January 18, 2007

Sleeping anywhere...

Sleeping anywhere is easy if you are tired enough. I was reading an article in the New York Times by Ashliegh Banfield, in which she talks about her adventures abroad reporting from one war-torn hell hole or another and how she has gotten very good at sleeping anywhere and pretty much anytime she needs or wants too.

I sympathize and it reminded me of a trip to Australia that I went on. It routed through Narita and I had a 6 hour delay between flights. It was the middle of the night in Tokyo and the departure terminal was almost completely devoid of people. It was a late night flight from SFO anyhow, and I hadn't slept well the previous night, meaning I was -very- tired. The small rental rooms with beds had been rented out and I could bring myself to grab a hotel room outside of passport control for only 3 hours of possibly sleeping time. I did what any traveller would do, find a comfortableish spot in the terminal and try to catch a cat nap.

The seats were not comfortable. They were the Dulles-style crap fests with lots of arm rests and not a lot of stretching out space. The floor started looking more and more like an option, so I figured, what the hell. I positioned my jacket on top of my bag and damn if I wasn't incredibly comfortable on the thinly carpeted, extremely hard, cement floor of the terminal. I plugged in my laptop into a handy plug there in the nearby pillar and I was having a grand sleep when I heard a beeping , followed by the sound of the closeby slidewalk starting up.

A few moments later. It stopped. It was in an automatic shut-off mode due to the time of day.

Then. It beeped a warning and started. I was waking up more now.

Stopped...

Moment

Beep. Beep. Whirrrrrrrrrr.

Moment

Stop

I'm awake now. I see two 6 or 7 year olds having their way with this damn slide walk. Their parents sound asleep against their own pillar with their own jackets under their heads.

Beep. Beep. Whirrrrrrrrrr.

Moment

Stop

At the time, my first child was maybe 1 or 2. I vowed to bring her up better than this.

Beep. Beep. Whirrrrrrrrrr.

Moment

Stop

Should I wake the parents?

Beep. Beep. Whirrrrrrrrrr.

Moment

Stop

Murder the children? The parents? Myself?

Beep. Beep. Whirrrrrrrrrr.

Moment

Stop

"Dammit, cut it out!", the Father of the two slidewalk afficieanados hollars, "Get over here and stay away from that damn thing."

They retreated from their adventures in annoyance and I fell blissfully, slide-walk motorless, no beep-warningly, asleep.

I woke up, many hours later, to the same sound, and that of my fellow travellers filling the hall. My laptop battery was charged, I was a little stiff, but relaxed and I hopped into my flight to Brisbane. I slept the whole way there.

5 comments:

Andy Chilton said...

You're lucky that you can sleep anywhere (minus annoying beeps of course). I have the unenviable ability to never fall asleep on public transport, planes included.

A near 40hr journey from Santa Monica (2 buses), LAX (1 plane), London Underground (2 tubes), Liverpool (1 train) and back home (other train + car) went without a wink of sleep!

Then we went to the pub :-)

Bassguy said...

I can barely go to sleep in my own bed, let alone in an airport.

Joseph said...

urse reminds me of the first trip for VA I took that had my return trip borked (23 hour wait at JFK and 12 hours in the barely-not-a-warzone Chicago Midway airport).

And after last years train commute/90 hour work weeks, I can sleep on almost any relatively stable surface.

Jon said...

I consider sleeping anywhere anytime a super power, especially on planes. I fly business or "economy plus" to Narita and Hethrow from SFO reletively frequently, and rarely ever sleep more than an hour, if that. If I'm stuck in hyper economy on an american airline, chances are even worse.

On the plus side, I'm pretty good at adjusting when flying west. I guess something about staying up all night comes naturally to me. Going the other way is pretty rough tho. I hate doing the same day twice :(

/rant

kerryh said...

I've heard of people sleeping at airports because they are too cheap to pay for a hotel. I remember seeing a site that reviewed different airports on their effective coziness. Too funny.

Any frequent traveler has slept in an airport at one time or another.