EST

September 11th, 2008

EST“When are you going to get back to our time zone?” Abbi asked.

The days following a long, cross-country business trip are always a bit hazy. Factor in the single-biggest, mission-critical, make-or-break event of the year, and a week of twelve-hour days culminating in an all-nighter and transcontinental flight and, well, you get the idea.

Hence, my wife’s inquiry Tuesday night as she drifted down the hallway to bed, while I sat on the couch channel surfing and flipping through magazines until well after three o’clock in the morning.

There is a jarring, big game-type feeling to working the Video Music Awards. You prepare all year, planning, strategizing and innovating for that big day. When it comes, you push and push and and leave everything out on the field. Win or lose (this year, we won, the days that follow are rootless, meandering, lost in translation. You pick up the pieces again, and reassemble your life.

Like the ten days of laundry on the floor. Or those contact lenses you need to re-order. Or the backlog of email and , un-returned phone calls. Or that pesky thing on you foot you want the doctor to check out.

And save for fire drills, work is a bit of a lost cause.

Yesterday, for example, I did the normally unimaginable. I grabbed a salad, walked to Bryant Park (forgetting it was Fashion Week), and read a while in the sunshine.

After work, Abbi and I met for a much-delayed birthday dinner. Pondering each successive course (More oysters? More sushi? More beer? More ice cream?), I voted yes, stating emphatically (if somewhat annoyingly), “It’s my birthday!”

Back home, we opened gifts, and — wrapping paper tossed asunder, dishes in the sink, and laundry fallow in the hamper — drifted down the hallway to bed at exactly 10:31 Eastern Standard Time.