John Walker's Electronic House

Fist Bumps And Upright Sleep

by on Nov.09, 2008, under The Rest

Yesterday I taught my nephew to fist bump. I feel this is exactly the sort of role an uncle should be playing in this new millennium. The word “poo” and modern handshake-equivalents are the sorts of things a parent might forget while educating their own children, so it’s important that an uncle is around to fill in these gaps.

While I’m aware that everyone wrongly thinks their children/younger relations are geniuses, when in fact they are complete idiots, my nephew is a genius. He’s just turned two, and he can already read basic words like “cat”, “daddy” and “car”. He can recognise all the numbers from 1 to 10, and most of the alphabet. And most impressive, he knows the names of all kinds of cars, and excitedly points them out as they drive past, or appear in the background on television programmes. This impresses me the most, as I haven’t the faintest idea about such things. Which means a two year old is smarter than me… on that subject, at least. Although he has decided to reject the name “Toyota”, and instead refer to them all as “Beep Beep Cars”, which is more on my level.

Jetlag is a funny one. I got back from America feeling all sorts of excellent, having slept on the plane due to some manner of miracle, and then getting to bed at 9pm and waking up at 9am. Mmm-mmmmm. Which of course meant the following night I wasn’t tired at all, and was still on US time, and so got about 5 hours sleep before heading to see my family. So on the train on the way back, on the Guildford to Reading leg, for some reason I thought it would be sensible to just lean my head on the window, just for a moment.

I was woken up by a member of the train’s crew, asking if I really wanted to go back to Guildford again. People were getting on board for the train’s next journey, and I was there like some sort of vagrant, a hobo riding the rails, snoozing comfortably. Still, it filled the otherwise dull gap that would usually be spent standing in Reading station, pulling penknives out of my back and legs.

So what I’ve realised, as I spend Sunday feeling absolutely ruined, is that the only way I can properly sleep sitting up is to be jetlagged. On the flight I managed two or three hours by leaning forward in my chair and resting my forehead on the reclined seat in front. It might make me look like I’m dead, or adopting the brace position, but it appears to trick my stupid car-not-knowing brain into thinking I’m at least on my front, and thus able to nod off for a bit. But on the train I was sat up, in a chair less comfy than the worst economy flight, and with my head on a glass window, and yet fell into a slumber that required repeated shouts from train staff to awake. So my future plan for sleeping on planes properly is to immediately take another flight across a major timezone right before… Oh wait.

As I’ve often thought, and as was discussed on our recent trip to the States, it’s hard to imagine a good reason why it’s not an option to just be drugged when you get on the plane, and then given some sort of reviving medication upon arrival. You feel groggy when you get off a plane anyway, and I’m willing to sign whatever forms are necessary to accept the risks of such a method of travel. And once commonly accepted, airlines would be able to fit five times as many passengers on board, slumped in stacked compartments, and wouldn’t have to feed or wait on people during the flight. It’s obviously the best idea ever, and I demand it be implemented immediately.

3 Comments for this entry

  • James

    That had me laughing away to myself. My wife and dog think I’ve lost the plot.

    I hate falling asleep on the train, every time I wake up I panic that I’ve missed my stop. I have yet to do so though!

  • Steve W

    Pfft. By the time he was two, my son could [example of his obvious intellectual superiority over all others]. With his feet!

    So there.

  • Iain "DDude" Dawson

    I never see other people sleeping, leaning forward onto the seat infront – I thought it was just me!