At least seven hours are necessary…

Last night on my flight to Frankfurt I watched only one movie, The Intern, before falling asleep. Usually I manage a few more, but in my defence, it’s been a hectic week…The Intern was a nice, feel-good movie and I particularly loved the meeting of old school (De Niro) and new school (Hathaway). Although this has nothing to do with the film’s plot, the fact that a woman who sleeps less than six hours a night will gain weight more easily than one who sleeps for seven hours, was mentioned twice. Strange, but noted – at least seven hours are necessary.

Isn’t it also strange, that despite being at our most vulnerable when we are asleep, it is something we so easily fall into while on an airplane? This in spite of being in such a visible space, amongst hundreds of strangers, who could all be watching you? 

Observe a baby sleep and it looks so sweet and angelic. Watch a young child slumbering and you see contentment and peace. A leading lady awakens from her rest, and she doesn’t open her eyes looking like she needs to run an iron over her face. And then there’s me… Waking up from my plane-sleep feeling like I’m emerging from a drug-induced coma, puffy eyes, dry mouth, and having to negotiate with my personality for a good half hour that now is not the time to disembark.

Can you imagine…hundreds of sleeping passengers, and then everyone wakes up? I guess last night on the flight from Johannesburg we were all in it together, and at least all the lights were out!  But right now I’m on a short haul flight to London, and despite it being an eight am flight, again I find myself surrounded by sleepers?! 

I of course am wide awake and cheerful, despite having pretty much walked from Africa this morning to catch this flight… Okay, so really it was only from Zone Z in Frankfurt Airport, to Zone B, but it sure felt like one great trek, plus a few security hurdles thrown in.

Clearly the people on this plane have not gotten their six or seven (depending on dietary goals) hours in, as wherever I look there are heads tilted back, mouths open; heads tilted forward, chin on chest; over there a head lolling to side lilt; and a chap up front doing the nod-nod-nod, loll-forward, whiplash-into-wake-up, and then look-surprised-to-be-here routine.

Obviously I also have two sleepers to my left, one of whom is snoring. To be honest, in the interest of observing the personal space rule, I’ve not yet established if Mr Window Seat or Miss Middle Seat is the culprit. They both have their heads thrown back, mouths open and are looking ever so peaceful, and ever so unaware. How is it possible that someone can look so peaceful, whilst making such a horrendous noise? 

The gent sitting diagonally across from me looks back in disgust… I offer a smile, trying to connect in an ‘how awkward for them’ moment, and am gifted with a stoney glare. Ah yes, it’s Mr Miserable. I recognise him now. That’s the raging bull in the bright orange jacket that nearly wiped out the unassuming little Japanese lady while charging the boarding queue… perhaps he should be the one taking a nap? The Japanese lady doesn’t seem to be harbouring any grudges, as she too has succumbed two rows up, and it’s painfully obvious that the guy to my far right is also fighting a losing battle. On this flight we have even been graced with a grumpy purser, who clearly didn’t get his quota in. Goodness. I would have assumed if anyone on board  should be gracious, it would’ve been him.

It suddenly dawns on me that it’s not entirely impossible that the attitude at altitude problem on LH900 may just be down to me, and that it’s highly probable that I find myself still shy of those seven required hours…

Yes, I think that may be a good idea. Would you please excuse me while I join the communal on-board pursuit and snatch a quick snooze too?

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