…Flash of white light. Not to be confused with errant, tired electrical impulses trying to find a way out in a mangle of nerve endings and causing what is normally known as a headache. It is definitely a flash of white light – because that is what my eyes see, when they attempt to make sense of the skyscraper outside my 19th floor hotel window in downtown Seattle. They (my mutinous eyes) suddenly view a red bus climbing up the glass and steel structure of the skyscraper in front of me. I am worried…4 consecutive nights of little or no sleep have knocked me off-kilter. I am seeing things.
Hang on! Is that a bagel stand next to the bus or is it just my stomach joining the mutiny? The alarm on my mobile blares announcing to the world its redundancy in the current state of affairs. I let it blare. Right now flight details, travel schedules, meeting dates are pirouetting and colliding in my head like amateurs in a ballet class. Will be in Rosevile on Thursday… wait a minute … was that Wednesday? That actually depends on whether today is Tuesday. If today is Tuesday then didn’t I have to be in Denver on Monday? I have no clue. The days are melting into the nights which are taking flight with the heavy avian traffic in the mornings. Sigh. Will this twilight ever end?
I have no time to complain. My mobile has given up and fallen silent, screensaver hung in defeat. I feel like joining it – raising the white flag and no longer bear this mantle of sleep-deprived (or always-on – depends on how you wanna see it) heroism that has been thrust on my swimming head. I feel myself teetering forwards – as if drawn towards the bagel stand which now has made its way to the 19th floor of the building opposite mine. Balance is close to being lost. I grab hard at the study table littered with boarding-pass stubs, taxi receipts and gum-wrappers. My face stops inches from the cold glass…my breath creating a mirror image of my cloudy mind.
I straighten myself, stand with my legs apart and raise my arms till they are horizontal. I look up to the mocking sun peeking from behind the building in front – stare into its center – and with defiance shake my head from side to side. As if saying no to the tiredness. I cannot afford to be tired. I cannot afford to be woozy. I am on the frontline and armed with a phone and laptop I am here to save the world. I cannot let my people down. They depend on me. The sun gets scared and slinks behind a cloud. Or is it just my eyes finally giving in.
Whatever it is…it is clear as day, that I am losing my mind. Welcome to the life of a redeye traveler.