I love a nap and would happily take one every day if time and my own sense of decency allowed it. I can rattle off a my Top Ten Naps of all time if anyone is ever interested. I consider all of the post-call naps of my pre 80-hour-workweek-rule intern year to be a single item entry. These were the naps of the truly bone tired. No interruptions by dreams or a sense of the passage of time, waking up in the early evening with dried drool on my chin and the knowledge that, in three days’ time, I’d be doing it all over again.
Some of the other best naps have to do with location. We took a trip with Jimmy’s family once to the Cape in Massachusetts and rented a house that had a loft overlooking a large family room addition. There was a cot, a thick quilt, and a skylight. Need I say more? And then the post redeye flight nap in a downtown Philadelphia hotel with the crispest, heaviest white comforter. An assortment of beach naps at various locales round out the top ten.
In the Bier family, we acknowledge that there is some shadowy genetic tendency toward little to no sleep latency. That is, we fall asleep at the drop of a hat. People who visit or marry into the family are confused when, after a large family meal, we move into the family room to “watch the game,” which is really just code for “fall asleep immediately, possibly including drooling.” The lucky ones will have secured a corner spot on the couch. If not so fortunate, we will just throw our heads back and fall asleep wherever we landed. I’ve seen my dad and his brother fall asleep on a hardwood floor, as long as they have a cushion or windbreaker to ball up under their heads.
My dad’s uncle, Father Ed, apparently actually had narcolepsy, the extreme version of this tendency. Rumor has it that he used to sometimes fall asleep in the middle of saying mass. Catholic rules being what they are, namely that a mass once started must be completed, a helpful nun was always positioned at the end of the front pew, tasked with the job of nudging him awake as needed. Why they didn’t assign this to the pre-Vatican Two bell carrying acolyte remains unclear.
My siblings and I have been texting a lot more frequently, and we all seem remarkably OK with being forced to stay in our houses, the more easily to take a nap here or there as we are so inclined. I’m not going to call any of the five of us out by name, as I’m sure the quality of our work has not suffered for this napping, and I don’t want to ruin anyone’s cover. Just before the NYC quarantine took effect, my youngest brother, Pat, moved to a new apartment. Before I heard anything about the larger kitchen and bathroom, I learned that it had a good spot for napping. The true mark of a good home.