Saturday 16 December 2017

Ailbhe Malone: The art of napping

Ailbhe Malone

I'm a napper. There, I've said it, consequences be damned. Give me a 15-minute window of time, and I'll be asleep faster than you can say "somnambulant".

When I was at university, I used to have little naps in the library. I've napped in classrooms, airports and on buses (bad move, by the way. Unless you have an alarm set, you're doomed). My narcoleptic habit was all going merrily, until I took it to the next level: nightclub napping. Let's get this straight, there's no shame having a little sit-down in the loos when things get a bit much. Sit out a song in (relative) peace and quiet, then bam! You're back in the game. But things get a bit tricky when instead of resting your feet, you begin to rest your eyes...

An old school friend rings up, asking if I want to go to a party. I haven't seen her in ages and have no real plans for the evening. So why not, eh? Flash forward to a 14th-floor flat that's a two-hour journey from my house. I'm in a room full of people that I don't know. I am the only girl with short hair, and the only one who is not wearing a glitzy top and a micro-mini skirt. Cascada is blasting out of the speakers. Dressed in boots, jeans and a check shirt, I am incredibly out of place. I feel like an m&m in a room full of Skittles. I try to catch my friend's eye and point towards a quieter room. "Perhaps we could have a catch-up?" I posit. Futile. As I'm mouthing the words, she's positing her tongue down her new boyfriend's throat. Right, option two: Dutch courage.

Bottle of wine in hand, I begin to circulate the room. The next thing I know, we are in a nightclub and I'm having the time of my life... kind of. My new-found friends have all suddenly taken off their high heels to dance better on the slippery ground. I keep my booties on, mindful of smashed glass. And promptly fall over. Oh dear. Embarrassed, I shuffle to the bathroom.

Gazing at my battered ankles, I become a little bit overwhelmed. Where is my friend? Why doesn't she want to hang out with me? Existential crisis ahoy! I need to think. I need to sit down. Into the cubicle I go. I put down the toilet lid, hang up my handbag, and shut my eyes. My little nest is actually quite cosy. I conk out. What was meant to be a little sit-down is now a full-blown power nap. Except it's not exactly a nap...

An hour later, I awaken to banging on the toilet door. Bleary eyed, I gather my things and 'answer the door', as it were. It's my friend! And she's furious. "What do you think you're doing?" "I was a little bit tired," I respond. "You've humiliated me in front of everyone! It looks like you think my friends are boring!" she screeches. I try to explain how that wasn't my intention and that her friends are actually quite fun, but this doesn't go down well. The only solution, it appears, is an elaborate plan. "We'll say that your boyfriend broke up with you and you've been in here crying ever since," she states. Disagreement is clearly not an option. She drags me out to the sink and throws some water in my face, pinching my cheeks to make them flushed and red. I'm too sleepy and confused to argue.

My friend then drags me through the crowd towards the exit. Any questions are fielded by a terse, "She's upset, she's going home." Surrounded by staring strangers, I've never felt more like Lindsay Lohan in my life. It's great.

I'm pushed into a taxi, clutching my coat and bag for dear life. Confused and wondering why my friend had turned into Discozilla, I look towards her. She leans into the taxi, winks and says, "Sorry about that, Ailbhe, but if I told them you'd fallen asleep on the loo, you'd be a laughing stock. I'll say that you texted from the taxi and you're back on with your fella. Take care, bye!"

She has a point. That's not to say I won't have a secret nap again in the future. Although, next time, I'll set my alarm.

Irish Independent

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