Saturday, September 3, 2011

Retirement Pleasures - The Fine Art of Napping

One of the great joys of retirement is being able to take a nap whenever I want. One of the downsides is that I seem to want to nap a lot. I’ve made an in-depth study of the subject and I’ve identified nine variations of the nap.

The most familiar is the opportunistic catnap, so named because cats have perfected this midday snooze. The best thing about this type is that you can take one anywhere. However, my considerable research shows that the best place is stretched out on your back, usually on a couch, with the sun on your face. If you’re not sure if the nap you are taking is this type, check your midsection when you wake up. If there’s a cat on top of you, you’ve just enjoyed a catnap.

Another type many of you will recognize is the post-prandial nap. This one occurs after a big meal, especially a holiday dinner. Men are particularly fond of post-prandials, except when there’s football on TV. My research shows that retirees become increasingly prone to these naps midafternoon, especially after a larger-than-usual lunch. Post-prandials are most appropriately taken in an overstuffed chair. They’re often short, yet highly effective.

The alcohol-induced nap is related to the post-prandial, but has its own profile. For one thing, you don’t need to have eaten before taking this type. It’s most commonly seen after wine tastings, including the ones you have alone in your own home. Many of my most enjoyable naps have occurred during what some might call a “wine stupor.” I prefer to think of them as research projects. The duration of this type depends on how much alcohol you’ve consumed and whether you’ve collapsed onto something comfortable.

Another nap familiar to retirees is the reading-induced one. This is characterized by the body positioned in a comfortable chair, reading material in hand. You may not realize you’ve had this nap until you wake up and find your reading glasses on your lap and your book on the floor. The older I get, the fewer pages it takes to induce a reading nap.

Likewise the older I get, the more often I need an exercise recovery nap, which is most effective when you’re splayed out on a pile carpet. Mowing the lawn takes 45 minutes, including emptying the clippings into an approved brown paper sack. You know, the ones you buy at Home Depot. They come up to my armpits, so I have to lift the clippings catcher to head height to empty it. I find this more exhausting than the mowing itself. By the time I’m done, I’m ready for a snooze.

A related type, the battery-recharger, replenishes emotional or psychic energy. For example: the robocall for my pharmacy’s auto-refill doesn’t work with one of my prescriptions. It’s taken weekly on an empty stomach, with a half-hour wait after. If I run out, it messes up my Sunday. I spent an hour on this with a customer service rep who had what I’ll charitably describe as a lack of understanding of the situation. By the time I hung up, I was badly in need of a nap to recharge my psychic battery.

The boredom nap sneaks up on you when you have nothing exciting planned for the day, but you’re not really sure you care. You stretch out someplace comfortable to contemplate some possibilities, and the next thing you know… ZZZZZ.

Rainy day naps are one of the great guilty pleasures of retirees. The flexibility of our schedules allows us to curl up somewhere cozy, soft and warm when the weather’s bad. Maybe we’ll grab some reading material; maybe we’ll grab a cat to cuddle. More likely we’ll grab an afghan that’s been in the family for decades and just sink in for a comfortable snooze. Eat your hearts out, those of you still working.

Lastly, the procrastinator nap is best taken when you have a long list of projects that need attention, but you just don’t want to tackle any of them. This type is another guilty pleasure of retirees. We can procrastinate as much as we want without risk of serious repercussions. Except, of course, if the task at hand is writing ones weekly blog post.

Not to worry. As long as I’ve had my quota of catnaps, post-prandials and battery-rechargers, I’m not likely to be lured by the procrastinator. I’m far more likely to miss a posting date because I’ve succumbed to an alcohol-induced nap. Now that this post is ready to go, I think I’ll pour myself a nice glass of vino and see where it takes me.

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