Expat Sat: The Wild, Weird World of Jetlag

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writing. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing and publishing to expat writers around the globe.

For most expats, jetlag is a way of life. And truly, I’ve never met a soul who enjoys being jetlagged. When suffering from it, most everyone I know sits around whining to anyone who’ll listen that “I’m so tired,” “I don’t think I’ll ever be right again,” “I haven’t slept in __ nights,” and so on. In the final throes, they simply beg, “Help me!”

The smart ones turn to sleeping pills (though those don’t always work).

The official Merriam-Webster definition of jetlag reads like this:

a condition that is characterized by various psychological and physiological effects (as fatigue and irritability), occurs following long flight through several time zones, and probably results from disruption of circadian rhythms in the human body—called also jet fatigue

(For the record, I’ve never heard anyone call it jet fatigue.)

My personal definition reads like this:

the strung-out, stretched-out, I-can’t-sleep-but-dammit-I-can’t-keep-my-bloody-eyes-open-so-my-head-is-going-to-drop-onto-this-plate-of-spaghetti-at-any-moment-and-don’t-talk-to-me-cause-I’m-mean-MEAN-I-say syndrome that results from too much travel over too many damned time zones

The only benefit to being jetlagged is that the brain pulls weird-ass tricks on you (and yeah, I guess I like weird-ass brain tricks…feels a little like writerhead).

One of weirdest that ever happened to me was that as my husband and I were driving from a friend’s house at night, I yelled, “Watch out!” and pointed at the white things bouncing on the road. Nearly killed us as he swerved and punched the brakes.

Course, there were no white things bouncing on the road.

Just my brain pulling a weird-ass trick.


Q4U: How about you? Jetlagged often? Love it? Hate it? Ambivalent? Resigned? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done/seen/experienced as a result?



Image: krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net