Loss of vitality. Loss of stamina. Not to mention energy energy. As well as options. And of time itself. My preoccupations with age, with time’s passing, with my own passing. It seems that I have to sink into all this before sheer buoyancy boosts me out of it.
Out of it, that is the very essence of so-called jet lag. Actually, I question the concept. I am not lagging behind any jet. I am not lagging behind any thing. It’s just like the French guys say, I am crevé. A nuanced difference? No. The difference between a business person’s perspective – and my own. My performance is not “lagging.” Nor am I laggardly in relation to some metric. There is no lag between me and anything else or anyone else. But there is a gap. Jet gap, let us call it. I would almost say that part of my memory has been deleted.
But since I am trying to track this down, get to the essence – and for once, I’m not terribly concerned about getting things done – what is to be said? That I have been wrenched. Out of time, out of space, and no wonder I am out of it.
And even that isn’t true. I am into it, something different. And at times it feels sad and disappointing, and at other times it simply seems empty, a terrain without life.
While, actually, life is abounding. Married life, to be specific.
Such a strange summer. I spent the first couple of months drowning in details, facing an hour-by-hour treadmill of practicalities. Apartments to remodel, contractors to deal with, all this accounting for an enormous amount of brain space given over to tile samples, color swatches, plumbing fixture choices, lighting decisions…mixed with the strange reality of contractors and their world. Or worlds. The good one, the only one who in the end proved reliable, being very much a sometime thing, as Ira Gershwin would put it. His whereabouts much of the time being extremely mysterious. Although in this account I have jumped over the sleeplessness-inducing contractor number two, whose mistakes and incomplete work are still being rectified. Which doesn’t include the architects and their deadlines, the lawyers and theirs, and so on. Right up until the wedding planning – if it can be called that – got underway.
And if three weeks in London and Wales didn’t provide enough contrast, the shift in continent and time zone did the rest. And, yes, doubtless my circadian rhythms are all syncopated or contrapuntal or something. Whatever. The human body is simply not made to jump about the planet. Days last 24 hours. When the sun goes down, it’s dark. This is our natural condition. The body isn’t equipped for anything else. So in my late 60s, the essence of trip exhaustion has finally hit me. It’s more about mood, change in lives, even loss. But not lag. Nothing is falling behind in the great race of life.
For it was a race, everything leading up to my wedding, and departure. Now it’s a pleasant change to be taking time. Time taking over, as it were, while the body heals from its intercontinental insult. Avery, once my seven-year-old garden assistant, is now my 11-year-old garden assistant. This reality just popped into my life. Lorna, captain of Team Filipina, is currently away. Things need to be watered, not to mention fertilized, foliage tied down, weeds slaughtered. And so it reappeared, garden help in the form of Avery. Now on the cusp of adolescence and into five dollars an hour. Which, I realize, is also a sometime thing. Soon Avery will be “too old” for this sort of thing. And then he will really be too long. And I will be too old to care. So there’s this, now, a perspective I can barely muster. But, thanks to Jane, it is getting easier.
Not that this moment isn’t connected to all the others. Which is why I go out of my way to praise Avery, to tell him he’s doing a great job. Which he is. He even found the plant ties buried in my pantry. Everything is buried in my pantry these days. We had some “work” done on the kitchen while away. Which only added to the pre-trip frenzy. Specifying countertops, looking at plans, new cabinets, sinks, microwaves, more cabinets. Castanets probably too. Certainly one could hear them in the background. Frenzied, that was the tone. But the work is over. And now there’s the new work, living with disruption. For I can’t find anything. Although while Avery was sorting through the pantry’s stock of fertilizer and snail killer, damned if we didn’t come across the sugar. Which was right next to the salt. On a shelf full of hardware.
The new kitchen. With many accessible touches. And an infinitely more eye pleasing look. With drawers that actually work. And veneer that isn’t peeling off and splintering into the 1950s, when it was installed. Time does march on. And, yes, I do lag behind. And is going to be more of this, for there is a house just over the horizon. It seems frustratingly distant, this house in San Francisco’s Glen Park, but it will happen. And there will be more chaos. The move, the throwing away of 20 years of apartment life. If I get there. Wherever “there” is. Yes, I probably will. Though I might not. Meanwhile there is here. Which has one salient and overwhelming fact on its side. You can’t lag behind “here.”