There used to be a time when I had no problem at all staying awake at night. I would just switch that button in my head to ‘on’, and my body would listen. Nowadays it can be quite a struggle to make it through a sleepless night. Since many KLM flights to Amsterdam are night flights, I am confronted with this ‘challenge’ on most of my trips.
I had one of those struggles on my last homebound flight. The cabin was dark, most of our Business Class passengers were asleep and my colleague was having a rest period. The cry for sleep became louder and louder. So I walked through the cabin, creeping past the sleeping passengers and pouncing upon anyone who made a movement. “Can I get you anything to drink? No? Anything to eat then?” But you can’t do this forever. I guess it becomes rather annoying if a flight attendant pesters you with questions whenever you move in your sleep.
A lot of my colleagues read a newspaper during those quiet moments. Not me. Even before I’ve finished the intro of an article, my head starts to make funny moves and I need full concentration to keep my eyes open. But it’s easy to keep yourself busy with all sorts of odd jobs in the galley for a while. So I prepared the breakfast, cleaned out the coffee machines and collected empty cans. According to my watch, I had another hour to go, so I crept into the cabin again. But the only passenger who stirred was one whom I had stalked twice before. When I passed him, he just smiled, shook his head and closed his eyes again, before I had even asked him anything.
Back in the galley I grabbed a newspaper after all. But soon my head made those funny moves so I decided I would have to get active again. Just then, a voice started to sing an old Dutch lullaby. The passenger whom I’d pestered a couple of times before, was standing next to me, laughing. “Saved by the bell,” he said. “Ok, I’ve got a job for you. Please find me a house I don’t have yet.” He handed over his list of Delft Blue miniature houses; the ones he already had were marked.
When he disembarked a few hours later, I thanked him for getting me through the night. A few passengers nearby looked surprised, but he laughed loudly.