I’m a country boy who likes to travel to the big city, wherever it may be. But by the time I return home, I need a vacation to recover from my vacation.

It starts with the time change. When I fly from the Pacific coast to the eastern U. S., I rationalize the three-hour time loss as a good thing — the clock says it’s midnight, but my body says it’s only 9 p.m. The change immediately screws up my pill-taking schedule, but I ignore that. I’m happy to wait for reality to set in, which it does the next morning — when I have to get up three hours earlier than usual.

Waking in the city, visions of coffee dance in my head. I live in the Northwest, where coffee is a sacrament. Maybe it’s the persistent cold rain, or the fact that there are umpteen independent coffee shack drive-thrus in every Podunk town, but I’m caffeinetically spoiled. If I can’t find a decent latte when I’m traveling, I devolve into Mr. Hyde.

But wait, let’s back up to my arrival and the ordeal of the hotel room. You know what I mean. Is the door sprung so tightly I need the Incredible Hulk to open it? Does the bed require polevaulting skills to access it? Does the roll-in shower have controls near the seat, or do I have to be Elastic Man to control the water temperature? Is the shower seat padded? No? In my hurry to make my flight, did I remember to pack my own shower-seat pad? I won’t go into the height of the toilet seat or its shape. I’ve always wondered what planet people with elliptical butts come from.

By the time I’m on the streets, coffeed up and ready to roll, I’m in full search mode, looking for the nearest elevator to the underground transportation system. Just a dozen or so city blocks away? No problem. I’ve got enough fuel in me to make it, as long as the sidewalk slope isn’t so severe that it wears out my low-side pushing arm. While geared into my one-armed workout, I pray the elevator will actually work when I get there. Or at least the call button. If all systems fail, I can always take a bus — if the lift works or the driver knows how to opera