Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Still in Hawaii

Nineteen years ago, following college graduation, Roger A. Hunt and I took a trip to Hawaii. It was my first time there. The first night, we sat on the balcony outside our hotel room and listened to Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead," watched the lights of Waikiki twinkle below us and imagined that we were on the cusp of beginning our lives as adults.

Two drunken weeks later, we groggily boarded a plane for home. We'd acquired huge sun tans, dove off of waterfalls, got ditched by two gorgeous, mobbed-up sisters from Las Vegas, and solemnly stood atop the final resting place of the U.S.S. Arizona, amazed that oil still leaked from the then-46-year-old hulk, spreading out onto the water's surface, leaving a little oil rainbow atop the wreckage.

Then we came home. Hunt did eventually begin his adult life, which, after several years of adult complications, plays itself out mostly from behind an oversized desk scattered with dense legal documents. I'm still working on the adult life part -- witnessed most starkly tonight when, reading the online version of the "Seattle Post-Intelligencer," I realized that a kid I once gave a "C" in Contemporary American Literature is now doing sports and general assignment reporting for one of Seattle's two major dailies while I scuffle away on the high school sports beat for the "San Francisco Examiner."

This morning, Sandra Bullock took the Jawa to school. It's something she likes to do once a week -- or perhaps "did" like to do, given the intensity of the argument they were having this morning as I drifted in and out of sleep -- and it allows me an extra day of sleeping in, something very dear to me.

Usually, on this day, I wake up around 8:30 and head out to the gym. But this morning, sometime between 7:25 and 9:00, I had a dream where someone was telling me not to bother trying to get anything done today, since all of the items on my "to-do" list are of little or no consequence. I snapped awake at 9:00 and decided to see how long I would sleep if I decided not to get out of bed until I was completely awake.

Normally, I awake at 7:00 each weekday, miserable, ill, angry, and thinking of only one thing, namely, how badly I wish I could go back to sleep.

This morning's experiment ended at 10:30. That's right, 10:30; restaurant worker wakeup time. I had gone to bed at 11:45 the night before. Even if you subtract time for the six or seven times I wake up during the course of a night, and the half-hour I was awake listening to Sandra Bullock and her Jawa argue in the morning, that's still a solid 9.5 - 10 hours of sleep.

Not that the overall total is important. What matters is that I woke up at 10:30, refreshed, reasonably happy, minus the angst that usually accompanies my mornings. I skipped my workout, but in doing so missed the part of the morning where I try to convince myself to skip my workout, counting on muscle memory to get me to the front door of 24-Hour Fitness.

And rather than drag myself through the morning's errands, I snapped to them. I was in and out of the shower in 15 minutes, out the door in 30. Errands complete in an hour, hit the library and ready to have lunch with Danger Girl at 12:30.

It's not that I'm lazy, or rather, this is not the conclusive proof that supports the theory that I am lazy. I'm just not wired to function during the same hours as normal people. I don't stay up too late anymore, but that's just because if I do I'm looking at hours and hours spent alone, haunting the night time. Also, I usually have to get up at 7:00, to get the Jawa to school.

Something happened to me during that 1987 trip to Hawaii. I think that when I returned, I remained on Hawaii time and continue to do so to this day.

It's ironic, because I'm no fan of Hawaii. When we were there in 1987, I branded it "the least hip place on earth." I have little use for days on end spent lying on the a towel, and I hate Hawaiian shirts. I'm not interested in Luaus and gigantic ferns don't impress me.

My neighbors down the street moved to Hawaii last year, after several years of deteriorating relations between us. As they prepared for the move, they put a lot of pressure on all of us to share their belief the there was no higher aspiration to hold than to move to Hawaii. I just couldn't board that train. Charley don't surf.

Regardless, I think when Roger Hunt and I went to Hawaii, I just stayed on Hawaii time, which has left me three hours behind the rest of the world (or at least, the world that exists in Pacific Time) ever since. This explains everything, even the weird hours I kept during the all-too-brief time I lived in Boston (in bed by 4, up by noon).

Now, of course, the challenge is to find a way to break the Hawaii Time Zone Hex. Is there a way I can join the rest of the world and recalibrate my inner clock to more closely resemble the Ben Franklin-esque ideal?

Or am I doomed to live my life three hours out of sync, a curse whose consequences I don't even like to think about?


Anonymous roger a. hunt said...

bauhaus on a "ghetto blaster" that served as one of our pieces of carry on luggage.

i can still feel/smell that dark, humid hawaiian air.


12:56 PM  
Anonymous marky said...

8:30am? - the day's almost over. It's amazing how doing 2 miles before breakfast can change your life.

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