There are moments where I love the blackout shades in a hotel and now is one of them. It is the middle of the day in Jerusalem but my body hasn’t quite figured that out yet and I am exhausted.
It is a different sort of fatigue that extends beyond jet lag into something else. I call it “Jack is an idiot who forgot that he can’t stay up for 72 hours straight anymore.” Truth is that I never could do that without paying some sort of price but it was certainly much easier when I was in college.
That’s not me waxing nostalgic about a past that never was. It is not me trying to convince you that had I not blown out my knee I would have been a professional athlete. I never have blown out my knee and I never came close to playing pro ball in any sport. I was always a good athlete and at my age now I am better than quite a few of the fellas but that is because unlike those weekend warriors I never stopped playing.
The only reason I mention any of this is to establish that I understand that we have a tendency to romanticize the past and I am not doing it here. What I am doing is trying to figure out what the hell I was thinking in not making sure that I acclimated to the time change as quickly as possible. I am not a rookie traveler and have been fortunate enough to have traveled all over the world.
What I am now is a man who is babbling because I over extended myself and for reasons of stupidity I am beyond exhausted. I have spent the past hour trying to fall asleep and I just can’t do it so I am sitting on my bed with may laptop in my lap.
It is getting pretty hot down there in happy land and I swear I can hear C. Everett Koop, the old surgeon general warning me that too much heat is bad for sperm counts. It leads to a strange chain of thoughts because I don’t remember Koop ever talking about that but the thought of sperm leads me to whales which leads me to Moby Dick.
I am laughing hysterically now because I thought of Moby Dick and the laptop is located close to mine. It is the kind of thing that won’t ever be funny to anyone else and isn’t worth explaining. But fatigue is the best drug and I am laughing so hard my stomach aches.
Finally I compose myself and I start flipping through my email and see that someone has sent me a video montage of Saturday Night Fever
The clip ends and I get lost in a memory from long ago. Ann and I are at a party. She is wearing this red dress that shows a lot of leg, a pearl necklace and pearl earrings. I am in a black suit wearing a pair of very shiny shoes. The two of us are on the dance floor and I am feeling kind of goofy and doing a silly impression of Travolta. “You know I love you, but you look more like Horshack than Vinny Barbarino.”
“Baby, it is ok, I have a note from Epstein’s mother that says she thinks I am a great dancer.”
“Well maybe she’ll take you home tonight and you’ll get lucky.”
I have this very witty response about her wearing her grandmother’s pearls and how that would make her Epstein’s mother but I decide not to say it. Ann has a great sense of humor but making a comment about a woman’s appearance can be dicey and I do want to get lucky tonight so I keep my mouth shut.
Loud noises from the hallway interrupt my trip into the past and I get lost eavesdropping on a conversation between a husband and wife who have just checked into the hotel. It is their first trip to the “holy land” and she couldn’t be more excited. Every few moments she shouts “Jesus, I am so glad to visit your home” or some variation thereof. In between these bouts of praise I hear her husband mutter something about her having packed rocks in her suitcase.”
I desperately want to open the door to see if they fit the image I have in my head because what I see is the stereotypical picture of a tourist to Israel. But I can’t quite muster the energy to get off the bed. They must be checking into the room next to mine because the noise seems endless.
The giddy laughter of a few minutes before has passed and now I am just cranky. All I want to do is sleep but they can’t stop making noise and she can’t stop thanking Jesus for letting her visit his home.
Finally I shout, “Jesus says go the fuck to sleep!”
The silence that follows shocks me and I finally fall asleep.