Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Edge of My Seat

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.


Unknown said...

Good stories all. I've just devoured my many unread crumbs this fine day, and enjoyed every word. It's never a disappointment to visit here and rest weary eyes. And on a pleasant sunday afternoon such as this, to contribute a little drool as well.

Yours in friendship and appreciation...

Beth said...

oh I can just imagine it. Chances are, your bench mates did not even notice but I can imagine your horror. As always, thanks for the smile.

Pauline said...

I've felt that same surprise on awakening during school meetings... it is rather disconcerting to know one can drop off just like that.

Jaime said...

Wow...I wish I could fall asleep that easily!
But I do find that sometimes, when I hear the background drone of random human voices, it can make me sleepy, much like the sound of the ocean or even the tv playing softly in the background...the noise almost becomes hypnotic.
Maybe this is what happened to you? Malls can be exhausting places, even in the best of times!
Glad you woke up safe and sound.

Pappy said...

Always attach your purse to your wrist with a set of handcuffs. It not only protects your purse, but others who see the cuffs will not know for sure if you are an escaped felon. They will probably leave you alone in any case. Pappy

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Kip, what kind words, thank you. A much-needed morale boost! We all need them from time to time. I'm glad you're reading and enjoying my 'crumbs.'

Beth, I don't think they did notice! I probably slept subtly, if one can do such a thing. They wouldn't expect a sleeping person on the bench so might not have seen it. But still... I knew. ;)

Pauline, I really didn't know I was nodding off until I woke up :) It happens that way, and not much we can do about it.

Jaime, I was very relaxed, happy to be out and about in a new place, and I had walked for hours around the same mall. Big as it was, I'm not a shopper and after a while it became monotonous.

Texican, what a good idea. I hadn't thought of that. But don't you think the drool kept them away just the same? It might have been what saved me. ;)

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