IĎm a big believer in that old adage I first heard from my sisterís mother-in-law as she haughtily boarded a plane before everyone else, including her son: "If I donít fly first class, my children will."
    So when my wife and I bought our tickets for the 15 hour flight we took to Hong Kong last week, I naturally called the airline and told them I wanted to upgrade to first class.
    Since I didnít have nearly enough miles saved up, I would have to pay cash. And I was politely told that each $900 round trip ticket I bought would only cost another $5000 each to upgrade, and that was only to business class. I didnít bother to ask what it would cost for first class.
    "Weíre joining our fellow pilgrims and flying coach," I announced to my wife, who didnít take the news well. "We wouldnít want to sit with all those snobs up in first class, anyway."
    Iíve never seen her react so snobbily. She whined and moaned so much about the prospect of 15 hours crammed into a middle seat that I almost bought her an upgrade. In her dreams.
    Instead, I considered offering her some of my drugs. I started taking Xanax, which is an anti-anxiety drug, a few years ago to help with my fear of flying. Needless to say, it worked. A 15 hour flight was not a big deal when youíre in a drug-induced stupor.
    "I donít want your stupid drugs," she replied. "It turns you into a zombie."
    Ah, yes, it does. I only take it when I fly, and suddenly, after decades of dreading getting on a plane, I now LOVE to fly.
    Of course, there are consequences. For instance, the last time I flew across the country, I was by myself, and I had a middle seat next to (and Iím not exaggerating) a 300 pound woman. But since I had taken my Xanax exactly 45 minutes before takeoff, I wasnít concerned. I would be asleep momentarily.
    Sure enough, I was sound asleep when the flight attendant woke me up to tell me there was a vacant aisle seat in the last row where I might be more comfortable. How gracious, I thought. I felt embarrassed for the large woman, but I moved, anyway.
    It wasnít until the next day that I realized you donít wake someone up so theyíd be more comfortable. I must have been snoring so loudly that everyone around me begged the flight attendant to move me. Thatís probably why the teenager who was also in the back row wasnít there when I woke up about an hour before landing. I donít know where he went, but Iíve never had more room on a crowded airplane.
    So a 15 hour flight didnít scare me. If I snored, which isnít always the case, my wife would be there to elbow me in the ribs. Unless, of course, I convinced her to take Xanax, which would mean she could match my obliviousness.
    I had mixed feelings. I wanted her to enjoy the flight, like me, but I didnít want to risk upsetting everyone around us by having two zombies blissfully unaware of their surroundings.
    In the end, I decided to go it alone. She could beg and plead for my drugs, but I wasnít going to share. There would be no deals made at the water cooler, or anywhere else. She was going drug-free and I was going where I needed to go.
   45 minutes before the scheduled departure, I popped my required dose. We walked onto the plane, settled into our cramped, economy seats with our common people, and within ten minutes I was out.
    It was the best 15 hour flight Iíve ever had. I woke up for meals, some light reading, and a few bathroom breaks. And then back to sleep. I arrived in Hong Kong fresh as a daisy, ready for fun and adventure.
    Unfortunately, my wife was an absolute mess. I probably should have given her the aisle seat, since I was asleep 70% of the time, but she never asked. Or maybe she did. How would I know?
   The good news is she got plenty of exercise climbing over me.

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