It’s not that I hate naps. In fact, there are very few things in life that I can think of, off the top of my head, that I hate, and those few include the obvious things like injustice, mistreatment of others, and cleaning my Great Aunt Ruth’s apartment (but that’s another story).
Naps provide a wonderful respite when required, and I do appreciate them. That’s why I have taken five or maybe even six naps total in my twenty-one years of marriage.
My problem with naps is that when I’m finished with the nap — when I sit up in bed and say the inevitable phrase, “I can’t believe I slept that long” — I am so groggy and confused that I have to spend the rest of the day to get to a fully awake state, at which point it is time to go to bed again.
I am typing this, having finished a nap only four hours ago. This afternoon I took what I would call a Gilligan’s Island nap, a three hour tour into dreamland. I’ve been battling the flu or something similar this week, and it finally got the best of me. I finished the nap a while ago, but I’m still feeling a bit befuddled. That’s my excuse (for however this piece is written).
The nap reminded me of a Saturday afternoon in Lincoln, Nebraska, in the spring of 1981. I recall it was a blue sky kind of day, a day for a college student to enjoy the fresh Nebraska air and soak in the warmth of the Nebraska sun after surviving yet another brutal Nebraska winter.
But I wasn’t doing any of those things; rather, I was inside a dark dorm room, determined to take a nap and catch up on sleep after pulling an all-nighter studying for a test the previous day.
I had eaten breakfast; I had caught up on some homework; and my mid morning I was ready to go to bed again to take a long Nebraska nap. I climbed into the top of the bunk beds.
I slept, and I dreamed. I dreamed, and I slept. At some point during the nap, the phone rang. I slept some more and I dreamed some more.
Knock knock knock. I dreamed of knocking. Someone was knocking on my bedroom door — only this, and nothing more.
Rap! Rap! Rap! I dreamed of rapping. Someone was rapping on my bedroom door — only this, and nothing more.
Pound!! Pound!! Pound!! I dreamed of pounding. No, someone really was pounding, pounding on my bedroom door. It was only my friend, Gary Moore (not his real last name but it fits nicely here).
“Hey, djeet yet?” he repeated.
I hopped out of the bunk. I was groggy. I staggered to the door and opened it slightly. Beams from the hallway light flooded my room through the crack of the opening.
“Hi Gary,” I said softly. “No, I didn’t eat yet. I’m taking a nap.”
“Oh,” said Gary. “Did I wake you?”
“Oh that’s okay. I had to answer the door anyway. I’m going back to bed.”
Gary chuckled and I would have if I hadn’t been groggy. He seemed content with that and left.
I crawled back into bed and resumed my Nebraska nap.
I dreamed of tests and I dreamed of football.
I dreamed of dinners and dates and memorizing pi to ninety decimal places.
Ring! Ring! Ring! I dreamed of phones. Someone was calling me — only this, and nothing more. document.context=’fHA6NTE0′;
“No you didn’t.”
“So maybe I just dreamed it in my nap?”
“What? Did you say nap? You never take naps.”
“Yeah, I took a nap today.”
“Are you mad?”
“Stop saying that. I know I don’t …”
“Hey, I gotta go,” interrupted Tim. “One of our cows just knocked down the fence and is backing up traffic on the highway.”
I wasn’t mad; I was determined I wasn’t mad.
I did the next best thing I could think of at the moment. I opened my dorm room door (say that ten times real fast) and yelled as loud as I could, “What am I doing tonight?”
One by one, down the hall, doors opened and heads leaned out into the hallway. In unison everyone asked, “What?”
“What am I doing tonight?” I repeated. “I’m trying to figure out if I’m having dinner at my uncle’s place.”
“Are you mad?” they replied, more or less in unison.
I sighed and closed the door.
I was out of draws. I had to play my hand.
I picked up the phone and dialed the numbers.
Ring. Ring. Ring.
“Hi, Aunt Margie, this is Joel.”
“Well hello Joel, how are you?”
“Oh, I’m fine,” I began, not sure how to ask the question.
“How are classes?” she asked. And so we chatted a bit.
Finally, with what I’m confident was strength only equaled by Samson, I mustered up my courage and began, “Aunt Marge, I’ve got to …”
“Oh I know,” she interjected. “I’ve got to go too. We’re having company over for dinner tonight. Hey, we should get together sometime. Are you free in the next two or three weeks?”
“Sure,” I gasped.
“How about Saturday night in two weeks? Six o’clock?”
“Sounds great. Bye.”
A sigh of relief flooded my body. I was not mad, after all.
There I was with no plans on a Saturday night. I was well rested, albeit a bit groggy. I was caught up on homework. But I had no plans. I did the only rational thing I could think of at the moment.
I opened my dorm room door again, and I yelled as loudly as I could, “Hey, whatcha doing tonight?”