There are things that we are meant to do in public, there are things our children should or could see, sleeping is not one of them. Public transport is designed, albeit inadvertently, to make sleeping an unpleasant choice. The seats on most stock allow that most hated experience, body roll. We have all experienced this at some point whether as the recipient or, much worse, the unintended roller.
For me there is nothing quite so bad as knowing that your falling asleep and that your going to get close to your companion but not being able to control it. I have bitten chunks out of my cheek and pinched my leg to the point of bleeding to try and prevent sleep and head nodding. On todays train a young girl was travelling with her mother who decided on a nap. I watched with some mirth as the young lady kept levering mum back up and pointing her at the window. One of the oddities of body roll is that it always veers to a person rather than a solid surface.
Having eventually settled mum on the window the daughter went to reach something from her bag and was aghast at what she saw. Yep, mum had assumed the standard open mouthed, dribbling pose that every commuter knows. What made me laugh was that, whilst scowling, she slammed mothers jaw up. It wasn’t a punch or a slap but I clearly heard the teeth coming together. What a way to wake up, I have no idea what dream mum was having or how the crack of her teeth was written in to it but I can report that she stayed awake for the rest of the journey.
As I wrote this I was reminded of a good body roll experience I had as a young man. I used to commute on old stock that had tables years ago. My preference is for the isle seat, having been boxed in unpleasantly in the past. As the train sat at Colchester a very pretty young lady asked to sit next to me and I gladly stood to allow her in. At this point I was comfortable going to sleep since nobody would disturb me for the other seat.
When I awoke something was immediately wrong, in true spy style I opened one eye to asses the situation. I knew that I was on a train and it was still moving but my vision was all wrong. It was, in fact, vertical! I was laying down, I could see the underside of the table and a pair of knees opposite. Struggling to draw the facts together I opened my other eye and heard “oh your awake” looking up I saw the underside of a delightful female chest and a happy face smiling down at me.
I lifted my head up, noticing the small damp patch of dribble on my ‘pillow’s’ skirt and stumbled through an apology. The young lady smiled sweetly and said “oh you started sliding, then you sort of fell but you looked so peaceful it seemed wrong to disturb you”. The great thing about being a young man is that even today I can recall my biggest regret was sleeping through the whole experience!