We just returned from visiting The Kraken at his high school on the east coast. Every year as Parents Weekend approaches and my wife coordinates the flights and related logistics, I fail miserably.
I fail miserably to comprehend the magnitude of the impact the “Here is your itinerary for your upcoming trip!” Jet Blue auto-email will have on my aging body and mind.
Perhaps the failure here is not in the comprehending, but in the remembering. I have forgotten or maybe repressed how brutally the redeye ravages my circadian rhythm. I foolishly purchased one of those blow-up travel sleeping pillow thingies a few weeks back, as if that would somehow make things perfectly cool. As we taxied down the SFO runway, I knowingly overdosed on melatonin, jammed blue foam earplugs so deeply into my ear canals that those canals may never return to their former shape, and flirted with passing out while hyperventilating into the blow up pillow to achieve the perfect inflation point. I stopped forcing everything I had in my lungs into the black monstrosity (which smelled very much like the plastic inner tubes my childhood buddies and I careened down Syracuse’s snowy Reservoir) only when my eustachian tubes crackled alarmingly and I realized that I would momentarily burst the majority of the blood vessels in my eyeballs.
Satisfied with the device’s turgidity, I then spent the next hour or so wrestling with the contraption. I abandoned any sense of dignity within the first 5 minutes of this epic battle. My wife rolled her eyes the moment I pulled the to-be-inflated pillow from its little case in my backpack. (I abandoned any sense of dignity with her years ago.) But I felt the intense heat of my fellow passengers’ stares and judgment all over me as I grappled with this chemical off-gassing bastard likely mutating my DNA strands every time I took another big inhale and wrapped my arms around or inside or all twisted up like an improperly-performed Bikram Yoga Eagle Pose. Nothing worked. We landed in Boston several hours later, and I hadn’t done anything even remotely close to sleeping. I was wired and exhausted. And of course I stupidly combatted that with a giant Dunkin Donuts coffee.
My body clock and I are no longer on speaking terms, at least for the foreseeable future. It will require several days to recover some semblance of an equilibrium. My immune system is laughing at me. If I don’t succumb to whatever super-virulent strain of the flu is making its rounds in San Francisco over the next few days, it will be a medical miracle.
And of course it is all so totally worth it.
I will forget about the awful redeye again next year. I will bravely do battle with the chromosome-bending and eustachian tube-blowing inflatable airplane “pillow.” I will embrace my starring role in other passengers’ “you’re never gonna believe what this jackass was doing on my flight” dinner table conversation the next day.
I will do all of these things.
But not because of the cherished moments in full Fall Foliage regalia with our 17 year-old son whom we see so infrequently that it hurts my heart to type these words. Nah. Rather, it was worth it because the state of my sleep-addled reptilian brain led directly to landing, at long last, a pair of tickets to “Hamilton!” Had my body not been completely out of whack on Sunday night (as my wife snored blissfully next to me), I wouldn’t have been numbly scrolling through emails and tweets and Instagram posts at the exact moment that the online lottery email snuck in and told me: At 1:00am EST, that it is “my turn” after waiting in a digital line all day and behind (literally) 95,000 other people waiting to buy the same tickets! Bleary-eyed but nimble-fingered, I found some dates that worked, gritted my teeth a bit at the prices, and pulled the trigger.
So you see, this sleep deprivation is working great for me. So I’m gonna stick with it, see where it takes me. At least until Parents Weekend 2019 rolls around.
Thanks for reading.