Thursday, July 31, 2008
Going Tubular Across Continents
I'm still frozen in a hermetically sealed tube, hurtling through space.
I arrived back home in the Great Northwest, which, btw, had just endured/enjoyed pelting rain, less than 24 hours ago. Traveling 28 hours non-stop (does a three-hour layover and two hours on the tarmac at JFK count as a stop?) is probably the closest a being with a heart-beat comes to The Big Sleep. Thankfully, I was granted every intercontinental jet-setter's dream space, literally: business class. That meant that El Al provided me a nearly-flat seat in which to float in undefined time-space for twelve hours of twilight. Almost like sedation with trips to the bathroom.
However, once I arrived home, I did upload my photos. Haven't looked at them yet, but given that my entire trip to Israel of two years ago--all 1368 photos of it--were lost to a corrupt photo card, I was compelled even in my stupor to upload. To three computers. And back it up on my external hard drive.
Then, I tried to sleep for the first time since Jerusalem in my own bed. All I could do was lie there and think, "the last time I was truly horizontal was in the City of David." Or such. And of course, I woke up a couple hours later trying to figure out exactly which direction the bathroom was in.
I was pleasantly surprised, however, when, two hours afterward in the daylight, I looked over to see the large display on my digital clock-radio. In Israel, hotel rooms do not have any clocks. And, given that I left for my trip without a wristwatch, I'd spent ten days wondering if I was late. Or, what time it was. So used to relying on my cell-phone for the hour, I stupidly neglected to revert to the time-piece that used to reside where I now display wardrobe-coordinated bracelets. The angst of asking my husband for the time prevailed as my fear of irritating him grew with each request. Finally, I succumbed to watching others in our group, fox-like, for signs that we should hurry back to the bus. And I learned new flexibilities in order to read the watch on my husband's wrist while he slept.
The return flight, bereft of marked minutes or miles, was an experience of surrealism that undoubtedly is reflected in the dizziness of my present prose. I do hope my orientation improves, just as I look forward to improvement of another Israeli souvenir I unintentionally acquired, of the intestinal variety. Not a pretty picture, hurtling through space with a bacterial buddy.
Still, (though not for long) I must marvel at the bizarre yet miraculous ability, to go tubular from one continent to another halfway across the world in a single bound (okay, a couple single bounds--but the Superman allusion is apt). I am constantly amazed that we can not only FLY, but zip at 35,000 feet, high above the clouds. And I hope to share with you some of the other lofty events and anecdotes of the Holy Land, once I find my way down to earth and, ahem, to the bathroom...