As I write this, my iPad tells me it’s 11:24 pm. My watch, set to arrival in Frankfurt, Germany time, informs me it’s really 8:24 am. My head says it just doesn’t care.
I did my research ahead of time and read that “heading east” over several time zones is the toughest adjustment to make. Having no experience other than today, I agree.
At first the flight was an adventure. Mom and I scootched into our seats (she on the aisle, me next to her (with two strangers to my right). Hmmm…more room on this Lufthansa 747 than in the Hawaiian Airline planes I’m used to flying on for my only other experience in long flights. More leg room, seat bottoms with enough padding and nifty seat back entertainment. But that screen…it is just the perfect distance from my eyes to make my glasses ineffective unless I tilt my chin up and look down through the lenses. I take the glasses off.
The intended plan was to set our watches to Amsterdam time (nine hours ahead) as we board and “act” like it was really that time. Great plan. Tough execution. With a 3:05 pm departure time in Los Angeles, that meant we should be “behaving” like it was just after midnight. Right. Hop into your seat and fall asleep immediately. Not gonna work.
The flight attendants didn’t help, bringing by drinks, little pretzel/cracker snack bags and then a full meal (I chose the pasta, ‘should have had the chicken; it came with mashed potatoes and gravy and I *love* mashed potatoes). Sigh.
Those in our row eat like a quartet of Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaurs: we each carefully tuck our elbows into our sides so as not to bump into the stranger next to us and carefully bring the pasta/chicken/salad/bun up to our faces with elbows bent at tight angles.
Warmed washcloths were passed out next, along with sherry or Bailey’s Cream. I opted out of the liquor and popped another “No-Jet-Lag” pill. That should definitely soothe and put me to sleep. Nope. Do you think those little pills are actually Tic-Tacs going icognito (at five times the price)?
I tucked my head into my pillow, pulled up my pashmina to my chin, slid the turquoise eyeshades (hey, they match my pashmina!) over my head and readied myself for a nice sleep. Hawaiian music played softly in my earbuds and I curled up, waiting for a timely visit from Mr. Sandman. And waited. And waited.
Lifting the eyeshades off I glanced at the monitor in front of Mom (I’d turned mine off). What? We had seven hours and 11 minutes left? We were only over the midwestern US???
I’m a patient lady. I lowered my eyeshades (do you think the turquoise color was entertaining for my fellow passengers?) and headed for some more shut-eye. I was careful to keep leaning to my left, where Mom sat. On the other side was a nice young guy from Austin, heading to Ghana for three weeks to do an economics internship. He likes action movies. We share foot space. I don’t really need to know him any better than that so I continue leaning left as I struggle to sleep.
Okay, by now I’m certain we’re surely over Ireland and almost there. I peek out again. Other passengers are bleary-eyed, watching videos; some are frustratingly sleeping calmly. Show-offs.
Mom’s screen still shows our plane’s location. And the time remaining in the flight: four hours and 52 minutes. Egads!
I give up and watch a movie (“Bend it Like Beckham”). I turn on the “flight exercise” program on and do ankle circles, shoulder shrugs and lift up my head “like a marionette on strings” to the animated instructions on screen.
As I write this, we have one hour and 48 minutes left. My excitement right now is that I see the flight attendant walking down the aisle, passing out more of those warm washcloths. I rejoice. Has life dropped to this level? A moist paper washcloth, heated in a microwave and handed to with little tweezers by a German woman is a thrill.
At this point, it’s those small pleasures.
(Posting this from Frankfurt Airport; we have a 2-hour layover. See, we made it off that plane!