10 stupid things I’ve done while jet-lagged

Posted on
Jan 29, 2010

So, my hubby described my post yesterday as “provocative.” I disagreed, and there might have been some jumping up and down to emphasize my point. But while my intention had been to give shout-outs to the awesome bloggers, I think there was too much focus on my part on the negative side of of things (hell, it was a Dick Move! post, after all). I got a lot of emails and messages from people apologizing, thinking that they had offended me (note: don’t start unfollowing people on the same day you said you unfollowed someone who pissed you off. It’s a recipe for disaster. Including some notes from a few people who said, “What the heck? I’m not even a travel blogger. Why are you mad at me?”). So, in short, I want to say that I love you all, and stop worrying: it wasn’t about you. It really wasn’t.

And just to be on the safe side, I’ve decided to make it clear who I’m talking about in this post. It’s about me. Most specifically, about the stupid things I’ve done while jet-lagged or half-asleep. And I promise, all of these stories are true and unembellished. Looking through them, I realize that it sounds like I might be a little off, but keep in mind that my sleep deprivation in each of these cases was pretty damn extensive.

Wait ... wheres my hotel again? And who are you?

Wait ... where's my hotel again? And what's that thing sticking out of my head?

  1. I hallucinate. I’m not really sure if it’s sleep-walking, and I just wake up about halfway through, or if it can be considered a hallucination. Last time this happened, we were in Munich, and I was curled up on the bed, freezing, and asking Rand why he had turned on so many fans.”Honey, there aren’t any fans on.”OH, but there were. I was staring at them. Tiny little rotating fans, hundreds of them, located all around the room. I became adamant, and angry. Why couldn’t he see them?! He gently came over and hugged me, and I was screaming about the fans, and on the last scream, I suppose I was loud enough to wake myself up, at which point one of the fans I was staring at melted into the wall and was gone.

    “Holy shit …” I said quietly. “What the hell am I talking about?”

    “I don’t know,” Rand replied. “I usually don’t.”
  2. I forget where I am. I suppose this is pretty common to people who travel a lot. But I get it bad. Last time we came back from a trip, I went to the grocery store, and then went home. To an apartment we haven’t lived in for years. I sat there in front of the building thinking, “Something’s not right here.”
  3. I start misplacing things. But not in a normal way. Once, I left the remote in the fridge. Another time, I left cheese inside a drawer. When Rand couldn’t find the salt, and I casually told him, “Oh, it’s in the bathroom.”
  4. I sleepwalk. Perhaps worse than the weird “at-least-I-haven’t-left-the-bed” hallucination is the time I woke up while standing on the bed, trying to open a window (at the time, we lived on the fourth floor. You can see why this might be a problem). Fortunately, I wasn’t anywhere near a window, so instead Rand just found me flailing at the air above him.

    “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” he yelled.

    At that point, I woke up, freaked out, and started bawling. No, really.


    You know those stories about how you should wake up sleepwalkers? Those are very, very true. In Rand’s defense, he woke up to find his wife standing on the bed and screaming, so I forgive him.
  5. I rearrange paintings. Okay, truthfully, this should be categorized under sleepwalking, but it’s so weird, I made it it’s own number. A few years a go we had a painting on the wall that I evidently did not like. Truth be told, it kind of freaked me out (it had people without faces on it).

    One night (after returning from Europe) I apparently got up and put the painting on the floor. The next day I woke up, figured the painting had fallen and put it back where it was.

    The night after that, I apparently got the painting, took it off the wall (and this thing is HUGE), carried it to the living room, and placed it on the coffee table. I had no recollection of doing so. But the next day, when I got up and saw the painting sitting on the coffee table, I nearly peed my pants. Since then, the painting has resided in a closet.
  6. I forget people’s names. I know, I know – this probably doesn’t seem like a big deal. “I do that all the time,” you’re thinking. The thing is, I don’t do it all the time. In fact, I not only remember people’s names, but the outfits they were wearing on a particularly day, where they went to high school, and any other random details they might have shared with me. My memory is so extensive and flawless, Rand has told me to tone it done, because it freaks people out. So I pretend not to remember them or the date of their cat’s birthday.

    But sometimes, if I’m tired enough and jet-lagged enough, I forget people’s names. And not the names of say, random people. I forget the names of my closest friends. And relatives. I called Chrissy “Christy” several times one night before thinking, “That ain’t right.” I full-on forgot my cousin’s girlfriend’s name (and they’ve been together for years). I hugged someone hello and realized and I had no idea what to call them.


  7. I get lost very, very easily. My sense of direction is bad enough on its own. When I’m tired, I’ve literally forgotten where my husband works (I’ve driven there roughly 100 or so times) or what street my friends live on (again, to places I’ve been 100s of times before). Once, the day after coming back from London, I went into bathroom of my favorite store and wondered how the ladies inside could pee while standing up. After a few seconds I realized: this was the men’s room.


  8. I have phone conversations I don’t remember. In all fairness, this seldom happens to me anymore, but was a frequent occurence in the sleep-deprived years of high school. I’d have phone conversations with people and have zero recollection of them (I’d occasionally wake up and wonder why the phone was next to my bed, though). This got me into seriously trouble when I started making plans to meet my friends and would later stand them up because, to me at least, the conversation never happened.
  9. I become very concerned about things that don’t matter. Lack of sleep often leads to a lack of perspective in my life. Consequently, I have trouble prioritizing what’s important and what isn’t. I’ll clean the lint trap of the dryer, but forget to put the milk away. Or I’ll start trying on and throwing out clothes, because I figure it’s time to clean out my closet … at five in the morning.
  10. I get a weensy bit emotional. I once was harassed by the guy checking passports in at Heathrow airport. He wanted to know why I didn’t have my return ticket printed out for my flight back to the U.S. the following week. I tried explaining to him that was impossible, since most airlines don’t let you print out your return boarding pass until 24 hours before the flight. He kept interrogating me and threatened not to let me in to London since there was no proof I was going to leave.

    Now, had I been less tired, I might have screamed something like, “NO PROOF? How about I enjoy good dental care?! Is that enough PROOF that I’ll be returning to the states, CAPTAIN SNAGGLETOOTH?”

    But instead, I just started crying. He eventually let me into the country, and I didn’t get arrested for yellow at a customs official. So I suppose it was for the best.

But … I can’t be the only one, right? Right? So please, please – if you’ve got stories about your own crazy jet-lagged neuroses, share them below, and let me know that I am not alone.

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