You better believe that I plan to nap my way up and down the A.T. Napping is one of my favorite pastimes. As a child I reveled in them, and as an adult I daydream about them. I have many fond memories.
Kindergarten was the best: an environment in which napping was not only encouraged, but also mandatory. I can’t remember her name, but my teacher was an older woman with afro-like hair. Every day she would announce naptime, and each student would retrieve a mat from the cubbies, with the exception of one student, who would be treated to the couch. The teacher would put a cassette with soothing music in the tape player, and we’d all doze contentedly. There was the time that it was my turn to get the couch and then this kid Adam got sick all over the floor, thus re-prioritizing use of the couch…not that I hold a grudge or anything.
I don’t recall any particular euphoria around napping in elementary and middle schools, but I definitely rediscovered my love of the mid-afternoon snooze as a high school student. School let out at 12:30 or 2:30, depending on the day, and I would come home with a nap in mind – turning on the T.V. and passing out. Or, if I had a later commitment at school, I might dilly dally in the Gifted Resource Room hoping nobody was occupying the couch and would completely lose consciousness. Looking back, I have to say that high school naps were some of the most satisfying of my life, probably thanks to teenagers needing more hours of rest a night and thus being constantly sleep deprived.
However, I don’t want to marginalize the glory of college naps. How I managed to regularly shut my eyes for three hours at a time in the afternoons is beyond me. And it’s not like I was a huge party animal or anything. I mean I did always sign up for the early morning classes, which is fairly uncommon among college students, but I daresay I got enough shut eye on a regular basis. Maybe I just got used to being lazy.
When I started working in D.C., I was lucky enough to work within walking distance of a friend’s office. We would sometimes meet for lunch in a park and lay ourselves down on a bench or near a landscaped knoll. Looking back, it was probably not the most sanitary decision I’ve ever made (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever noticed the parks around D.C.), but it was a great way to spend my lunch break. After a year, my friend moved away, which quashed my daytime nap outings. But then a couple of years ago, I weaseled my way into an office…with a door and everything! Basically, I just squatted in an empty office until people began acknowledging that it was mine. Once I had the door, I was free to turn the lock and lay down whenever I needed a ten-minute boost. Unfortunately, the saga continues: almost a year ago, we downsized office space, and I was once again relegated to a cubicle. Thus, my glorious naptimes are once again fleeting.
There’s something about this time of the year that makes me long for a nap. The days are getting shorter. It’s getting dark earlier. And the cold crisp air encourages cocooning oneself under the covers.
Yesterday morning I woke up a little early in an attempt to cast my vote for the nation’s next leaders. I bundled up against the 36 degree weather and walked to the nearby library, which is my local polling center. When I saw the line push out of the building, parallel the sidewalk, and snake all the way to the far end of the parking lot, I knew it was going to be a long day. Judging from what people in line were saying, the wait would have been at least four hours.
I walked on and went to the metro. I’d try again later, I told myself. And try I did. I left the office early in an attempt to beat the afternoon rush. I made it to the polling center by 3:15 and had but a 35 minute wait to cast my vote. Alas, it was the witching hour, the time of day where my blood sugar and serotonin levels are running low, the daylight is beginning to dim, and all I want to do is take a nap. Luckily for me, I beat the crowd, which began to pile in after me. I performed my civic duty, walked home, and assumed the napping position.
I have to say that the thought of being able to take a nap whenever I want sounds pretty darn exciting. That’s one of the appeals of hiking the A.T., isn’t it? A greater degree of freedom to do what I want when I want. I’m in the mood to hike right now. I’m in the mood to eat a snack right now. Squirrel!
Then again, the logistics of napping on the A.T. are still a little unclear to me. When outside and cold and wet and dirty, how does one go about napping effectively? I’m not someone who can sleep sitting up, and I’m guessing it won’t be the easiest if I’m drowning in rain. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll figure it out. I do have my priorities after all.