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Overwhelming fatigue — a first-class remedy

The Big “E,” as in “empty.

That’s where my energy tank was this week. Empty. Nothing left to give. It was one of those times when I was simply too tired to count my blessings.

There I was — just back from an over-the-top belated honeymoon to the other side of the world. Just days after our return, I was at the airport again, this time heading up to New York City to do some publicity work for my new TV show, “Bookmark,” on RLTV.

What’s not to be thankful for? New husband! New TV show! And the folks at RLTV were generous enough to spring for a first class ticket for this plane ride to NYC. “At least I’ll have a comfy ride to New York,” I thought. It was the one thing I could appreciate at that moment.

Thanks to a major case of jet lag-entering regular life after our big trip has been so hard. Sleep has been the slippery friend I can’t seem to find. Each night begins with the challenge of falling asleep. When I finally do, I wake up around 1 am. I’ve been averaging two hours sleep a night. By 9am each day, I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.

When I can’t sleep, everything just gets harder. Maybe, if you’ve had sleep challenges, you understand.

So that’s where I was when the airline called out for First Class passengers to board first. “At least I have this piece of luxury,” I said to myself clutching my first class ticket.

That’s when I saw him.

A lone US soldier waiting to get on the same flight. He wasn’t doing anything to stand out, save wearing his uniform, waiting patiently way back in the crowd.

He looked tired, too. And tired, I imagined for far better and nobler reasons than fatigue.

“See that soldier standing over there?” I asked the gate agent in a moment of inspired spontaneity. “Is there any way I can swap seats with him and give him my first class ticket?”

“Sure,” she smiled. “Just talk to the flight attendant as you board.”

That’s what I did, finding a co-conspirator flight attendant who told me to wait right by the door for my soldier to board.

We waited, waited and waited.

“You sure there is soldier coming on board?” the increasingly dubious flight attendant asked.

Turns out, he was about just the last passenger to get on the plane.

“Excuse me,” I said as I approached him probably a bit too enthusiastically. “I have a first-class seat and I was wondering if you would swap seats with me?”

This actual moment wasn’t like I was anticipating. As I had been waiting for the soldier to come down the jetway, I was expecting something more like a scene out of movie, complete with music in the background. Uh, Not so much.

The soldier looked at me like I was nuts. “Ma’am,” he said. “My seat is all the way in the back of the plane. It’s a middle seat.”

“Perfect.” I replied and practically grabbed his boarding pass out of his hand, giving him mine. “I just want to thank you for your service.”

With that I headed back to the plane. Back, back, back. Until I found my new middle seat plopped between two rather portly businessman types.

As I squeezed in, folding my longs in pretzel style to make them fit, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, thinking of the young soldier in a “not know what hit him” daze up in first class. Big cushy seat, the flight attendant offering him free drinks.

“I think I got the better end of the deal,” I thought realizing I felt the happiest and most energized I’d felt all week.

Go figure: The best remedy for having nothing left to give turned out to be giving away the thing I thought I couldn’t do without.

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