I don’t know if you can tell it from my posts, but I’ve been tired a lot lately. When I try to think what to blog about, little comes to mind because I just can’t seem to come up with the energy or ambition to think a lot of deep thoughts, tackle challenging books, or even continue the online German lessons I was going to write about once I got further along (past the elementary stuff that’s mostly review from when I studied German a long time ago).
My husband thinks I have sleep apnea, and wants me to get a sleep study. (I have an appointment with the doctor on Tuesday.) I’ve had friends who were diagnosed with sleep apnea, and getting a CPAP machine dramatically increased their energy levels as they finally got a good night’s sleep. I’m not looking forward to the prospect of sleeping with a mask over my face (I never thought of myself as claustrophobic until I tried using my husband’s CPAP machine and mask, and couldn’t sleep at all because I was so desperate to rip that thing off my face). But it sure would be nice to have more energy.
In the meantime, though, I’d love to be able to participate in a contest like the one going on in Madrid right now. Concerned that the national tradition of taking a siesta at midday is disappearing, the National Association of Friends of the Siesta is sponsoring a siesta competition. In a busy shopping center, contestants take 20 minute naps on comfy blue sofas.
The intricate rules award points to contestants depending on how long they sleep during the 20-minute competition time, any unusual positions they sleep in, eye-catching pajamas they might be wearing, and yes, a lot of extra points for snoring.
I don’t know whether I could get to sleep quickly enough to win on points, but I’d be happy to get some eye-catching pajamas if it meant catching a quick snooze at lunchtime. I lie on my side to get to sleep, but inevitably wake later lying on my back with my arms crossed over my chest – like a corpse, my husband complains. Would that get me some points, do you think? He says I snore, too – though I doubt it’s a loud as he does sometimes.
I’ve wondered, sometimes, how much life in Spain has changed since I was there in the early 1980′s. I know the economy has become more modernized, which means in general higher productivity, more opportunities to trade with the rest of Europe, and presumably a higher standard of living. (An acquaintance there in 1983 was surprised when I spoke of the difficulty of making ends meet with my $3000 annual stipend as a part-time “intern” teacher the year before. He knew men raising a family on that much money.)
But that modernization also means more time pressure, and in many businesses an end to the two- or three-hour midday break that was the norm when I was there. We students got out of classes at 1 PM for lunch, and didn’t have to be back until 4 PM. When I had lived with a Spanish family in Valencia two years earlier, that meant I could go home for a hearty midday meal. In Madrid, renting a room in an apartment, it meant going to one of many inexpensive restaurants with friends from school.
What I couldn’t do much during the extended lunch break was run errands. Banks were closed. Offices were closed. Many stores were closed. I don’t know how many people actually took a nap then, but few places conducted business as usual during siesta time.
I’m a long way from Madrid now, though, and even if the pace of life is somewhat more relaxed in rural Iowa than back east where I lived until twelve years ago, no one I know is sponsoring a sleep contest nearby. If I hear of one, though, I’ll be glad to sign up.