The art of napping

The art of napping is an art of indulgence. The nap is a gift I make to myself, every day after my 9 a.m. German class. I could stay awake, tired and cranky, to stumble around campus with half open eyes. Red, sleepless eyes. I could stay awake, of course, but instead I climb back into bed and give myself a nap. No one else can give this to me. They can certainly take it away, with phone calls and subwoofers, lunch dates and fire alarms. But only I can allow the indulgence of a second, midday sleep. It is a power and a gift. To nap is to control your body and your time.

The nap fragments and elongates my time, slicing days in half, in thirds, in quarters; every nap I take is a factor by which I multiply my days ? a 14 day week? Twenty-one? Nap years extend many times regular years; I live on a canine clock, howling at the moon and the sun. I live more days because I live more nights. By pulling the covers up to my neck at 10:30 in the morning I create an infinite night. I blur the line between night and day, light and dark. Soon the clocks will change, and you will see what I mean. What is night and day to me, the Napper, when the light of day vanishes before I wake to see it? I make little distinction; the art of napping is an act of defiance, of rebellion. Is it not night? I say it is and I bury my face in the pillow to prove it.

Catching furtive sleep in the back row of a class or squashed in the corner of a study carrel is not a nap. These are signs of fatigue, signs of a failure to embrace napping. This is the revenge of sleep upon those who think themselves above it, outside its influence. “I can get by,” she says, only to be woken by the flashing lights and siren of Sawyer. This is lazy, passive sleep, nothing like a nap ? active, alert, conscious of its purpose.

I roll my closing eyes as I walk past you sleeping on your book, your face red from the heaviness of unsatisfying sleep; I am on my way back to my bed. At 2:00 p.m.? I will live two days because of my nap while the napless, sleepwalking majority lives half. Each nap demands another; there becomes no difference between sleep and napping. I no longer wait until the prescribed time of night to sleep, fighting off the nap, nodding off mid sentence. Napping is a freedom from time, convention, social mores ? I strip down into my boxers in the middle of the day, not to put on sneakers and running shorts, but to cover myself in a green comforter and pull the shade. The art of napping is also the sport of napping. The only sport where the training is the competition and both are enjoyable. I wake when I have exercised my sleep completely. I do not wait for the next nap; I know it is coming. I rest easy, assured, well.

Nap: my varsity sport; my fifth class.

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