Dog Collars and Willed Narcolepsy

My mother brought along this plush green neck collar for the plane ride. It's suppose to provide support so that you can sleep on a plane. My mother is skilled at what I would call willed narcolepsy. She can sit on a freakin' stool and think to herself "Oh I could take a five minute nap now" and she'll fall asleep perfectly balanced on the stool. For me, falling asleep is like a really impressive magic trick. I need complete silence, props, impressive costumes, half a bottle of stolichnaya, some tylenol pm, and a volunteer from the audience never hurt, but essentially there is way too much in terms of production value for me to able to sleep on a plane.

What people don't understand about my mother and I is although we seem to be insulting, or more accurately I seem to be insulting, we really just have a great vaudeville act. Mere Lapin put on her sleeping neck brace, and I decided to call her Rufus (as opposed to Rex I'm not sure why) for the rest of the flight, that is when I am not reminding her about her inability to speak English. Mere Lapin, for her part, spends the entire flight sleeping while I watch, in order Anchorman (OK you aren't going to believe me, but honestly a very funny film with a surprising but worthwhile cameo by my personal faves Tim Robbins), Meet the Fockers, and one of my favorite films I Heart Huckabees.

My friend the anonymous poetess and I have decided that we should write a self help book based on two different movies. The first is Grosse Point Blank as AP and I are fond of quoting to each other "I am at one with the me who is on this adventure." The second is I Heart Huckabees which is just filled with lines like "How am I not myself?" and "Everything's the same even thought it's different." (I might have to add the television show The Dangerous Brothers and their line "Shut up and get on the chair" as well.) So sitting on this plane, with my sleeping trussed up mother who is responsible for our travel planes and is the one who speaks Italian, I am trying not to contemplate what could go wrong. Not only am I trying to be at one with the me who is on this adventure, but I am trying, depserately, to be here now. In acting, our teachers taught us to break everything down into tiny steps. You can't go into the scene thinking "Ok I have to attempt to seduce the secret from my lover and when he resists burst into frustrated tears and then run out of the room in fear" it's too much at once. So you break it down into little baby steps. Here I try to tease him. Here I try to threaten. And before you know it, you're in tears rushing from the room. I try to have the same approach to travel. First get in the car and get to the airport, then get to the gate, then get on the plane etc etc and until suddenly you are miraculously in a hotel room in wherever the hell you are going. Trust me not to think of all the problems that may or may not be in the future, especially with Mere Lapin on board, but just focus on keeping myself enterterained through a seven hour plane ride, which is enoughof a magic trick on its own.

Luckily I had Nick Hornby's the Pollysyllabic Spree to keep me company. Often when reading his essays I had that vague gushing sense of "Thank G-d it isn't just me who thinks this way." As you can imagine, I don't have that sensation often, so I value it when I do even if it is in a sleep deprived state cramped on an Air France Flight. Eventually we landed in Italy, where much like Remo Williams, the adventure really begins.

We arrive in Italy, me sleep deprived, and Mere Lapin hauling her G-d knows what laden bags concerned about my lack of sleep. She's known me longer than anyone, knows that my sleeping disorder goes all the way back, but she never accepts that I function better without sleep, or more accurately I can function very well without sleep because I'm used to it. I imagine my existence might be unfathomable to a narcoleptic just like her ability to sleep is unfathomable to me. And this is the beginning of the trip, mother and daugher, diametrically opposed about to enter a foreign country.

This is the premise that grade c road comedies are made of.

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