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Virginia Heffernan, You Have Misled Me.

There’s a current opinion piece in the New York Times by Ms. Heffernan, entitled “How to Sleep on a Plane.” And it’s a lie, of course, as such pieces invariably are. But some of us take them seriously. Some of us see that title, get a rush of hope, and think “she is going to explain to me how to sleep on a plane.”

Yes, I know about Ambien. Unfortunately, all sleep aids cause me to fall into a weird, hallucinogenic stupor when used on aircraft. The closest I’ve ever come involved attaining actual sleep paralysis while reading a book about Whitey Bulger on a flight to San Francisco, which then resulted in fruitless, Dexter-victim-like attempts to poke the person next to me. It was almost certainly under five minutes, but it felt like several hours. If I hadn’t just read about sleep paralysis that week, I would have assumed I was having a stroke.

So, anyway, I have no particular ill-will towards Virginia Heffernan. And, after never having actually learned to maintain my motorcycle or make an American Quilt or train my dragon, I should clearly stop taking titles seriously.

Seriously, though, those of you who can sleep on planes, what is it? What is it that you do? If the answer is: those lie-flat beds on Virgin, keep it to yourself.


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