Not so much as a glance came from me as the little boy sitting in the checkout line squealed and squirmed and made all sorts of noise.
He was sitting in the buggy with his legs poking through the two holes in front. He didn’t look happy, I noticed, but I only looked at him for a few seconds because my attention was more on the magazines lining the rack above the chewing gum. Oh, my! I never knew there were 32 ways to look younger in only a week. I should buy that one …
I reached up to move one magazine over a little bit so I could see better the one behind it and read about yet another celebrity shocker when the little boy squealed again, louder this time, and caught me off guard. I jumped, and then looked at him. His mama, I assumed, was busy loading her groceries on the black belt and wasn’t paying him any attention. Until, that is, he squealed again. So loud, this time, that I was surprised the gallon of milk she had just lugged onto the counter didn’t turn to cheese from the vibration.
“Do you know what you are going to do when we get home, mister?” the mama asked as she pulled two boxes of Hamburger Helper out of the buggy and gave him a steely glare. He shook his head. Here it comes, I thought. He’s going to have to pick a switch out of the yard. No, no … he was going to have to sit in the corner. Wait a minute … maybe he was going to have to go to his room and not come out until dinner, which I had a sneaking suspicion was going to be Hamburger Helper.
But I was wrong. She looked him square in the eyes, the slightest quiver on his lip. This was going to be worse than I thought … he looks mighty scared.
“You are going to take a nap.”
Boom. The tears started flowing and his head started shaking and his little lips covered in tears and nose unmentionable started mouthing the words, “No! No!” like she had just told him he was getting a big ol’ whooping. Obviously, getting a nap was worse than any punishment I could think of.
And I found myself wanting to get in trouble.
I wish someone would come up to me and demand I take a nap. Just once. Not since I was knee high can I recall a time I was forced to lie down and sleep in the middle of the day. That’s not to say I haven’t, mind you. The older I get the more I find myself sneaking a little nap every now and then. Anywhere I can get one, I’ll take it nowadays. And they’re not always comfy in my bed or on the sofa.
There is the “Do you want me to drive?” nap, which most often occurs on long trips or, in my case, any road excursion more than 20 miles. You politely ask if they want you to drive, and when they say no you take the opportunity to fall asleep against the seat belt or window, your head jerking forward with each curve in the road. While not always the most enjoyable nap, it usually gives you a few productive winks. The key is to ask them if they want you to drive after they have already started driving. But beware: They catch on to this tactic pretty quickly.
There is the “What? No, I’m not asleep” nap that occurs when you are sitting still for any length of time in a public place and your eyelids get heavier and heavier until you gradually doze off. This most often happens to me when I am waiting in the doctor’s office or in a meeting that has gone on too long. The important thing to remember here is that when you jerk yourself awake and look around and see that you are surrounded by people, you have a look on your face as though you were praying or thinking intently about something important. This one is quite hard to master, but it can be done.
And last but not least there is the “I’m just going to close my eyes” nap in which you claim you are not going to sleep, but just closing your eyes for a minute to rest. Then moments later the room finds that you are, indeed, asleep when your mouth opens and you begin to snore. And when someone shakes you to wake you up because they can’t hear the movie over your thundering snoring you claim, “I’m not asleep, I’m just resting my eyes.” Sure you are. Sure.
I wish just once someone would tell me I have to take a nap. Really, I won’t mind. It’d be good for me, I promise. In fact, I suspect napping just may be one of the 32 ways to look younger in a week.
Darn it, I wish I’d bought that one.
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.