Sunday, September 7, 2008
Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole.
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge
I once accompanied Spouse on a work-related excursion; we were living in California at the time and Spouse drove to the event.
Happily, I had much to occupy my own time: I ventured to take a bus from our hotel and succeeded, after much entanglement of numbers and routes and interesting interactions with locals, in reaching an enormous shopping mall. I seem to recall it was the largest within a reasonable radius and I was content, if not to shop, then to browse around and explore.
As always, I had let Mater know where I planned to be, and I sent to her, via my cellphone, the number of a public telephone.
"Be careful," said she when I found her voice; she was concerned for my safety inside a staggeringly vast complex on another continent. I promised faithfully that I would be diligent and anyhow, what harm could come to me in a densely crowded area? Off I went, to see what was what.
After a few hours had dragged on and Spouse's day was not even near to a close, I unfortunately became a trifle weary of wandering aimlessly. I seated myself on a wooden bench located in one of the mall's many corners.
I noted at one point that a tiny, behatted old lady sat down next to me; then she was gone again, and I was faintly surprised to see other people in her place. I had not seen her leave; I had not seen them arrive.
I had good reason to not notice, as it happened.
I realised with a start that I had been drooling and that at least fifteen minutes- and countless people- had passed me by as I slept sitting bolt upright in the heart of a shopping plaza, my small backpack beside me guarding us both in my oblivion.
No harm had befallen me save for the unfathomable humiliation of temporarily losing consciousness when all I wanted was a bit of a sit-down and a chance to gather my thoughts. Nodding off and making a spectacle of myself had not been on the agenda.
There are some things that a mother ought not to be made aware of. Still, I told Mater afterward at a neutral point when I could reassure her my experience had ended without trouble.
She was not amused.
No, Mater was not pleased at all to learn that I had thrown her caution out the window and- of all things- slipped into slumber in a public place.
Then again, truth be told, neither was I.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 10:17 AM