I have a problem. I am a problem sleeper. Not in the traditional sense, though I am considered a night owl by a lot of folks, including my early bird husband who would be happy to call it a night at 8:30 pm every night. Hey, my night is just starting at 10 pm when everyone goes to sleep—it’s quiet and the dog and I are all alone. Pure bliss. No, my problem is that I fall instantly asleep on any mode of transportation where I’m not actively in charge of its function.
Life hasn’t always been this way; in fact, I remember a couple of very long 13-hour trans-Pacific flights to and from New Zealand where I couldn’t sleep. No, it’s a recent phenomenon that’s slowly been creeping up on me over the last few years. Perhaps it’s a sign of aging; the elderly do tend to sleep a lot in moving vehicles. I remember my grandmother’s mouth hanging open as we would make multi-state drives to visit my uncles and their families, with Lionel Richie and Chicago tapes playing in the background.
The problem for me is, like my grandmother, my mouth hangs open, and my head tends to bob. This is rather comical because as my head bobs, I scare myself awake. Yes, I can admit this because it is rather funny and I’m not above making fun of myself. It’s only a matter of time before I’ll be walking through the grocery store farting out loud and not caring. Just wait!
I recently took my kids with me to Washington, DC, for the Safe Kids Conference. My coalition director has wanted me to go for years and my kids are finally old enough to handle themselves alone for conference sessions (and they even attended one with me on pedestrian safety!). I was asleep on the plane before we were out of our airport’s airspace. They thought it was funny—even took pictures of me, little buggers. I had a good excuse though: we had to be up at 3:30 am to get ready to leave for the airport to catch our leaving-at-the-butt-crack-of-dawn flight. I had no excuse for the return flight, however. Yep, out like a light as soon as we were in the air. I do remember hearing the captain coming on the loudspeaker to say, “Flight attendants—sit down!” My drowsy response to my kids was, “Hold on to the iPads,” then I promptly went back to sleep.
I used to enjoy being a passenger to catch up on magazine reading and blog work or other computer work. I can’t even imagine reading a book now since I can’t get through a magazine article. A chapter of a book? Fuhgeddaboutit. So share with me—I can’t be the only one for whom a moving vehicle is better than Ambien. Do you snort yourself awake in public places? Does your family make fun of you because you can get comfortable nearly anywhere, or at least comfortable enough to nod off? We must unite! But after our naps, please!