Friday, August 17, 2012

Time For More Pushups

In retrospect I figure I should have tried to get some pushups in on the flight from Tokyo to New York. These days that would likely count as suspicious activity and I might have been taken in for questioning, the perfect premise for the kind of story that in our society merits national attention (assuming I could somehow get the incident up on YouTube). Then I could parlay the whole thing into a blitzkrieg of traffic to my writing endeavors. What the heck, it's easier than figuring out SEO.

Instead I planned ahead and blitzkrieged my knuckles in the week leading up to my August 15th flight - 4,150 pushups in seven days already clogged with birthday stuff for my son, packing for the trip home, and taking care of the kids while my wife ran all over town trying to get done what would be borderline impossible once her wedded babysitter was gone. I'd also cranked out 2,600 pushups the first four days of August to make up for the zero I was planning to do on a three-day camping trip with the family starting the 5th, so overall I would have no quarrel with my conscience about planting myself in seat 43D and watching movies for 13 hours.

What I didn't plan for was how long my day off was going to last.

I was flying out of Tokyo-Narita at 11:00am on the 15th - which for someone living up in Fukushima means either a hotel near the airport the night before or, for cheapos like me, an overnight bus. The bus makes good economic sense; combine your transportation and accommodation costs into one low price. But the seats only recline so far, and with all your extra clothes in your bag in storage in the bowels of the bus it's hard to fend off the air conditioning and get any real sleep. I wasn't about to even try to catch a snooze during my four-hour wait at Narita Airport for fear of sleeping through boarding, and I've never been able to catch any meaningful shut-eye on a plane. Then a friend picked me up at JFK, we caught some lunch and talked about some potential business, and he dropped me off at the train station so I could get to Penn Station and then to Jersey where another friend (the first friend's sister, actually - what a great family) would pick me up and drive me home. By the time I dragged my luggage into the house it was after six pm - and still (again?) August 15th. After wolfing down the other half of my lunch for dinner I felt the sandman hanging on my shoulders, but hitting the sack meant, I figured, waking up at three or four in the morning and I was determined not to let jet-lag win this time. So I stayed up until 11:30. That made it fifty-two hours since I woke up in Fukushima on August 14th, with only a couple of hours of catnaps.

The sun was shining bright the first couple of times I woke up and fell back asleep. When I did crawl out of bed I looked outside and thought the shadows under the trees in the yard seemed pretty far along. In the kitchen, still a bit bleary, I looked at the clock. Twenty after one? Wow, I guess... Something looked weird. I took a closer look.

Five minutes past four.

What do you eat at a time like this? Breakfast?

I managed five hundred pushups before going to bed at 2:30 in the morning. They'd all count toward the August 16th total - I mark my days by when I wake up and go to bed, not by the stroke of midnight. After an hour of lying wide awake in the dark I conceded - jet-lag wins again - and I got up out of bed.

It's now five in the morning. I figure I'll stay up all day and go to bed late evening again - and hope my system wakes up at a reasonable morning hour on Saturday. Fifty-two hours awake, sixteen asleep, thirty hours awake... I feel like I'm in one of those biosphere experiments.

I didn't fall asleep, but I did go to bed a while ago. So now starts a new day as far as the pushup count goes.

I have to go get my car inspected today. I wonder if I'd get in trouble for doing pushups in between the lines of waiting vehicles.