CSI: Midnight Snack

Several years ago, I used to work as a Project Manager for Google’s Global Ethics & Compliance team. I had always expressed an interest in travel and given the size and scope of our team, the number of travel opportunities were never lacking.

The awesome thing about Google travel?

Going to great offices around the world, staying in pretty nice hotels, meeting lots of smart, great colleagues, and eating even more yummy food on the company’s dime.

The not-awesome thing about travel?


The Google doctor eventually prescribed me a few Ambien pills for those difficult times I had falling asleep after traveling across six or more time zones. The pills worked pretty well at putting me to sleep, so I was happy.

After a few months, I spoke to my personal doctor about the sleepless issue for long-haul trips and he suggested I try Ambien CR (controlled release) instead. He felt they would work better since they were designed to not only put me to sleep, but help me stay asleep for at least seven hours.

I didn’t want to test the new pill “on the road,” so I tried the Ambien CR prescription that evening. I woke up the next morning feeling great and rested. It worked! The only time I recall waking up was feeling super hungry at 4.30 AM. Score!

Then, I walked into the kitchen…

The rest of this story had to be deduced from this culinary crime scene.

It appeared that I made myself a snack - a pretty complex one at that. I was quite concerned when I didn’t find any dirty dishes next to the food, but thankfully, I found a rinsed out bowl in the sink. I used a bowl at the last minute for the mixing and then rinsed it off. Good call (and good manners), Matt!

At least the snack appeared healthy: it looked like I had mixed a tuna, olive oil, sea salt, and crushed black peppercorn salad of some sort. Yes, that is a mortar and pestle I used to crush the whole black peppercorns.

All of this was enjoyed on an equally healthy brown rice cake. Yum! If you’re super attentive, don’t worry. This wasn’t the same brown rice cake bag I had mentioned earlier on Twitter where I had previously found a hair.

We don’t have an electric can opener (no idea why I’ve never invested in one), so I used one of those clumsy can openers you use when you go camping. I made at least four attempts at opening the can of tuna (in water, not oil) and eventually succeeded!

I originally thought that I was going for convenience when creating this snack. Under less coma-like circumstances, I probably would have used the grey sea salt. However, the location of the pink sea salt was not only closer to the setup, but the jar was also easier to open. This led me to believe it was all about ease.

Then, I looked at the olive oil and realized that I must have put some serious thought into this. You see, the Lisbon Lemon oil is located in the cabinet to the far right of this entire setup. The olive oil bottles of the Persian Lime and the Tangerine are located right above the pink sea salt and were clearly more accessible and visible. I must’ve thought the lemon would’ve definitely tasted better or something because I searched and went for that instead. Go me!

As amazing as that snack probably was, I decided that not remembering any of this ordeal would be reason enough for me to stop taking Ambien CR. But, I still rely on the regular Ambien for any long-haul flights, primarily because it works like a charm.

I was afraid of sharing this story with my friends and colleagues, for fear of any anti-Ambien, judgy pants commentary. Then I remembered, that even after a normal Saturday night out in a non-Ambien situation, I still somehow managed to leave my real non-judgy pants in the hallway outside my apartment:

And, on a different non-Ambien occassion, I managed to eat all of the marshmallows from an entire box of Lucky Charms without remembering.

Case closed.