To Nap, Perchance to Dream

Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care, The death of each day’s
life, sore labour’s bath, Balm of hurt minds, great Nature’s second
course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast. — Shakespeare, Macbeth

“Thomas Edison, Napoleon Bonaparte, Salvador Dali, Winston Churchill, and Presidents Kennedy and Reagan had something in common? In fact, each of them enjoyed a regular nap.”

They know my routine, the girls at work. And, as the token male, I get picked on. But I am undeterred: even against the threat that they might yet again startle me from my dozings behind the wheel by rocking my parked car out in front of the clinic at lunchtime, I will nap on!

I’ve been a faithful napper for as long as I can remember. When I was teaching in my first real job at the community college (was that a real job?) I either walked home for lunch and a 15 minute nap, or closed my office door, made a pillow of my arms, and woke up in time to get the sleep wrinkles out of my forehead before lecture. (Hmmm…those sleep wrinkles don’t seem to go away these days. What gives?)

My watch timer is now set for 14 minutes (15 just seemed too indulgent). I eat my sandwich while I do paperwork during my lunch break, so that there will be time to get out to the Subaru and let that seat way back. I have the routine down so pat that the ritual itself leads inexorably within two minutes to the first signs of total relaxation: the jaw drops embarrasingly open. So I put up my sunshade to spare passersby the look at the fillings of an unconscious, drooling man gone limp.

But if you read this article called 5 Reasons to Nap, it explains why this apparent sign of motivational lassitude is really the key to creativity and vigor!

So Rock on, ladies. You can shake my car, but you can’t shake my commitment to the Noon Snooze!

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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