Marian continues to entertain with her reports from the trenches, and throws in some original short fiction as well. Whether it's visiting Siberia, breaking it off with an old hairdresser, shopping (of course!), turning forty, living with her beloved husband, Himself (a man beyond description), or musing on the F word (feminism), Marian shares the joys, passions, and sorrows of her world and helps us feel good about our own. So grab a latte and a pillow and get ready to laugh your slippers off!
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Cracks in My FoundationBags, Trips, Make-up Tips, Charity, Glory, and the Darker Side of the Story: Essays and Stories by Marian Keyes
By Marian Keyes
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2005 Marian Keyes
All right reserved.
Cheaper Than DrugsI know a man who denies that jet lag exists. He regularly flies halfway across the world, marches off the plane after a twenty-seven-hour flight, goes straight into the Auckland office, pausing only to brush his teeth, and immediately starts barking orders and making people redundant. (Or whatever super-macho, no-human-weakness job it is he does.) I want to sue this man-as far as I'm concerned denying jet lag is like denying that the Earth is round. I am so prone to jet lag that I even get it when I haven't been on a plane: I get jet lag when the clocks go back.
(It's because I'm so in thrall to sleep. I'm grand if I get my habitual sixteen hours a night, but if anything happens to interfere with that, I'm all over the place. I am a martyr to my circadian rhythms.)
Naturally, I've investigated all the jet lag "cures" stay away from alcohol on the plane; drink plenty of water; eat lightly; do a little exercise; get on to local time patterns immediately; and most importantly walk around in the sunlight as soon as you arrive at your faraway destination.
All nonsense, of course: as effective as giving someone a Barbie Band-Aid for a shattered femur. I must admit I don't trust "natural" solutions to conditions; I like chemicals. I am probably the last person in the Western world who doesn't have a homeopath and who still swears by antibiotics. I would love if someone invented an anti-jet lag drug and I couldn't care less about side effects, in fact I'd embrace them. Dry mouth? Trembling? Blurred vision? Better than being fecking jet lagged and falling asleep facedown in my dinner at six in the evening.
But unfortunately, for some things there is no cure but time. Like a hangover or a broken heart, you just have to wait your jet lag out and try to live through it as best you can.
Of all the suggested "cures" I think that trying to get on to local time as quickly as possible is probably the best, but doing it is so phenomenally unpleasant. Walking around on feet I can no longer feel, swimming through air that seems lit with little silvery tadpoles, the pavement lurching towards me -- everything takes on a strange, hallucinogenic quality. (Mind you, if you're that way inclined, it'll save you a fortune in recreational drugs.)
In Australia, I had the worst ever example of this. In a pitiful attempt to recover from a twenty-four-hour flight and an eleven-hour time difference, myself and Himself thought we'd "do a little exercise" and "walk around in the sunlight" as soon as we arrived.
It was early evening, and clutching our bottles of water ("drink plenty of water"), we staggered about on an area of greenness so verdant that we gradually realized it must be a golf course. Bumping into each other and grumpily apologizing, like we were scuttered, I suddenly...
"It is better to travel than to arrive."
Whoever said that should get his head examined. It is NOT better to travel. To travel is AWFUL and to arrive is LOVELY.
The only time it's not entirely unbearable to travel is when you're on the Orient Express, and your daily champagne allowance would fell an elephant. Or on a cruise liner the size of a small country, and you're sailing from place to place but it doesn't feel like it, the same way you don't feel the Earth turning at four million miles a day (or whatever it is).
Let's look at how awful it is to TRAVEL, will we? I won't even mention the car-clogged crawl to the airport, the dog-eat-dog scramble for parking, and the overland trek from the long-stay car park to the departures hall. (All I'll say is that I've heard frequent travelers discussing the feasibility of paying homeless people to sleep in a space in the short-term car park, so that it'll be reserved for them when they need it.)
Anyway... Having arrived at departures but already lost the will to live, I look up at the telly monitors wondering where I should check in. But I needn't bother overexerting my neck muscles by looking up. All I need to do is look in, at the rowdy, pushing, shoving mass of humanity spilling out into the set-down area. It might look like a riot at a Red Cross feeding station but actually it's a queue. A queue filled with shrieking babies all sporting ear infections, overexcited teenage boys, playfully breaking each other's limbs, and greasy long-haired men wanting to check in rocket launchers and garden sheds. Step right this way, Miss Keyes!
For many, many hours I shuffle, far too slowly for any movement to be visible to the naked eye, and because -- through no fault of my own -- I'm one of the last to check in, all the good seats are gone. I'm usually told it's not possible for the left side and right side of my body to sit together, so one half of me is in 11B and the other in 23E.
Then I proceed to security in order to be groped and to display the contents of my brain on a little table. (Okay, security checks are a very good thing, I'm just sore because recently I was relieved of one of my finest tweezers in a handbag search. Very expensive they were too, something people don't seem to realize about tweezers. They think they only cost a couple of euro, but mine cost eighteen quid. Sterling.)
The security check eventually comes to an end, and when I've replaced my internal organs in something approximating their correct configuration, I proceed to the gate -- just in time for the delay!
Now the thing is, I expect delays, I don't even mind them (apart from when I miss my connecting flight to Mauritius). I've learned to embrace them in a Zen kind of way -- why resent them?
Excerpted from Cracks in My Foundation by Marian Keyes Copyright © 2005 by Marian Keyes.
Excerpted by permission.
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