22 March 2009

Condensation Trails Light Up In The Western Sky, The First Stars In The Eastern

My roommate got a big kick out of being jet-lagged. For days after his return from Maryland, he walked around saying things like "It's already 2:30!" at twenty past noon or "Time to eat lunch" during the second half of Regis & Kelly.

I told him my best jet-lag story, the one where my ex-wife and I spent 22 hours rolling through some pretty feverish bouts of rapid eye movement in a sweltering, pungent Shanghai hotel room--a two o’clock snack of beer and boiled duck eggs; soft, greasy noodles for a 7:30 meal but we never knew if those were breakfast or dinner.

My roommate and I sat together in the backyard on flexible lawn furniture and told each other about airports and hotel rooms, cattle-car flights to Newark or DFW, foreign airlines and trans-Pacific showings of Rocky IV, our childhood trips by air when stewardesses gave us real pilots' wings and trips to the cockpit, when our mothers wore hats and gloves to fly.

The sky was green above the horizon and we talked about Philippine volcanoes and the extinction of species. We listened to the cicada thrum and wondered how loud a sound would have to be to register on radar. We thought about the beacons that webbed the sky above us, the connections between control towers and pilots cutting through the ether, and we thought about satellites standing in synchronized orbit, all the ships at sea, and the California Zephyr twelve hours out of Denver at 80mph with only a few dim lights in the club car.

I stayed out there after it got dark but my roommate, he stood up and went inside. I heard him say, "It's really 11:45 for me."

1 comment:

  1. And as long as I'm in St. Louis and you're there, I will always be one hour behind you, yet we're all happening in the same place right now. Crazy.

    You really don't make Chinese cuisine sound all that appealing. Were you aware of this? ;-)