Public Transit and Sleeping

10 Jul

My favorite falling asleep on the subway story goes something like this:

I’m in San Fransisco, visiting my friend Laurie.  I have a red-eye flight to Asheville in the morning, where I’ll stay for a night and then head to Chicago for Thanksgiving. In Asheville, I’m going to be visiting an awesome new friend of mine and want to be well rested the next day.  After a lovely evening of mexican food, margaritas, and impromptu karaoke, it’s time for me to head, via the subway, to the airport. Laurie offers me some tylenol pm or some other mild sleep inducing medicine and while I’ve never taken anything of the sort before, I decide it would be a good idea to ensure I get some good sleep on the plane.  Laurie gives me two. She turns around. I take them. “Do you want a baggie to keep those in?” she asks.  “No, I just took them.” I tell her.  Her eyes widen. “Go” she says.  “Now.  You need to get there before you fall asleep.”  We hurriedly hug goodbye and I make my way to the subway, thinking Laurie was surely overreacting.  I feel fine and the thirty minute ride to the airport will be cake.  But after about five stops, I start nodding off.  Soon, I’m falling asleep in between each stop, then awaking with a panicked start thinking I’ve missed my stop.  I woke up once and was drooling.  I did manage to wake up and get off in at the appropriate spot, groggily make my way through security, board the plane, and promptly pass out.  I slept very well.

Most of us have at some point fallen asleep whilst transporting ourselves public.  It’s totally common and unsurprising. And yet there are times when I’m in a plane at night, full of sleeping people with eyes closed, mouth open, head drooping, totally unaware of themselves and all vaguely resembling babies.  It’s amazing.  Where else is it socially acceptable to just fall asleep, en masse, in a tiny space full of strangers?  It’s really kind of magical. And that is part of why I love Asleep on the Subway, a blog dedicated to posting pictures of people doing just that.  Take a peek.



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