While on our trip to France it become painfully obvious that I did not have a future in the intelligence community. If I were a spy and were captured by the enemy it would be very easy to break me. This wouldn't be done by depriving me of food, or water, or even through solitary confinement (okay, so I admit I haven't experienced any of those things to the degree they would be considered *torture* but work with me here). Physical pain and suffering also wouldn't suffice. I am a runner, and have given birth to two children. I have pain and suffering in spades. All they would have to do would subject me to sleep deprivation. And not even a number of days, just one night and I would be toast. Not only would I spill any national security secrets I might be privy to, I would also spill secrets about things they didn't even ask about. If there is anything I can't tolerate it is lack of sleep.
In a previous post I discussed how important sleep is to me. I am not talking about sleeping in. In fact, even on our vacation without the kids I still got up around 7am. And that was Paris time. At home I am actually chagrined if my children wake up before me, depriving me of that previous hour of peace and quiet at the beginning of the day. Oh no, I am referring to the minimum of six hours of sleep I need to function, although seven would be better and eight is optimum. But less than six and I am a disaster. So this is why the red-eye to Paris was a really bad call.
In theory it seemed like a good idea. Take the red-eye, fall asleep for the eight hour flight and wake up to have a croissant and some coffee in Paris. In reality I didn't fall asleep for more than 30 minutes at a time. I think all totaled I slept around 2 hours, probably less. Most of it with a slight cramp in my hamstring. For those of you wondering, Black Swan is not a good movie to watch when you become delirious from sleep deprivation. I was crazier than Natalie Portman. By the time we got off the plane I was a physical and mental disaster. I think part of the reason why the immigration official in Charles de Gaulle scrutinized me and my passport for at least 5 minutes longer than anyone else (my husband included) was because with my disheveled hair and clothes, pale withdrawn face and bloodshot eyes I looked suspiciously like a member of the Manson family. Or he suspected I was a zombie. I also was incapable of communicating coherently, and all I was required to do was greet the man and hand over my passport.
Things didn't get much better after that. Luckily my husband was there to guide me to baggage claim and to the driver who was taking us to our hotel. I don't think I said a word the entire time. I am sure the driver felt sorry for the poor American man and his catatonic spouse. How brave, how loving he must be to take care of such an incapacitated individual. This was further reinforced when I would fall asleep for brief periods of time during our drive. And I would drool. I was so tired I couldn't muster the energy or consciousness to care.
But the coup de grace came once we finally got to our hotel and check in wasn't for another 30 minutes. Luckily I was still in my catatonic state or I would have wept openly. Instead my husband led me to a cafe down the street where he ate lunch with gusto while I sipped water and stared glassy eyed into the distance.
Finally the time came where we could check in and he led me back to the hotel and up to our room. And at that point I just lost it. Uncontrolled sobbing as I proclaimed how exhausted and miserable I was. There may have been some writhing on the floor for emphasis. It was ugly. Eventually I calmed down enough to lay down and get some sleep and then a shower. And still I was a mess. It was early evening by this time and I was determined to get on Paris time so we went walking. Our goal was to visit Notre Dame, which was number one on my list of things to see. And when we got there it closed right as we were walking up. Although I was physically looking normal again I was still an exhausted mess and this was just enough to send me back over the edge despite the fact that my poor husband tried to point out it would reopen in the morning. And the morning after that. And the morning after that. At this point he couldn't help missing the catatonic me.
I am not proud of this whole *crying because Notre Dame was closed* incident but it did cause me to revaluate my plans to become a super spy in the next chapter of my life. Clearly I was no Sydney Bristow, which was truly unfortunate because she had some awesome outfits.