Jun 13, 2009

8 Sleeping Sleepy Head

I use to think that I was the only one that continually fought the claws of sleep. Getting myself out of bed and the bowels of sleep between the hours of 5:30 and 6:30 am for work is a battle royal between me, myself and I. I play these psychological futile countdown games with myself-30 minutes, thirty minutes passes and then I convince myself that taking 20 minutes more is ok, because I can get showered, dressed, put on my make-up and shoes and be out of the house in less than 40 minutes, yeah right and pigs fly at warp speed. Of course the inevitable happens I am running for the bus like a mad woman and thanking the driver perfusiously if I am blessed with one who decides to stop at a non-stop and pick up my sorry carcass.

An avid people watcher I have been observing people’s behavior in the mornings and evenings to and from work and what I have observed is that I am not alone. To be frank I have seen some pretty funny stuff along the way.

One morning the while boarding the train (I board the train at the end of the line) there was this man sleeping on the train so I woke him up letting him know he is at the end of the line and what I assume is his stop. He got up somewhat disoriented and ask me, “Is this Yonge Subway?” I looked at the gentleman and said, “No this is Kennedy Subway, you’ve passed Yonge subway 13 stops ago.” He looked at me startled and exclaimed “oh God I have to reach to work for 9 am and I have to go to Sheppard.” I returned his steer with eyebrows raised and said, “Well sir you may as well relax now because that is not going to happen the best you can do is use the pay phone when you reach Yonge subway to advise your employer that you will be late.” The man looked at me and said, “Yeah that’s true” and promptly went back to sleep.

One evening travelling on the bus on the last leg of my trip home, there was this elderly gentleman seated on a seat in the middle of the bus, he was nodding off and every once in a while his head would bob back and forth. Amazingly he would awake long enough to right himself and go back to sleep. A little way into my ride I looked across and the man appeared to be in a full sleep because he was bent almost to waist. I thought to myself ‘oh Lord if he is not careful he will fall’ but the man always seem to right himself before that happened. I marveled at his ability to do so. Halfway through my destination I looked across at the man again just in time to see him go head first falling over in one big splat clump. I was so startled that I jumped up along with other passengers to rush to the man in attempt to help and inquire if he was alright. A gentleman closer to him reached him first and assisted the man up. He got up somewhat wobbly much like a toddler and a little disoriented. The man asked him “are you ok?” he answered but in another language, it appeared the man knew him and spoke his language and asked him for his stop. It turned out he had just missed it by one stop and got off and walked back. It was after this I erupted with laughter because it was so funny. The bus driver and I were talking when I looked across at him only to see him flip head first to the ground. I had never seen anything like that before. The bus driver herself stopped the bus and was ready to leave her seat with concern. We just laughed and laughed thinking how comical it all was.

Thursday evening was another such incident only this man did not fall. He was a large Caucasian man, he sat in the corner of a seat for 3 people and a south Asian man sat at the other end so the middle seat was empty. The robust Caucasian man slept and
every once in a while his body leaned left halfway toward the south Asian man and I was thinking 'oh Lord he is going to fall on the man'. I sat in the same kind of seat one seat down on the opposite side of the train car with my colleague. I touched my colleague and spoke quietly about the dozing man and we watched the man as he slept swaying then righting himself while the south Asian sat stoned face with a fixed stare. I kept praying silently that the man would right himself before he hit the man in a dead sleep. He managed to do so and sat forward slightly, only now he swayed forward, going lower and lower. I kept thinking 'good Lord why doesn’t he lean back that way there is no way to go and he’d be good till his stop'. The train moved along and the man kept getting lower, his glasses swayed slightly from his face and slid further as the train jerked. It slid by degrees and just as it was about to fall the man suddenly sat up and righted the glassed on his face only to promptly fall back asleep in less than a second and begin swaying forward again as his body became lacks in sleep. I found this incredulous, (which I also observed with others) how can someone fall back asleep so fast to the point of swaying again? This is a mystery to me.

It would seem that the fight of the sleep is somewhat a universal thing as passengers travel on trains, buses, and streetcars. Some thinking strategically are prepared with large cups of coffee to keep their eyes open and sleep at bay while others simply find a seat with a side panel to rest their heads and close their eyes and there are those that just wing it and go promptly to sleep as the rest catch up on their reading.
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