Jem Beedoo: Fly too far and jet lag will ensure hell is your destination

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The time difference in hours is translatable to days. Photo / Thinkstock
The time difference in hours is translatable to days. Photo / Thinkstock

If you want eternity, look no further than jet lag. Then you'll realise eternity isn't worth it. A jet-lagged human has oil for blood, red wine for eyes and slurpy sleep for conversation. You could be in a 12-floor mall in Sacramento and none-the-wiser, such is the drag of the dirge of the dysrhythmia. (Thanks to Split Enz, some of us know the medical term for jet lag).

Time flies, they say. Yes, absolutely - except on a plane. Booked into a single flatulent seat for up to 14 boringly lonely hours, one can't help think: I'm flying into a self-induced illness of time-zoned insomnia, confusion and misery. Sleep is sleazy in this instance because what if your hand accidentally notes the inside leg of your adjacent passenger? How hideous would that be. And anyway, sleep is only hourly; jet lag lasts a week.

Land, as you do, at your destination and it's still yesterday. You should be in bed or dead from airlessness on the plane, but you're wobbly and hallucinating and expected to stay up for the length of the previous night/bright light flight.

Coffee spins you out, lunch binds you up and people make you sick. Worse still, hairy air clings to your smelly clothing and nails your nostrils.

A shower gets the stink out, but you're still heavier than dead and expected to stay up all day with your eye-leads falling down atop black leather thoughts. So when you finally make it to foreign darkness, you feel like such an alien in your own diabolical biology that imminent dreamless sleep is anticipated primarily for the act of self-forgetting. And you achieve it. After an endless day of hell.

But don't think for a second that by day two you have alleviated your sickness, certainly not. It even takes 48 hours to fully recover from minor dysrhythmia after an Auckland-to-Sydney flight.

For calculating jet lag, the time difference in hours is translatable to days: a London to Auckland flight takes 12 days to recover from because of the 12-hour time difference. Yeah. Heck.

Anyhow, there you are on day two and you drift dreamily through a cab, a museum and a bus and it's 4pm. You're on the ground floor of a 12-floor mall and it seems like the previous half-dozen hours at the museum were 50 days ago.

Such episodes happen frequently over the next 96 to 264 hours, where sleep is fitful at best, where you wake to nightmares at a stark 3am and come away wondering in uncertain terms what time, distance, the body and eternity mean.

What a bizarre mongrel jet lag is. And eternity be damned.

- NZ Herald

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