Am I Back?

It’s been nearly two weeks since returning from my trip around the world. I still feel out of it. Going to Australia I was expecting to be destroyed by jet lag but it turned out to be pretty easy on my body and mind. I was a little groggy for the first couple of days but after that I was more or less adjusted.

We bounced across times zones like skiers on moguls. Here to LA was 5 hours. LA to Sydney was another 16 hours away but across the international date line. Ayers Rock is a half hour behind Sydney. Auckland is 2 hours ahead of Sydney. Phuket is three hours behind Syndey. As Paul Simon once sang, “It’s a wonder I can think at all.”

Coming back from Phuket was a killer. We continued westward through Abu Dhabi. Then on to JFK and then to Washington. We arrived at home at mid afternoon and we were zonked. Twelve time zones in about 28 hours of travel. And we repeated a day in the process.

For the next several days I was in a fog.

For days after returning my sense of smell was screwed up. It’s as if the gas exhaust smells of Phuket and the sulphur smell of Rotorua were stuck in my nose. I saw a picture of someone I know at Machu Pichu and I rather than thinking “How cool is that?” I actually thought, “I wonder what Peru smells like?”  A co-worker just returned from India. He mentioned the smells there too. (India is the smell capital of planet earth.)

After about a week, my mental fog lifted and my body fully adjusted. One thing that hasn’t adjusted is my social clock. I just have no social energy at all. I went to a birthday party for several people. We were partly celebrating my birthday. It was a lovely event. I received many thoughtful gifts. And the food was delicious. Never the less, my brain couldn’t stop focusing on the fact that my birthday was nearly two months ago and  I really, really, really didn’t want to think about it again. I’m old. I get it. I can’t do a damned thing about it. Yippee? Fug me.

On the bright side, I now qualify for the senior discount at most eateries.

The customs official in Thailand remarked to a colleague that I don’t look my age. The colleague laughed and translated for me. (For what it’s worth, she didn’t look a day over 40.) I could grow to like Thailand.

I went to Friday Coffee Club yesterday and just could not get into the conversation. I left about a half hour earlier than usual. I’ve been going to work but I have very little interest in interacting with my co-workers. I eat lunch alone. I close my door. The funny thing is I am not at all depressed. I just feel like curling up with a book. For days. My social tv is on a test pattern, what we used to call the maggot fights in high school.

Meanwhile, I am trying to get my new Cross Check set up so that it doesn’t kill my neck and lower back. I bought a new stem that brings the handlebars up, nearly even with the saddle. I changed the tilt of the saddle too. My 20-mile test ride included a bunch of hills, which I normally avoid. (Those familiar with the ride up to Oxon Hill Road and up Beacon Hill know why.) The new, more upright position definitely slows me down, but at least I am not all sore afterward. I will probably ride the Cross Check for the Great Pumpkin ride in a couple of weeks. That will be my last event ride until spring.

So if I seem a little off it’s just the 24 time zones, 60+ hours of flying, and old age talking.

If you see me riding on the left side of the road, don’t mind me. My mind is just on the other side of the world.

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