I’ve discovered a new talent. I’m able to fall asleep in public sitting straight up. That’s right. Put me in a chair, lower the lights, and I’m out, often sleeping through the first five minutes of a movie or a play. No matter how loud the volume or interested I might be in the subject matter, I drift off. Regardless of the time of day, I snooze.
Yes, I’m getting enough rest at night. There’s no problem in that department. And I don’t have narcolepsy. I’m not falling asleep anytime or anywhere. Just when the setting seems to call for it. Otherwise, I’m perfectly alert. Mostly. Unless the story you’re telling me is going on too long, or the jokes aren’t funny, or I’ve heard it all before. In that case, I might suppress a yawn. But only to be polite.
I’m not a big fan of napping in general. I never have been. It leaves me feeling groggy. But now I’m beginning to wonder if a catnap—defined as short, light sleep—is required as we age. Does it just come with the territory? If that’s true, I can accept it. I just wish I wasn’t doing it in public. Especially when I’ve spent money to be entertained.
Now I get being sleepy if you’re suffering from jet lag.
On our first day in Australia, we met mutual friends at a lovely restaurant for dinner. They invited us back to their home for dessert. The strawberry short cake was amazing. The sugar content alone should have kept me alert for hours. But after I put the cake plate down, I fell asleep. I next opened my eyes to see the host staring at me. “Are you okay?” he asked. I was fine. Certainly a bit better rested.
My mother told stories about my father falling asleep in public. It must be genetic. But then, I remember sitting next to my dad as we watched television. He’d often fall asleep. I’d wait patiently until his eyes opened and then talk to him as if he’d been alert the whole time. “You never told me that before,” I’d say. “So what happened next?” The look on his was priceless. Now, I understand how he felt. Destiny can be harsh.