Friday, May 23, 2008
We have all some knowledge of our biological clocks – not the ones that tell us our libidos are under threat – the others, the ones that tell us to go to sleep. When we are jetlagged it is because we have contravened a basic regulatory mechanism in our cells. Our eyes don’t like light when it should be dark, our ears want to close up their trumpets and knock off from the all day concert, our limbs want lassitude and the last thing our noses want is the smell of unwashed companions as we are landing at a far away airport. Long flights to Japan, apparently, take a week or so for the body to adjust.
Thus, time takes us prisoner.
But research on mice (aren’t mice lucky to discover practically everything first!) has shown that this time-clock is not the only clock we have. There is a master clock whose tick is so deep we are unaware of it. It is our eating clock. If we begin to starve, its beat becomes all-pervading and drives away tiredness until we have scavenged or trapped or stolen something to stave off the pangs.
Before you think, “Ah, get that cotton ball, waterlogged leather and green sponge parody of food, that is served up in a polystyrene tray, down you,” stop and consider what these mice have to tell us. Go hungry! Refuse the Trojan gift. Wait, as the cabin fills with the siren-smells of the food trolleys, and buckle yourself like Odysseus to your seat and refuse it all. Now, with stomach rumbling and the eating clock firmly to the fore, you land in Tokyo and head off to the nearest sushi bar. Before you can say ‘gochisōsama’ in thanks as the last nipped rice particle leaves its chopstick for your mouth, you will be acclimatised.
You have eaten time.