I should have felt crappier when Eileen and I arrived in California nearly three weeks ago, because the flight out was a much more taxing journey than the return. The flight from Heathrow to San Francisco was initially delayed by a half hour because the plane was late to arrive. Further servicing and paperwork and just plain old sitting on the runway got the plane in the air a full 90 minutes late. Then after crossing Iceland, the pilot announced, “You may notice we’ve dropped in altitude. This is because of computer failure, and thus the plane can’t fly at its cruising altitude. When we fly lower, we use up more fuel, so the flight is going to be diverted to Chicago O’Hare. Oh, and don’t worry, we have more than enough fuel to get there.” OK, so thank god for small favors, I guess. We had to do customs and baggage claim in Chicago, then boarded another plane about three hours after landing. We arrived in San Francisco a full SEVEN hours after we were originally expected.

                    In spite of that marathon, and that we’d only have one full day before we’d have to drive to LA, there seemed no time to experience any jet lag, and we held up pretty well. In contrast, our return flight left on time, and would have arrived with plenty of time to spare except that Heathrow was partially fogged in, so we had to circle for about 45 minutes. I got back to Dagenham at about 2:30 in the afternoon, and avoided napping despite not sleeping that much on the flight. I went to bed that night at a normal hour, got a fair night’s sleep, and the next day went to Milton Keynes for the weekend. I slept pretty solid on Friday night too, but only because I’d hung out with one of the other comics at the hotel bar, and realized by the time I’d gone to bed, it was 2:00 AM, and my total intake for that night had amounted to SIX glasses of wine. I crashed out right away, and woke up hung over (but not jet lagged) at about 8:30. 

                    The real fun began around gig time on Saturday, when I realized I was feeling a combination of hangover and jet lag. Somehow I made it through the set, had a fair amount of fun even though it was an auspicious beginning. We just weren’t sure whether we were going to like each other or not, since the first two comics had struggled. I got heckled early on, the usual “fuck off, Yank” type of heckling, but managed to stem that by going to my lowest common denominator material.  That seemed to do the trick, and I left the stage with a sense of accomplishment, but was still as physically spent as I’d felt all day. Well, we’ll just go to bed early, and I’ll be fine tomorrow.

                     Guess again! I’m lying on the bed watching TV, and can’t seem to keep my eyes open. Oh, that’s a good sign! It was 12:30, and I hadn’t napped except for maybe ten minutes in the afternoon, so I should go right to sleep, right? For some reason, as soon as I turned out the lights, I was wide awake, and would remain so the rest of the night. So as I’m writing this, the only real sleep I’ve had in the last 24 hours was about an hour nap this afternoon. It appears that I only put jet lag back a day by getting silly drunk on Friday. That wasn’t the game plan.


                   Hopefully, tonight I’ll sleep better, since tomorrow will be my first full day back in Dagenham, and there’s the usual stuff that mounts up when you go away. There’s all those pests that have been waiting patiently for me to get back so they can start devising other ways I can part with my money. Actually got one of those in a phone call I made on Thursday, where I was merely informing AA (that’s Auto Association, not Al-Anon) of a change of address, and they immediately went into sales mode: “Have you insured your new home yet, for we offer a plan that blah blah blah…” Got out of that one by saying, “The bank already got me for that one,” which they did when I went to THEM to report my address change.  

                    I should also mention that even though I’m physically exhausted, this trip to California was one of the most enjoyable trips I’d made in quite some time. Perhaps it was because I was traveling with a girlfriend who’d never been to California, and so I got to assume the role of tour guide as well as boyfriend. We also lucked out that the weather through almost the entire trip was clear and warmer than normal. To walk on the beach in San Diego wearing a T-shirt and sandals after leaving a London that was experiencing Arctic weather for about two weeks was a godsend. (Of course, as I’ve commented many times, there’s idiots in Dagenham that wear T-shirts and sandals in January, and perhaps figure the cigarette they’re smoking will provide the necessary warmth) Eileen got a great two-week intro to what a pleasant and beautiful state California is. In turn, I got reminded again of why I couldn’t imagine living in any other state. 



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