Rant Written While Trying to Stay Awake on a Plane for the Purposes of Going to Sleep Later

I’m sitting on an airplane coming back to New York from Japan by way of Taiwan (wrong direction but the connecting flight made it cheaper), and the lights are off and lots of people are sleeping, which is aggravating me a little bit because I’m trying to line up my circadian rhythms here and it’s the middle of the day in New York. Part of why I’m writing this thing is to blast my face with some kind of bright light at least. But the quiet-time environment is too much. This scene is dead. Some folks are just good at sleeping, sitting up in chairs and going lights out like they’ve got a switch. The rest of us are all playing along to the wishes of our sleep-rich overlords, keeping quiet to ourselves. There’s no community for us waking folk. There’s no daytime cafe car we can go to. Someone across the plane has a window seat, and she’s the one person who’s got the window cracked to let in the earthly sun of wherever over the North Pacific we are, and she’s a hero to me, but I don’t take that as an invitation to talk or anything, she’s just a waking-person icon doing her own thing and giving hope to me and my imagined community of people like me here.

Those who can sleep whenever they want are pretty damn cocky about it. “You can sleep on the plane,” or “you can sleep on the train,” or “you can sleep in the car,” people like to tell me, whenever they’re trying to convince me to adopt a sleep-deprived schedule. But nah, those are your abilities, not mine. I can drift off periodically in a very unsatisfying manner, with seven minutes minutes of idle fatigue or grogginess to every one minute of real sleep, or I can just call the whole damn thing off, do something useful with my time, and sleep at night like a human animal.

Another person just cracked the window for a second, right near me. It’s bright as shit out there, I got a taste of the good stuff for just a second. I guess I just have to suffer through a full sleepless “night” of this? Are we going to squander all the good light? There’s a breakfast scheduled for later, after sundown outside. Are they going to serve coffee and congee, then release us all into the 10pm night to immediately go to sleep? What’s the fucking story here?

Who knows, man? I just gotta do what I do. Ain’t nobody give a shit about my problems.

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