He’s had his lunch, it’s 2 o’clock, so Charlie decides to take a break from swearing at technology for an afternoon nap.
In addition to the technology – which I’ve come to hate with a passion – Dad’s naps have become the curse of my current existence. He sleeps about three times a day, sometimes unintentionally, and far too often within ear shot.
- One to two hour naps shortly after breakfast and/or lunch.
- One hour in front of the TV, computer, etc. usually when attempting to stay up passed 8pm.
- Eight hours of semi-regular sleep from 9pm, which hopefully carries on into the next morning.
Having spoken to others on the subject of old people and naps, I know this is a pretty common occurrence. As you get older the body slows down, you have less energy, and thus require more down time. Based on this theory, I’d assume millions of people over the age of 60 are taking naps at any given point of the day. I have to wonder, however, while the frequency tends to remain the same, do all retirees also choose the most random of locations? And how many have daughters slowly being driven mad by proximity and nap-related noise?
Location, Location, Location
Charlie can fall asleep anywhere:
- In church
- In front of the computer with his head propped up on his elbow
- Sitting in a booth at Denny’s while waiting for his usual, senior discounted Country Fried Steak with Coleslaw
All completely random and without warning.
Dad even sleeps in the car. After kindly offering to drive me to the store, though he knew I’d need at least 15-20 minutes to get ready, Charlie still went straight out to the car and proceeded to take what seemed to be an unplanned snooze behind the wheel. Did he forget he was in the car or did he really mean to sit there, coat on, key in the ignition, and head tilted forward like he’d taken a blow to the back of the head?
It’s like he’s some kind of elderly, absent minded narcoleptic.
And God forbid if you try to wake him up. Even if you’re successful, Dad ALWAYS tries to pretend that he wasn’t. Teeth clinched, claws out:
“GrrrGRRRAH!… Huh… What?!… NO! I wasn’t SLEEPING!”
Poking the Bear
As well as random locations, Charlie has always been a violently loud and restless sleeper. When I was a kid, I remember having the unfortunate privilege of sharing a bedroom wall with him. He’d toss and turn and snore like a grizzly bear at night and, since his bed was on wheels for some inhumane reason, it would roll and CRASH repeatedly into the wall. Between that and the snoring, it was like being jolted awake by rolling thunder right before the tornado levels your house.
And GEEZUS can he snore!
“Bluuue… WEEEZE…Bluuue… WEEEZE… Bluuue…. WEEEEEEZE….”
If you’re really lucky, you might even hear my dad, somewhere between a snort and a weeze, making the muffled sounds of: “Heh…Heh…Heh.” It sounds exactly like the approving grunts of Jabba the Hutt. A rather strange coincidence too as the machine he wears at night for apnea makes him look and sound like Darth Vader.
Post-Traumatic Sleep-Related Stress Disorder
Now, imagine trying to read, write, or just think with that steam train driving through your head day in, day out. It’s been like slow, monotonous torture. With my designated work space mere inches away from both Charlie’s nap area (cosy chair) and workbench/kitchen counter, I began to fear my writing would start wavering into the area of homicidal rants. I had to find a means of escape!
I’ve tried to preserver silently, thinking of a reasonable way to live with the noise.
- Hold up my hand to block him from view? Nope, can still hear him.
- Headphones? No, they’re powerless against his damning roars of “SHITTIN’ MACHINE!”
- Venting my rage at innocent strangers or obsessive, compulsive cleaning? Well, that’s just not productive now, is it?
Maybe if I scheduled my meetings for Tuesdays instead of Wednesdays I could…
I could just work the hours when Dad’s asleep in his room from 9pm-5am…
Or perhaps the café down the road with WiFi would be a…
“Please, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, stop breathing so loud!”
On the verge of a mental breakdown, I finally decided to move my designated work space to the café down the road. I still can’t use my sewing machine there, but at least for a few hours in the afternoon I can write with a little peace and quiet… though the blissful calm is sometimes broken by an BANG on the espresso machine or some idiot setting off the fire alarm when trying to use the door clearly marked “Emergency Exit Only.”
Flawed as it may be, at least I have a means of temporary escape and can once again be thankful for technology. God bless laptops (when they work). God bless WiFi and the café down the road for installing it. I’m even thankful for my exceedingly slow and complicated loaner mobile phone so Dad can call me every hour to ask, “Are you done with you’re work yet? When are you coming home?”
Now if only the old ladies at the next table would shut up and go take a nap, I could really get some work done.