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.


  1. "The bed is a bundle of paradoxes: we go to it with reluctance, yet we quit it with regret; we make up our minds every night to leave it early, but we make up our bodies every morning to keep it late."
    I enjoyed reading this post drowsily!!

  2. This is very funny...it sounds like people need to be getting more sleep there! I'm glad you are able to stay awake though so you can relay all of your funny stories to us!

  3. I've worked with people who go to their car at lunch...and fall right to sleep. No Can Do. I get my 5 hours & then I am so done. This was a hysterical story. ~Mary

  4. No matter what time I take a bus there is usually someone asleep on it and I, too, have watched while a sleeper eventually fell on the floor with a thud. Homeless people who have prowled all night often go promptly to sleep when they get on the nice cool bus and ride to the end of the line, but this is a kind city and everyone cuts them some slack. They even are very polite to those who appear to be nodding out on some potent drug. Maybe it is just extreme sleep deprivation, how do we know? If you still feel so sleepy in the morning, perhaps there is sleep deprivation there, and I sympathize. Good luck. Gerry

  5. Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I enjoyed reading it, although some of things you said, I really would not agree with.

    My blog is just my palce to vent about life, Anyone who knows me, knows that I do not have anger issues. I am probably one of the most passive people out there.

    Thats why my blog is kinda private, because I really don't want to bash my husband but it is so nice to have somewhere to go to vent.

    I hope you stop back by:)

  6. Hi Rhapsody:)

    It is normal if you lie in bed till the last minute and rush around to get ready. I did the same when I was working on a regular job. But now I don't mind getting up very early because I have blogger friends to meet. So sometimes you will see me sitting with the laptop and a cup of black tea and trying my best to keep my eyes open,read the posts and write my comments. Sometimes it could be 3.30 in the morning. But now I can sleep any time of the day. So there is nothing to worry about losing my sleep.Dond't worry I am writing thins comment at 6.30 in the evening.

    I am not surprised that some bus drivers stop to pick you up. They do that all over the world. Even in Kochi where I live these drivers stop to pick up the ladies and not the men. It give them the thrill, you know. And on top of it you thank them profusely. They feel like great heroes and I am sure their heart beats a little faster to pick up YOUR SORRY CARCASS:)

    Very interesting story about the man sleeping in the train. He is a shirker and one day he will get the boot. Then he will blame every one else except himself. In these days when thousands of people are finding it difficult to hold on to their jobs, I would say that this man is irresponsible and I hope he doesn't have a family to support.I am sure he must have been at a party till the wee hours of the morning and going to sleep when he is supposed to be working. This part is not only hilarious but also an eye opener.

    Oh! I see! You have lady bus drivers. Very interesting:) My comment about bus drivers stopping to pick you up refers to male drivers and not female drivers.

    As regards man sleeping in the bus, I am not surprised at all because I sleep in the bus myself. Even today I slept in the bus and missed my stop. Suddenly I woke up to find I had missed my stop and therefore I had to get down at the next stop, board another bus and come back to the stop I wanted. I have posted in my blog about my mobile being stolen when I was sleeping in the bus after a heavy lunch. But do you know that I got up at 4.30 in the morning and sitting with my lap top browsing? Blogging can become an addiction and I suppose it is a harmless addiction:)

    The story of the second man sleeping next to an Asian is also interesting to read. I do not understand why the Asian man kept quiet. He should have woken up the burly Caucasian and told him to be careful or he should have got up from that seat and sat somewhere else.I must admit you have a keen sense of observation and it helps you pass time while traveling.

    The conclusion is also very humorous. But as far as I am concerned, I sleep in the bus. But if some one sleeps in the bus and tries to disturb me, I will either elbow him or fall on him deliberatedly pretenting to sleep or wake him up and tell him to be careful. Once again, I reserve my right to sleep in the bus:)

    Needless to say, I enjoyed reading your interesting and humorous post and the lovely photos.

    What about people sleeping in their jobs? I slept, you know:)

    Have a wonderful day( I am waiting for the day for you to reveal your name):):):)

  7. Haha...
    Had a nice smile after reading this post.. Well written with the exact amount of humour.. Looking for more to flow from you..

  8. Hi Raphsody,

    I quite like your humourous style and your observation skills. Yes, waking up in the mornings is a universal challenge and only deeply committed people manage it.

    I too used to suffer this till I recently started doing Yoga in the morning to manage a lower back problem. And, I observe that my body clock has got adjusted and I wake up without any difficulty by 5.30 am.

    Another method of managing the rest that our body so badly needs is to do 15 / 20 minutes of meditation each day. That compensates for roughly an hour and half of sleep..

    The trick is also to hit the bed on time by say, 9.30 pm. Extending the evening hours by partying / watching TV / other activities is one of the chief causes of sleep deprivation.

    I too used to love dozing in trains as the movement of the train is almost like the gently rocking of the bed. If one has a comfortable seat and needs rest,nothing like public conveyances to sleep..

    Nice blog.. Keep writing




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