I fly a lot. I've racked up air-mileage which takes me to the moon and back, and then some. I don't even want to figure out how many weeks i've spent up in the air. I think the number of flight attendants who have brought me meals and drinks could fill up a small movie theater.
You don't think of it, but when you spend this much time off your feet, you look at the people around you very differently. You're in a metal cabin, thousands of feet in the air. If you're flying alone, which is often, chances are that you don't know anybody on the flight. You don't really think of it, but the people keeping you up in the air are the two pilots up front, and the people keeping all the people in the cabin tame are the flight attendants.
Sleeping on a plane never gets natural for me. It's something to do with the upright seats (yes, I fly the cheapest seats) and how loud the ambiance noise in the cabin is. A flying experience is something akin to mild insomnia: you're always tired, but you can never sleep. Time means nothing at all, and you're never really awake, and you're never really asleep.
Flight attendants work shifts, and sometimes you don't even recognize that it's a different person. They bring you food, they bring you drinks, and sometimes on their better judgement, they stop bringing you drinks. If you're anything like me who has slight anxiety and commitment issues, you probably instinctively find ways to hate your neighbor, so the flight attendant is by default and the natural order of things, your closest friend. You press a button and they attend to your need. You ask for anything, they'll work with you and help you find a solution. Whether you know it and whether you like it or not, they are your mothers in the air.
I know it's a job, but it's another dedication to service a long-haul aircraft. In my flying experience, there are a lot of times when customers give these service people so much shit that I feel sorry for them. But I don't have the balls to tell these customers that they're not flying first class. If you paid for business, they'll give you the business-class "I'll take your shit" treatment; sorry, you're in economy. This is my long-winded way of paying homage for these single-serving people who have made my life so much better. I tip my proverbial hat to all these surrogate mothers of mine.
Please take your seat and fasten your seat belt. And also make sure your seat-back and folding-trays are in their full upright position.