SOMEWHERE OVER THE ATLANTIQUE, Jan. 20 — I’m on the red eye from JFK to Paris. I’m so deep in sleep I’m not dreaming. Someone is shaking my shoulders. Rather violently.
I open my eyes. All I can do is blink. The cabin is as bright as a fast-food restaurant. One of the flight attendants is asking me, “feesh or chicken?”
I shake my head, “no, no.” He almost looks angry.
I look at my watch. It’s 1 a.m. in New York. It’s 7 a.m. in Paris. It may be dinnertime somewhere, but it’s not dinnertime here.
But this is an Air France flight to Paris, not Alaska Airlines to Seattle. Everyone is eating and talking. OK, I call him back and ask for the chicken. He’s happy. The food is terrific. He comes back with the basket of bread and hands me a perfectly crusted mini-French bread. Did they just bake it in the galley? I eat it with the huge chunk of camembert on my tray. I pass on the wine.
Back asleep. Once again, someone is shaking my shoulders. It’s the same guy. Petite dejeuner. It’s 5 a.m. in New York. It’s 11 a.m. in Paris. We just ate a complete meal four hours ago. What’s with these people? I take the tray, but only drink the juice.
Two hours later, I’m at the Air France transfer desk. The flight was late arriving and I missed my plane to Amman. I’d have to wait till tomorrow. I was handed a packet of vouchers. What’s this one? Before I go to the hotel, the agent insisted, I should be sure to get a sandwich and drink at the airport, compliments of Air France.