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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Slow Brain


I don’t recall the last time I pulled an all nighter, but I’m doing it now. A few things are certain: 1. I’ve lost my super power ability to sleep anywhere, any time. 2. I was much younger the last time I pulled an all nighter. I had specifically packed melatonin that I’d meticulously sliced in the way a drug dealer might divvy up crack. I’d taken this step  to guarantee sleep on the plane. Then, when we watched the safety video of block type people exiting an aircraft via an inflatable slide, Andrea said, “I’m sure it’s that easy.” And I reconsidered. I’m sure that adrenaline would have swiftly shaken me from my melatonin induced haze. But why risk it? The good news is that I could have taken the melatonin as no inflatable rafts were necessary.

While we were waiting to board in Boston, I played a game, mentally, “American or no?”  As our flight to Amsterdam was next to a flight boarding for Paris.  Andrea remarked that everyone around us had cool shoes so we surmised they were most definitely not American.  

We hired someone to drive our butts to the airport and it was worth every penny.  The driver lived in the same town that we reside in.  He pointed out the Sudbury home he and his wife first rented when they had moved from Yonkers to Boston in 2000.  His daughter had been diagnosed with a rare cancer and the treating physician pulled him aside and said if it was his child, he’d get her a very specific and targeted treatment that was being offered at Mass General in Boston at the time.  He enrolled his daughter in Mass Health and then in the treatment program only to learn that this was not permissible for out of state residents.  This prompted him and his wife to move their 7 children from Yonkers to Sudbury.  7 children.  I can’t imagine this.  And yet, they did it.

“People all over the country were praying for her.” He said, more than once.

And she made it.  She survived.  She beat the odds.  Modern medicine and prayers and a love so great as to pick up and move seven (!) children. We have landed in Amsterdam where it’s 912 AM. Back home it’s 4:13 AM. We flew past Dublin and are now flying back there shortly. The Amsterdam airport is huge. By the time we taxied to our gate, got off the plane, waited in line for the bathroom, and walked to the other side of the airport, we’d shaved almost an hour off of our 3-hour layover. I know you’re supposed to stay awake - jet lag, blah blah blah. But I can feel my brain firing in slow motion. For instance, I’m not even sure how long this next flight will be. Time changes. Math is hard. Google tells me it’s an hour and 40 minutes. Andrea’s excited to hit Guinness in Dublin. I’m guessing it’s been a while since her last all nighter too. What could go wrong with a pint on top of no sleep? I probably won’t be the only one with a slow brain.


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