Above: Perfect time to get a bargain. Shake her, hand her some coins and leave before she’s coherent. If a manager found her sleeping on the merchandise in the USA, her next nap would be in an unemployment line. Upper right: I wanted to buy a CD player but I thought he might be dead. If he was, no one would have noticed anything unusual for days.
Thais know how to nap anytime, on anything, anywhere. Even at work, if a nap attack hits, they’re gone, looking like they’ve been dropped into their spots from a helicopter.
Thai dogs are the same. They sleep in the shade, in the baking sun, on tables, chairs and windowsills, in baskets on speeding scooters, but preferably in the middle of the road, the exact middle of the road on the line, if possible. It’s not cool, soft or safe; it’s hot, hard and life threatening. Are they just tired of their cushy dogs’ life and dream of being with Buddha later on today? Their bravery—or audacity—is astounding. How many times have I seen a hound lying on the shoulder, centimeters from traffic on a busy city street, testing tire treads with his tail? How many times have I ridden through a sleepy town with an apparent road kill in the middle of the road and its apparent owners dead to the world nearby on a bamboo platform? The roar of my motorcycle wakens the canine from its coma and it barely ambles out of my way, decides that my foot could be a tasty afternoon snack, or if I stop long enough, mounts my leg for a spontaneous romantic interlude. Chiangmai friends visited a bike shop several times in an attempt to whittle down the price of a big Kawasaki. The resident mutt was always splayed out on the cement, here or there, anywhere. One day, the dog was stretched out on his side underneath the desired motorcycle, and my friend remarked in jest, “Is your dog dead or what?” The owner said something like “No, he’s fine” and gave it a swift kick. Perfectly motionless and rigid, the dog slid a half a yard in the direction of the kick. Dead tired? No, just dead. Rigor Mortis the Dog.
Comatose Thai on my doorstep in La La Land with my shoe for a pillow “Gosh, he was such a good dog! Slept all day, hardly ate a thing, never attacked anything and guarded that spot 24/7. Mai pen rai. [No problem.] We can still use it as a door stop.” Just let sleeping dogs lie. Officially, NAP stands for “Not Available, Period” or “Nowhere At Present” or “Nearly A Potato” depending on the country, situation or how much of what I write in this book you believe. Mankind has benefited remarkably from famous nappers. If the apple hadn’t fallen from the tree onto dozing Isaac Newton, he may not have defined gravity as the force preventing folks from hurtling into space. Before his brainstorm, people thought they stuck to the earth because the world sucked Inventor of the light bulb, record player and an array of other devices, Thomas Edison got inspiration from that elusive state between sleep and consciousness. He’d nap in his chair while holding a rock in his hand; as he drifted away, he’d drop the rock. Awakened by the noise, he’d create reality from his dreams. Near the end of his career, he invented thick shag carpeting and couldn’t hear the rock.
The late President Ronald Reagan was a phenomenal Nap Star, spending seven of his eight years in office presiding over the Land of Nod, but fortunately or unfortunately, he could still talk, act and invade tiny islands in the Caribbean while asleep. Someone mentioned Grenada, but he heard “a grenade” and sent several branches of the armed forces to take it away from them. To keep the military awake, America routinely tests its nuclear strength on nations armed with coconuts and empty rum bottles. In spite of this Model Governmental Somnambulist, napping in America is not politically correct, except at home on Sunday afternoons after football games. (I preferred during.) Phone someone and ask: “Sorry, did I wake you?” Reply: “No, no, I never sleep. I’ve just started three companies while taking my kids to ballet class before doing my taxes while I jog.” Actually catch them napping in person: “Oh, not a nap. I’m meditating with the Nepalese Occult Neurological System Employing Nonexistent Subatomic Energy.”(N.O.N.S.E.N.S.E.)
My grandfather used his daily afternoon siesta as a vehicle into his next life. In his favorite armchair with his pipe in his lap, he peacefully drifted away to Grandfather Land. When my friend Warren heard my song about it, he said, “That’s very similar to my grandpa. He quietly passed away in his sleep, unlike the people screaming in the back seat of the car he was driving.”
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