Thursday, May 10, 2007

Who needs sleep?

I got approximately four and a half hours of sleep last night, thanks to the Peter Bjorn and John show at First Avenue, which was very entertaining and enjoyable but which started (or rather, ended) far too late for an old thirty-something like myself on a Wednesday night. Ordinarily I'd be able to make it through the day by simply focusing on the countdown of hours until I can go home and crash for the night. Tonight, however, I have to rush home, change clothes, and immediately head to dinner and a play with a man I might consider dating, and since I might consider dating him, I'd sort of prefer to be my usual sharp and witty self (read: not babble incoherently or repeatedly trail off into unfinished sentences any more than is already the norm for me). I'd also prefer to remain awake for the duration of the play, and the way my eyes are burning, that might be a tall order.

In the past, on days like this, I've spent my lunch hour hiding out in my car on an unpopulated street or parking lot, reclining in my seat for a power nap. It's an unseasonably warm 83 degrees here today, however, and baking in a heatbin isn't exactly conducive to rest and relaxation. (I never did get that "As seen on TV" AutoCool.)

So instead, I walked a few blocks to the relatively quiet and tree-shaded park near my office in search of a comfortable spot to rest my eyes. I picked the rear side of a picnic bench at the far end of the park and I rolled down onto my back on the bench. About two minutes later, I realized that (A) a rubberized coating on a metal grated bench does not, in fact, adequately cushion your head from the fact that it is still pressed against a metal grated bench and (B) it is hard to lie comfortably on a 12-inch wide plank, as there's no logical place for your arms to go. I considered moving down to the grass, but I hadn't brought a sweater or blanket to put under my head, and the fear of ants and gnats in my hair is even less conducive to rest than my 80-plus-degree car was. Hence, I stuck it out on the bench.

It took a while, but about twenty minutes later I jerked to consciousness aware that I had, in fact, fallen asleep for at least a few minutes. And then I realized something. I slept on a park bench. In a city park. In the middle of the day. I am a modern, urban hobo!

The evidence goes beyond today's lunch break, actually. I can quickly think of at least four previous occasions when I've taken a nap in a public park. It's usually been with my friend Sarah, during a vacation in another city or on the return route from a camping trip. Sometimes we've even taken our Slumberjack sleep mats out of the car to nap properly on the ground in the park.

The uncomfortable metal grate benches are no accident in this particular quiet suburb, I think. It's a hobo-thwarting plan, if ever I saw one. And on behalf of would-be suburban hobos everywhere, I am hurt (or at least, my poor skull temporarily is).


sognatrice said...

(1) You have a category called "Hobos." Well done!
(2) I think I'll call you MUH from now on. Catchy don'tcha think?

3carnations said...

Slept on a park bench? You go girl. Did you find a pile of coins next to you when you woke up? I am amazed by your napping skillz though...The most public place I ever fell asleep was the Detroit Airport on a layover after a three hour redeye flight where a baby cried the whole time.

We've got those sleep mats for camping. It's amazing how much a quarter inch really does cushion!

Stargazer said...

Oh man some days those "nap where you can get it" naps are crucial. One night I was driving home from a friend's cottage and felt exhausted so I pulled into a parking lot of a store to take a quick nap...Woke up freaked out a few minutes later to find some dude starting at me through the passenger window! That provided enough adrenaline to get me home!

L Sass said...

I have a hard time falling asleep in not-my-own-bed locations, too. But a midday, outdoors, hobo-style nap sounds rather pleasant!

I also cannot believe that you have a tag entitled "hobos."

steve said...

My cubicle is secluded enough that when I need a quick nap I can just put my head down on my desk, high school style.

Of course, just like high school, I wake up to a puddle of drool on the desk.

Blitz Krieg said...

I got to "It took a while, but ..." and I started laughing so loud the loving wife asked what I was doing in here. That was so funny and unexpected. Thank you.

whiskeymarie said...

If you're friends give you a "purse" for your next birthday that consists of a bundle tied in a bandanna on a stick, well then my dear...

You're officially a "modern Urban LADY Hobo"

stefanie said...

Sognatrice and L Sass -- Yes, I have a category for "Hobos" now. But there's only the one post in it. I guess maybe on some level, I see it as a challenge for future posts. :-) Really Metalia is the hobo expert of course, but I do play along on occasion.

3Cs--Word. The sleep mat is definitely mandatory for camping. Have you ever slept on TWO stacked atop one another? Even better!! :-)

Stargazer--Ha! I took a nap in the parking lot of a truck stop Taco Bell on my way back to my parents' house one time. Luckily no scary truckers were peeking in my window when I woke up!

Steve--My desk is totally secluded, too, but I'm still worried someone would come back and bust me. They probably wouldn't see me UNDER the desk, though. I have very often thought about pulling a George Costanza and hiding out for a nap down there.

BK--And then you had to tell your wife, "I'm reading this girl's blog, and she fell asleep on a park bench, like a hobo!"? And your wife said, "Um... don't you have anything better to do?"? I thought so. ;-)

stefanie said...

Whiskeymarie--Ha! Let's not give them any ideas. Luckily my birthday was pretty recently, so they have almost a year to forget about that plan.

guinness girl said...

Ha! Modern Urban Hobo! You rock.

lizgwiz said...

I'm only surprised that Metalia wasn't standing over you when you woke up, given her incredible magnetic attraction to hobos!

I don't believe I've ever slept on a park bench. Maybe I should put that on my to-do list. ;)

Darren McLikeshimself said...

So jealous! Did they play "Young Folks"? I swear that's the best song I've heard this year.

During my first reading of this post, I read "... immediately head to dinner and a play with a man..." as "... immediately head to dinner and play with a man..."

NancyPearlWannabe said...

Hee! I always wondered how some people ended up homeless. Who knew it was as simple as wanting a nap during the work day that directly leads to becoming a hobo?

stefanie said...

GG--Well, I try. ;-)

Liz--Exactly. Maybe she's like some kind of hobo-related superhero. Wherever you see hobos, Metalia is there.

Darren--Indeed they did. And that song's been in my head ever since I read your comment this morning. Also... Dirty! The play actually involved incest, infidelity, and venereal disease (it was Henrik Ibsen's "Ghosts"), but that's as untoward as the evening got!

NPW--Yes. Watch out. The path of self-destruction is short and very simple, it seems.

Paisley said...

I can't fall asleep in public. I am too stressed out about it.

However, I DID fall asleep during a play after about 20 minutes. It was our first outing with a couple who would become constant business partners with my husband. We were there to see the guy's brother in a play. He sucked. It was boring. I slept through the whole thing. I hope nobody noticed.

I think I've just been through too many bad high school shows to care anymore.

Either that or I'm old.

sorry so long!

(but I did fall asleep at the movie theatre, so I guess I qualify as OLD)

Kim said...

Yeah, I actually snorted at the thought of you sleeping on a park bench. It was loud. You probably heard it from there.

And you say no babbling incoherently or trailing off sentences during dates? I'm writing that down.

stefanie said...

Paisley--You crack me up. :-)

Kim--Yeah, I don't know. Sometimes the babbling actually works for me, oddly enough, but I don't want to bank on it as a general rule. Believe it or not, it seems some guys want coherent conversation!