Sleeping on planes: a pastime for deities

Posted on
Jun 9, 2011

This man is a god:

What’s that? Er, no, I’m sorry. Not the man in foreground. The man in the foreground is my husband. He has many lovely attributes, of which “god-like” is not one. He is charitable and kind and good, and he often smells fantastic. While he is one of the best humans I’ve ever been fortunate enough to encounter, he is still human.

No, the man to which I refer is this one, here:

He is no mere mortal. Mortals cannot sleep on planes. Mortals require quiet surroundings and consistent altitudes to sleep. They need dark rooms devoid of screaming babies; to spend long hours free of screechy announcements from the cockpit. But this man? He required none of those things. Instead, he boarded our flight from Boston to Seattle, sat down, and within minutes, enjoyed the golden dew of sleep. And he did not stir. Not when the passengers next to him, imprisoned in their middle and window seats, finally gave up any hope that he would wake and climbed over him to use the facilities. Nor when the beverage cart lumbered down the aisle, crudely banging his elbow (for in his mindless oblivion, he did not hear the 120-decibal warning blaring from the speaker above, instructing him to tuck in his arms and legs). Through turbulence and smooth flying, through ascent and descent, from east coast to west, he slept.

He is no mere mortal.

Would that I had his power. In otherwise pitch-black hotel rooms, I find myself draping articles of clothing over every blinking light and digital screen (to the good staff of a-hotel-that-shall-remain-unnamed: I am sorry for slapping a pantyliner to the digital thermostat on the wall. The blinking lights were driving me crazy. Also, the pantyliner was clean.) I’ve worn earplugs to bed, because a sound in the distance, barely above a whisper when it reached me, was too much to endure. And I’ve have trouble falling asleep in the past because the sound of my blood pumping in my own ears was too much for me. All signs that I am not a by-product of countless years of evolution, as my lack-of-sleep should have rendered me eaten by wolves long ago.

If only we had a Prometheus, to steal this god’s gift of sleep and share it among us mere mortals. What would the punishment for such a crime be? Being chained upon a hill, forced to polish off plates of lukewarm coach airline food every day, only to have them reappear the next morning? Or maybe just a really long layover in Newark?

Alas, I realized I had no hope of being able to so effortlessly enter and exit unconsciousness. The moment the plane’s wheels hit the ground, his eyes opened. He rubbed them gently, and within seconds looked refreshed and wide-awake.

When Armageddon comes, I suspect he will be the last survivor. Long after the cries of the wretched, burning in hellfire, have died down, after the earth has been scorched and no trace of life exists, he will wake. Looking around, he’ll wonder what exactly happened while he slept. And finding no one around to answer his question, he might just roll over and catch a few more winks, because really, why not?

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