MaryAnne Shults's Blog

March 3, 2011

For love of sleeping meds

Our 11 hour flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo was rather uneventful. Perhaps it was the combination of only a few hours sleep the night before, plus the assistance of my new best friend, the sleeping aid fairy. At some point, I woke up and Brody was reminding everyone to get up and walk around to avoid blood clots.

“Yeah, she took an Ambien,” I heard him say to my classmate, Larissa.

Well, it helped me fall asleep, but not necessarily stay asleep, I thought through the fog in my head. I got up and walked around and did some airplane calisthenics in the back of the plane in the small area by the bathroom and the galley.

At Narita Airport in Tokyo, we were once again subjected to the security gauntlet. Totally not cool since I had decided to wear fake Ugg boots and had slipped them off during the flight. Trying to put them back on in an airplane seat proved comical so that my boot refused to go past my socks, so I took one sock off. I stood there hopping on one foot trying to get the other sock off. One of the agents quickly passed me a pair of disposable slippers, probably more concerned that my hefty bulk would topple over into the table full of bins of laptops, backpacks and others’ personal belongings.

The last six hour leg to Hanoi seemed endless. However, I finally got to see why the film Black Swan received so much positive attention. I can’t wait to see it on a big-screen HD television with surround sound and not a 6-inch LED screen with tinny audio through cheap headphones.

Arrival in Hanoi and getting through customs was swift and painless. That was one comfort after flying halfway around the world. It makes me ask: then why if I slip across the border into Mexico for some R&R does it take five hours to pass through U.S. customs coming home?

As we exited the airport into the craziness of the very populated and busy city of Hanoi, I realized I was a veteran of this trip. I turned around and gazed at the faces of my young classmates, inspired by the looks of awe and hearing them whisper among themselves.

“Wow… We’re in Vietnam.”