Beware shoddy sleeping masks

maskHeaded overseas recently for work, and wanted to do the sensible thing and sleep on the plane to avoid jetlag when I landed. At an SFO shop, I saw a “3-in-1” pack of inflatable neck pillow, earplugs and sleeping eye mask for $7.99. When I paid, the sales clerk was delighted to tell me it was only $5.99. What. A. Bargain!

Opened it up on the plane, and there were no ear plugs. No matter—I had my own Etymotic noise-blocking earbuds and they’re 1000x more effective and comfortable anyway. The neck pillow? I hate those things—feels like something squeezing my throat. (I use those bendable “flaps” in the headrest commonplace on planes nowadays)

Wore the sleeping mask, though.  A little flimsy, a bit tight across the bridge of my nose. But whatever. Blocked out most of the light. Enjoyed some fitful sleep even though my Italian neighbor was yelling all night long, and my other neighbor kept his light on the whole time.

Arrived, enjoyed the day in Cologne. Woke up the next morning, showered and ate breakfast downstairs.

On the way back up, I looked at this reddish band on my nose bridge in the elevator mirror. It was bumpy. Like 13-year-old kid riddled with acne bumpy.

Ran to my hotel room, and to my horror noticed about 10 (TEN!) huge zits right where the eye mask was sitting. I squeezed all of them. Could’ve filled a wine glass with all the pus. (Sorry—it really, REALLY was that disgusting) Disinfected my nose with every alcoholic beverage I could find in the minibar.

Threw the mf away. I’m guessing my packet had to have been opened and my eyemask used by a 56-year-old hooker as a maxipad. That’s after she unsuccessfully tried to use the earplugs as tampons (mercifully she threw those away).

On the flight back home, I found a Samsonite eyemask in the Berlin airport (no neck pillow, no earplugs, and 8 euros, or about $11). Tested the package to make sure it hadn’t been tampered with. (Have never loved clamshell packaging so much)

My nose still looks OK. Lesson learned.