I’m flying to Seattle in less than 36 hours, and I’d quite like to avoid jet lag while I’m there. On my last trip to London, I discovered the singular joy of a fresh set of clothes in my carry-on bag. Even having to change in an airport toilet, wearing clean unrumpled clothes did wonders for my wellbeing. Sadly, I touch down at Sea-Tac at 8am, then have to line up to face the grumpy belligerence of US immigration, rather than the robotic stare of the UK’s facial recognition system, and there’s nowhere I can think of to change between airport and office, unless my cabbie doesn’t mind me disrobing in the back of the car en route.
But a change of clothes is only very minor, compared with avoiding mucking up the rhythms of my body. (That makes me sound like a pretentious percussionist, but we all have our problems.) You can dose yourself with melatonin, you can drink and drink until you give your body the hard reset, but the most reliable thing I’ve known, and the hardest, is to just not eat.
This is difficult when you’re sat in a metal tube for hours on end with very little else to do apart from chew on the plastic food that is brought to you at every meal. I suppose it’s doable on a transatlantic flight, but with six hours from Singapore to Narita and eight more to Seattle, I’m really going to struggle to avoid eating for that long.
It’s not just that they have peanuts, that strange salty food that only tastes good to me at 30,000 feet. It’s that I’m flying Delta, who lack the kind of distractions BA bestow on the long distance flyer. I’m not expecting Django Unchained levels of violence or weakly disguised porno like the Look Of Love to be on the in-flight entertainment. It’s more likely to be three episodes of Two And A Half Men and some absolute bunkum. That’s not enough to distract me from my stomach.
Plus, flying on a weekday I’ll have that irrational guilt that I should be in the office being productive, even though I’m losing the weekend and flying towards an office anyway. There’s the unassailable feeling that you should be typing up a specification document Right Now, dammit, even if over the Pacific it’s more natural for you to be unconscious, drilling with your tongue hanging out as you lean on the shoulder of the poor guy next to you.
Hmm. Nice image. Will that be enough to put me off my food for 16 hours?