shopping with my daughter for a lawn chair last week," says the old
man. "They had one of those in their store. You press those buttons,
and it can just jiggle you right to sleep."
"Pretty nice, yeah."
He nods into his chest, picking a piece of
lint from his belly. "That's why I like going on planes. I try to
fly them as often as I can. There's nothing like being jiggled to
sleep. Of course, I used to do trains. Took the Cleveland to Chicago
rail every other weekend. Those are even better. They get to rocking
and jiggling. Could put you to sleep for a good long time."
I nod. The plane turns and stops on the runway.
I can see the terminal and the planes lined up outside. "Yeah, speaking
of that, I was going to get some shut-eye. I was up all night with
the jet lag, you know?"
come from somewhere?" His blue-green eyes roll forward as if they're
about to pop out.
"Miami. Went for the weekend to see family.
The lag wouldn't affect most people, but I'm a bit of an insomniac."
"My wife was an insomniac. Used to get out
of bed four times a night to use the bathroom."
I turn away and lean up against the window.
We're moving faster. "Really?"
"Sure," he says, but more to himself than
I drop off for a bit and wake with a start
when the captain turns off the fasten seat-belt sign. I stay crammed
in the corner where my seat meets the wall for a minute longer, trying
to fall back asleep, but it's useless. My bladder's ready to burst.
I turn to my seatmate and try to decide whether
or not to wake him up so I can get out. On plane rides, I sometimes
step across the armrests to sneak out, but he's smothering them with
his hefty arms. His head is rolled back onto the headrest, his legs
are stretched out in front