- Read current issues of The Economist, GQ and Esquire Magazines.
- Consult novelty gift catalogues.
- Take melatonin.
- Watch episodes of network sitcoms.
- Congratulate myself enthusiastically on not having children (actually I do this pretty regularly on terra firma, too, but the intensity of the self-congratulation is multiplied exponentially in the air).
It appears that one of the most common things other people do in the air - and only in the air - is drink canned tomato juice. Now, I do this a fair amount on land as well, mostly out of the perceived need to combat all the cancers that the Daily Mail say I'm going to get from immigrants, opening letters and, er, tomatoes, probably. Looking at my habits, though, I do pretty much exclusively drink tomato juice on a flight AND it's the only real time I drink it with Worcester Sauce. So far from being a lone freak, I DO have tomato-juice-based idiosyncratic behaviour on a flight.
This article was recently published, based on research by "Guillaume De Syon, a professor at Albright College and an aviation historian." He submits that drinnking tomato juice is a long-standing aviation tradition (um, OK). The article goes on to suggest a number of reasons we drink tomato juice in the air - it tastes better at altitude, it's learned/suggestible behaviour, it's simply because it's on the menu...before settling on the deafeningly unedifying ALL OF THE ABOVE. Thanks for that. I hope in 20 years we'll have the same academic insight into why we're watching old episodes of The Big Bang Theory.