Earlier this week I took a red-eye flight from Phoenix to the east coast. I’m not a fan of red-eyes and try to avoid them, but this was one of those last minute things that come up. It’s not that I haven’t flown a lot of red-eyes, I have. For a number of years when I was going back and forth from Phoenix to D.C. I would take the red-eye because it didn’t burn up most of a day to travel. I also am usually able to sleep on the red-eye.
Until this week. I was in the second row behind bulkhead, in the window seat. The guy in the middle seat was a “sprawler”, you know, the kind of person who takes up space from both seats on either side, using both armrests, knees pointed out, etc. So that had me cramped up against the window to start.
They dim the lights in the cabin and I’m settling in and flash! the overhead light for the seat right in front of me comes on, and it. is. bright! I try to ignore it for a few minutes and then look over the seat to see what’s going on. The girl with the light on is on her laptop – which has a lighted screen – so there is no reason for her to have the overhead light on. Of course, I don’t say anything.
I try to settle back in and get some rest when, bam! the person behind me kicks the back of my seat… hard. I don’t think much of it until three minutes later it happens again and then again and again and again every few minutes. Apparently, the girl had put her tray table down, curled into the fetal position, with her feet being supported by the tray table, but she was twitching and moving constantly and since her feet were right on the back of my chair, I felt every move she made!
I decided to put my tray table down and lay my head down so the seat movement wasn’t as disturbing. Just as I’m relaxing I hear, ever so faintly, that sound… you know, the one that comes right before, well… that smell. It came from the guy sitting in the middle seat in the row in front of me, and, unfortunately, with my head down on the tray table, my nose is uncomfortably close to the source.
So now I’ve got the bright light, the rocking chair, and this ongoing stench (he was just warming up). I try to block the smell by putting my shirt over my nose, but it only helps marginally. Despite the noxious distractions, I begin to relax and I’m just slipping into that fuzzy place between consciousness and sleep when, ZZZZZZZ!
Now, this wasn’t just some wimpy snore, this was a monster snore – and it was coming from sprawler right next to me.
By this time, we’re almost two hours into the 4 hour flight, and I decided to just give up. I pulled out my iPod, covered my nose and watched re-runs of Mad Men.
Remind me not to take another red-eye…