The Best Laid Plans

It sounded like the city was under attack. Flashes of greens and reds lit up the sky like a Star Wars battle montage and explosions rocked the house. I stumbled towards my window and caught a few glimpses of the fireworks. If I strained I could hear the music pound from Pub Street. Sounds like one hell of I party, I thought. I climbed back into be and pulled the blankets over my head. Too bad I don’t care.

I woke up again later in the night/early morning and contemplated going in to town. Did I really want to spend New Year’s Eve alone? I had just read a new-agey article about a 12-step routine to start your new year off right and ‘laying in bed’ wasn’t on the list. Would this usher in a season of loneliness? I played possible scenarios in my head and figured if I was going to be alone on New Year’s Eve I’d rather be in bed in my pajamas than surrounded by dancing, drunk strangers. Plus, nothing good happens after 2 a.m.

My flight had landed early in the day, around 10 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, and I had every intention to hit the ground running. I was wide awake thanks to several terrible cups of in-flight coffee and the anxiety normally associated with passing through immigration so I was feeling pretty unstoppable. I unpacked my bag in record time, attempted to fix our wifi connection (to no avail), and contemplated cleaning the house after noticing my dusty footprints trailing through the hallways. Turn your back for two minutes in Cambodia and the dust starts to pile up, so you can imagine what our house was like after a week or so with no one in it. Since it was still early, just past noon, I decided to take a quick nap. I set an alarm for 4 p.m. as a precaution, thinking there was no way I’d even sleep that late… When I finally roused it was dark outside and my alarm had been ringing for the past two and a half hours.

New Year’s day seemed like the perfect time to get everything in order, especially since my anti-social behavior the night before (a.k.a. slipping into a mini coma) meant I woke up at 6 a.m., fresh as a daisy. Of course I immediately asked myself how soon I could acceptably go back to bed, but I managed to pull myself out (albeit four hours later…) long enough to actually clean the house. Once again I considered all the grown-up, responsible activities I should get a jump on like renew my visa, find a job, finish an outstanding freelance project, maybe finally check my email, but the mere notion of navigating myself to a wifi-providing coffee shop sent a wave of exhaustion.

I am of the firm belief we should treat jet lag as an illness, if only so I don’t have to feel guilty for not doing anything the past day and a half. Seriously though, your body undergoes some serious trauma while traveling; hurtling through space and time, deprived of sleep and movement, and subsisting on basic, over-salted nutrients made to resemble actual, edible foodstuffs. You need time to rest and recover lest you wind up passed out in a plate of nachos. As part of my recovery plan I thought it best to prescribe myself ample hammock time reading Chelsea Handler books, my newest guilty pleasure and snark-muse.

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After polishing off My Horizontal Life and the first few chapters of Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, I capped off the day’s treatment and finally showered for the first time since leaving Orlando, which in all honesty, took some convincing:

Me: You should probably shower now.

Me: I’m all alone, who cares?

Me: It’s been 4 days, I can smell you from here.

Me: That sounds like a ‘you’ problem.

Me: Your hair is now one giant dreadlock.

Me: That is kind of gross, but that means I have to find my brush, and then use it.

Me: This is why you’re single.

Me: You’re the one talking to yourself. Bitch.

I should never be left alone for extended periods of time…

Freshly showered and plenty rested, today was going to be the day to be productive! Alas, the universe seemed to have other plans. Completely out of food since I lacked the foresight to stock up on noodles before I left for the holidays and unable to stomach another granola bar (on the plus side, I lost all the weight I put on while Stateside…) I finally threw my laptop in a bag and set out for town (after a brief stop to put air in my bicycle tires, of course).

I had just set up my computer and organized my breakfast materials for optimum accessibility when the older gentleman sitting across from me asked where I was from. Also from the U.S. we chatted about living abroad, my lack of a Southern accent, family and friends back home, politics, religion, social security, tiny houses, the popularity of shows like Storage Wars and American Pickers on Thai TV, how those shows are completely scripted because he knows someone who was on it in a Seattle episode and the item “picked” was brought with the crew from L.A., doomsday prepping, more religion…

My laptop had long ago lost battery power. I was interested in the conversation, you just don’t cut off an old hippie mid arrest story, but I could feel my enthusiasm and motivation wane as the hours I planned on using productively slipped away. By the time we said farewell five hours had passed and I was hungry again.

At least I managed to finally write a blog post… Better luck tomorrow, I guess, seeing as it is nearing 6 p.m., also known as my post-travel bedtime.

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