It’s a memory from my youth that played out a hundred times in the same way. The location changed, as well as certain specifics, but the scene always played out like this.
It would start with a family trip to the movies. We didn’t do it a lot, but when we did everyone went. Mom and grandma would be on my left, grandpa and an aunt or uncle on the right. The theatre would darken, our eyes and ears would adjust to the volume and lighting during the previews, allowing us to be ready when we reached that momentary pause before the movie should start. Then from my right I would hear it… heavy breathing.
It was innocent enough, clearly somebody dozed off, but then the snoring would begin. Real, deep snoring like the kind you can only get in a full-on sleep. The kind of snoring that mimics a lumberjack but more closely resembles a wildebeest with an asthma problem. Then my grandmother would lean forward…
“Bill!” she would say in a volume slightly higher than a whisper.
“Bill!” she’d repeat in her speaking voice.
Again, no response.
“BILL!” She would say in a tone that drew attention from far and wide. I have come to call this the Lazarus tone as it is so loud and shrill that it has in fact woken the dead.
This would finally rouse him, although he would not then or ever admit to having fallen asleep. I suspect he has not actually seen an entire movie since the 1960′s.
After waking him, someone would inevitably ask, “If you are just going to sleep then why don’t you just stay home?” A valid question, I thought…
Here he was, a father of five who worked countless hours at a lumber yard, now seated in a warm, dark room with nobody trying to communicate with him. What would you have done?
Flash forward 20-plus years to me. Here I am, a father of four who works countless hours in a lumber yard. Now ask me how many movies (in a theater) I have seen all of the way through in the last seven years.
Not a one. I fall asleep in the first 10 minutes. If I’m lucky, I stay that way for at least an hour.
Why don’t I stay home and nap you might ask. Well, because at home I have people either trying to talk to me or projects that need to be done. In a warm, dark, and quiet movie theater, I have nothing else needing my attention and sleep seems to be the natural result.
You might also be thinking, “You do realize that you are basically paying to nap, right?”
To which I respond, “Yup.”
And you can bet that I’ll do it again.
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