Friday, October 22, 2010

Jet-Lagging Behind The Times 10/22/10

This jet-lag is a killer.

As I write, it is 7.30am in Spain, which means it is 10pm in LA. That is my excuse, anyway, for continuing to work my way through a giant pizza that I began about five hours ago, with the intention of consuming one small slice.

It is also my excuse for having watched two episodes of Murder She Wrote, one of Diagnosis Murder, and three episodes of Damages that I have already seen. Oh, yes, and a film called An Unexpected Love, in which a divorced woman falls for her lesbian boss. To be honest, the lesbian boss was a lot more attractive than the convertee, but I still had a cushion over my face when they hit the . . . well, it was the cushions, actually.

I have nothing against anyone being gay, but I’m just not keen on seeing full-on passion between anyone on TV. It’s not moral thing, it’s an artistic objection; I just don’t like the noises people make. It’s bad enough if you hook up with a slurper and grunter in your own life, without having to watch it all again in what should be the sanctity of your living room.

Since my arrival back in Europe, I’ve had a strange sensation of drifting in and out of consciousness. It’s been a very stressful few weeks in the US, which hasn’t helped, but after 11 hours in the sky, I feel like I did after the one and only time I had an anaesthetic: incredible highs, interspersed with mini comas. I fell asleep sitting upright at the computer last night. I wouldn’t have minded, had I awoken to find that my body had been taken over and I had composed the world’s greatest novel in my mental absence, but I didn’t; I came to, only to discover my chilli lodged in every orifice of my QWERTY and spent the next two hours picking it out with tweezers.

I am having trouble adjusting to what I can only call the RFE (Reverse Facebook Effect), too. Being eight hours behind in LA, I am used to making contact with my UK friends either at midnight when they are getting up for work in the morning, or at lunchtime my time, to coincide with their evening. In my mother’s case, that is more complicated, because I have to schedule my contact between her viewings of Home and Away, Neighbours, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and EastEnders during the week, and then X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday and Sunday.

I finally managed to persuade her to get Sky Plus a couple of weeks ago, so that she could more easily record stuff and talk to me, or Facebook me at any time, without fear of missing anything. The problem is, she doesn’t trust it, terrified that every time she pauses a programme, she will miss out on the opportunity of seeing . . . Like I said, it’s just too complicated, and I fear that nothing short of moving back in with her after 35 years is going to solve the problem.

But I keep forgetting that I am now on European time and, because I have yet to adjust and am living my life in a semi-coma, I am contacting people at ridiculous hours. They’re just not very happy when I call at 6pm LA time, full of beans and thinking about my dinner, only to find that they have been asleep for at least two hours and now hate me for waking them up.

I don’t think I’m really helping myself on the readjustment, as my TV viewing remains pretty much as it is in the US; there really is nothing on UK TV, so I am just watching repeats of my favourite US shows on the cable channels – White Collar, Law and Order, CSI, Two and a Half Men etc. etc. – so it’s as if my brain is still telling me that I am in LA, because all the information associated with it is still being processed exactly as it was when I left.

Apart from my momentary coma lapses, I just can’t sleep. I’ve now been awake 24 hours, have written my Daily Mail column, plus an extra feature, and also started a new blog (which you should check out –, which I am hoping will attract advertising. It’s mainly out of necessity, having been landed in the deep financial shit in the US - which also isn’t helping with the sleeping – but writing has always, and continues to be a great purger.

Barely a day goes by now when I am not reminded of Edward Bulmer Lytton’s 19th century play, Richelieu, in which he asserts that the pen is mightier than the sword. Doubtless there will come a time when people won’t know what a pen is, and plays will be full of lines like “The Facebook is mightier than the Tweet”, but by then I will hopefully be long gone.

It really is strange, though, coming back to the UK news. When I left LA, all talk was about the campaigns in the race to be the next governor of California (from what I understood, the ugly, fat bird doesn’t stand a chance – that’s about the extent of my interest); in the UK, most people have been able to talk of nothing other than whether Wayne Rooney was going to stay at Manchester United, or defect to Manchester City.

Just when it looked as if the ugly, fat guy didn’t stand a chance, he appeared to give up the fight, but now all is apparently well, and the young, thick bloke, who sleeps with prostitutes, is staying on at a vastly increased salary.

There’s maybe hope for Meg Whitman in LA yet.

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