It’s 2am on Tuesday morning. We’re in Purton, UK, and my body clock is in Denver, where it’s 7pm on Monday evening. There was a time when a Body Clock Adjustment could be resolved with Beer Can Assistance but here I lie thinking I shouldn’t have been so gung ho about getting 12 hours’ sIeep the night before. It’s almost a week since we left Arizona’s winter for a brief stop in Denver on our way to a wet and cold UK.
Our trip began on November 22, leaving the warm Phoenix sunshine
For a slightly cooler Denver.
We anticipated much traffic and a busy airport on the day before Thanksgiving so we left the house, a 40-minute drive to the airport, almost 4 hours before flight departure. The roads were quiet, the airport no busier than usual. Bag drop was quick, security was quicker. Our 3 suitcases were on their way leaving us 3 hours to sit and wait for departure, slightly overdressed for the Arizona heat, in anticipation of the Colorado cold. No more shorts and T-shirts for the next 2 months.
“Wait until you get to Denver” we said “It’ll be very busy the day before Thanksgiving.” Unhurried quiet was everywhere in the airport as we collected our bags and made our way to the rental shuttle. Hertz has a new helpful policy: Hertz Ultimate Choice. “You choose the vehicle that’s right for you. There’s no need to search for a number or specific car in our lot. The car you choose is the car you drive.” There’s a simple beauty about being given a lot number. You find your number on the board, walk to the lot, get in the car and drive. Now, with Ultimate Choice, you agonize over “do I want a blue one, a grey one, this brand or that brand.” On and on wandering up and down the cars until 10 minutes later, in desperation, you pick the car next to where you left your suitcases.
We have use of a few days in a friend’s house while they’re out of the country. We decide against unpacking for such a short period and leave our suitcases opened on the dining room floor. I open my suitcase (one of the three is mine, sort of) to find a TSA “we opened your bag but our suspicions were unfounded” card inside. I’ve no idea what triggered it but assume it’s the big bag of tangled charger cables and charging plugs. Every device we carry has its own charging plug & cable: car GPS, phones, laptop, iPads, kindles, camera, and now watches.
Thursday is Thanksgiving and we’ve booked a table for brunch in a fish restaurant. “It should be quiet” I said “because everyone eats turkey on thanksgiving”. My potential career as a crystal ball gazer took one more step down the slippery steps of failure. We had to line up to check in to wait for our reserved table. Fortunately, we didn’t quite manage to sit down in the waiting area before we were called to our table. For the next 2 hours we weaved our way back and forth between tables and buffet tables in the packed restaurant with plate after plate of seafood.
The next day, Friday, we avoided Black Friday crowds and went to Red Rocks for some fresh air. The amphitheatre is 6,450 feet above sea level and there are 380 steps from bottom to top. And 380 steps from top to bottom. I ran up and down and my Garmin congratulated me on climbing what it thought was 6 flights of stairs.
On Saturday we flew to London. We again decided to get to airport early because “it’s the Weekend After Thanksgiving and it’ll be crowded”. This time we arrive 4 hours early and Denver airport is quiet. We checked in our suitcases and settled in for an even longer wait. To avoid another suitcase inspection I put the charger bag in a different suitcase.
London at 9am on Sunday morning is sunny and cold. Sarah picked us up at the airport and drove us to her house. At Sarah’s I opened cases to find another TSA “we opened your bag but our suspicions were unfounded” card inside. I’ve no idea what popped up on the x-ray; maybe it’s the large sack of Ass Kickin’ Chili Fixins I brought to warm me on these cold winter nights. This will remain a mystery until our return.
We have use of a Courtesy Car for the week. This begins the “I have to be nice to other motorists because it’s a courtesy car” line that I drag out at every opportunity.
Which brings me to 2am and I’m wide awake, the clock telling me it’s 2am and my body telling me no, it’s 19:00. I feel a long night coming on, with plenty of time to think.
Technology. My phone knows when I’m driving and won’t display messages, my watch knows when I’m asleep and grades the quality of my slumber by who knows what formula. We’ll see how it figured this night out when I eventually reach daybreak. The only bit not playing along in all this is my body, still insisting it’s yesterday evening.
We have a double bed at home wide enough to warrant its own zip code. In Europe I adopt a narrow side pose, on the edge of the bed, arm hanging over side, palm face down ready to break my fall in the event of being nudged over the edge.
It’s 3am and I’m thinking of song titles to help me sleep: Wednesday Morning 3am (it’s Tuesday); All Night Long (I hope not!); Here Comes The Night; Night Shift; Herbie Goins and the Nighttimers; The Night Has A Thousand Eyes.
Maybe I should stop typing now and start trying to sleep.