My Mother-in-law neglected to warn me my husband was born taking a nap. Upon arrival, his sleepful state was doubtless undisturbed by the ceremonial spank of the attending physician. If indeed a responsive cry ensued, the wail surely expressed, “If anyone calls, don’t wake me up.”
Some people believe marriages were made in heaven; my husband believes naps were.
To attest belief in the ritual of snoozle, this clone of Little Boy Blue dozes daily in triplicate — after breakfast, after lunch, and immediately before dinner. Even as an active executive, he routinely exits his power chair for a refreshing siesta on the office carpet. This means, of course, he’s an insomniac at night … but never mind minor problems.
He has napped in celebration of the sunrise, Mental Alertness Week, our son’s first permanent tooth, and my hernia surgery. A mattress commercial automatically plunges him into a nightfall position. His idea of the perfect weekend would be to fall asleep in front of the television at midnight on Friday, not to arise until Sunday at noon.
Professional nappers act alive until one day following matrimony. How, then, could I have known when I married this descendant of Sleeping Beauty that I was not getting a yard mower, fence mender, or garage painter? As a young bride, I tried to explain to my mother, who thought my housekeeping vaguely resembled Lyle Lovett’s hairdo, that the necessity of respectful silence around the house prevented me from vacuuming for weeks at a time.
Growing weary of pleading, “No one needs this many naps,” I changed my ploy. “Okay,” I said, “I know you need your rest, but I suffer multiple bunions from being a perpetual “carpet-creeper.”
Unsympathetically he said, “You should have been cat-napping all these years. If Hitler had been napping in the 1940’s, he wouldn’t have had time to bring us World War II. Don’t bug me,” he yawned. “I can’t concentrate when I’m awake.”
As a child, our son stayed quiet during 48,000 miles of automobile travel and 4,240 times after school. He thought no children knew the color of their dad’s eyes and that all mothers made the bed three times a day. When he was fourteen years wise, he asked one day, “Mom, is Dad entered in the Olympic Sleeping Marathon or are we related to Rip Van Winkle?”
I was quick. “Your father is Rip Van Winkle reincarnated. Don’t despair. If on schedule, he should resume ordinary consciousness in only one more year, leaving ample time to become acquainted with him before you leave for college.”
The year my husband snoozed through our son’s high school graduation, I announced with authority, “Experts have proved that the average person needs no more than six hours of sleep in a twenty-four hour span.” “It has never been my goal to be just an average person,” he fired back.
His love of slumber has offered him immunity to overdoses of togetherness at many family gatherings. My brother, having come three times to Mother’s house one Christmas afternoon to greet us — and still finding my spouse asleep — asked, “What’s wrong with him? Does he have the sleeping sickness?” “No,” I whispered. “He thinks his father was a bear and he’s gone into hibernation for the winter.”
Finally, in order to cope with the Sleep-in that I had inadvertently said “I do” to, I started doing copious research. My greatest encouragement came from World Book Dictionary’s fifth definition of “sleeper”: “Something with little advance notice that makes an unexpected success.”
Last year my husband celebrated his 72nd birthday. Today an attractive woman at the grocery store asked him if he is about age 50.
When we arrived back home, I hastened to the bedroom, grabbed my never-tells-a-lie blue magnifying hand-mirror, and analyzed the lines under my eyes.
Pardon me … I think I feel a nap coming on.”