Temporal anomaly

Trip Start Jan 22, 2010
Trip End Feb 14, 2010

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Flag of Canada  ,
Friday, January 22, 2010

My brain got caught in one of those horrible circular anomalies last night, kind of like that Star Trek NG episode where they're all doomed to relive the same period of time over and over again until Picard intervenes to save the day.

I was half falling asleep when my mind became fixated on some really stupid detail which went round and round in my head -- I'm sure you know the type. You either lapse into fitful low-quality sleep or force yourself fully awake to end the madness.

Not surprisingly, my fixation was travel. Problem: Hong Kong is about 8 hours ahead of us, and the flight is 14 hours long, so 8+14=22 hours travel time. If I leave at 2 pm that means I should get in at noon on Sunday (2pm +22 hours). So why am I arriving at 8 pm?

My mind looped through this question -- and variations on it involving longitude and the earth's traverse around the sun -- from the time I stopped working at 12:30 am until after 2 am. Somehow I was convinced that my flight was in jeopardy.

I finally pulled myself awake enough to solve the riddle... Hong Kong is 8 hours BEHIND us! so when I leave it will be 6 am there. Add the 14 hour trip and you arrive at 8 pm. The jump over the international dateline adds the extra day.

It's tough imagining anyone cares about that, or thinks it belongs in a travelogue about a trip that hasn't even started yet, but my experience is that trips are odd and elastic things. One never quite knows when they start, and they definitely go on well after the plane has touched down back at home.

Trips themselves may just be temporal anomalies in the repetitive existence of our every day lives, but the strange eddies that make our minds return to the experiences of such journeys months, even years, after the experience has transpired, suggest to me that our existence is anything but linear.
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