• The art of Napping
    September 23,2013
     

    By Mark Albury

    I was at the store the other day when I saw a kid have a meltdown. Anyone who has raised a child knows what I’m talking about. One minute this little boy was walking alongside his mother, full of energy and excitement at the prospect of going to the toy section of the store. A few minutes later I saw the same child lying on the floor looking like all of the bones in his body suddenly dissolved, and a God-awful cry/whine noise was coming out of his mouth that I was sure could be used to elicit a confession from James Bond. As I watched this scene unfold I saw the mother, with the patience of Mother Teresa, lean over and say, “Looks like someone needs a nap.” I wanted to raise my hand and shout out, “Take me! Take me!” Not because I’m some sort of weirdo; because, as an adult, I am always looking for an opportunity to take a nap. There are very few things more appealing to me than the chance to catch 40 winks in the middle of the day.

    Resisting the temptation to squeeze myself into the tiny seat of her shopping cart and go home with this woman, I made my purchases and headed to my car. This incident, however, got me thinking about naps, and my ongoing search for the ultimate daytime snooze opportunities.

    As a grownup my naps are much less structured than they were when I was younger. In kindergarten, we used to have nap rugs and a set time when we were told to lie down and close our eyes while sweet Miss Hamm went for her flask of “happy juice.” I continued to take naps whenever I could as I got older. Believe it or not, once, as a freshman in college, I actually took a nap that lasted four years. Then after I graduated and had kids, rest became as hard to find as a fat-free snack at the Tunbridge Fair. The fact is, once children entered the picture I had to go to work to catch up on my REM. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to meet all of my sleep needs in meetings, so I’ve been forced to go outside the workplace to find afternoon slumber.

    Over the years I have learned that, if you are clever, you can fit many naps into your day-to-day schedule. For example, you can nap in the car. However, for a variety of reasons, I don’t recommend that you get too used to sleeping while driving. Aside from the obvious one — the steering wheel gets in the way — there are lawmakers who are planning to outlaw any and all activities except operating the vehicle while in a car. Go figure.

    Instead of sleeping at the wheel, you can bum a ride off someone else and sleep as a passenger. This plan does not come without some risks. In addition to being shunned by certain snobs who view your sleeping while they are driving as socially unacceptable behavior, there is the issue of pride and self respect. When a passenger falls asleep sitting in a car seat it can be a very ugly spectacle. Your head flops around on your neck like the business end of a mop, and your mouth can hang open giving others in the car a visual tour of the history of your dental work. Then there is the whole drool thing. I once woke up after drooling on the window and my face looked like a glazed donut.

    Other, emotionally safer napping opportunities include: catching a movie matinee and finding a seat in the back (expensive, but dark); going to the library and sitting in a common area (cheap, but light); or catching a public meeting of your town select board (free, but your nap will be televised on the local cable channel).

    I consider the final option I will discuss today to be the absolute Hope Diamond of napping. If you are ever home on a Sunday afternoon, and the house is quiet, you can find golf on TV and get comfortable on the couch. The rest, as they say, will be history.

    Televised golf was created for napping. The pastel colors are pleasing to your eyes, the announcers whisper to each other in polite tones, and the soft applause ripples like waves of water lightly splashing on the beach.

    I find televised golfing to be so relaxing I am watching right now as I type these notes on my laptop. Tiger Woods is about to attempt to sink a 40- foot putt.

    With billowy white clouds floating high in a light blue sky above him, Tiger walks across the perfectly manicured green to approach his ball, checking his line, and........zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    Mark Albury lives in Northfield.

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