I've always been a big proponent of naps.
When working at Ivoryton Playhouse in my younger years, I would often stay up late doing various illegal activities. Working all day building sets in the 90 degree humid Connecticut summers would seriously deplete my energy reserves. To combat that, when I finally was in charge of my own crew, I implemented nap time after lunch. It wasn't any formal decree or anything. I would just nod off in the cool basement of theater surrounded by ancient props and furniture and left my crew to either join me or suffer in the sun. Over time, it became an institution unto itself, much to the chagrin of the production manager, one Arthur Pignataro. He was an aging queen who believed his sole purpose at the theater was to rob it's mostly sub-20 year old work staff of any kind of enjoyment in the workplace. Did he think we were doing this job for the money? No, we did it so we could drink until the wee hours on someone else's property and sometimes put on some shows.
But I digress.
I continued this trend of taking naps during the day while working at various theaters in the City. One especially, NYTW, had great couches and I worked there off and on for years simply because I could take naps. That's not exactly true, I loved the group of people I worked with simply because of their semi-carefree demeanor matched my own. But the naps were key, because I reasoned that a 15 min. nap in the middle of the day was the equivalent to four hours of sleep at night. That way, I could stay up till 4 in the morning and still work the next day by getting a nap during lunch. Most of the workers didn't get my drift but soon I was competing for space on the dressing room couches with my coworkers.
It seems I am not alone in thinking naps are great for increasing productivity. The Spanish and most Latin American countries, according to what I learned in school (I have no idea if this is true or not anymore), have employed a mandatory siesta for years. I've heard Japanese businessmen can rent a Pod for 15 minute intervals which plunges them in complete darkness and even pumps in the music of their choice. I thought this was only limited to Japan but a quick google search brought me to the attention of MetroNaps. There's one right near me in the Empire State Building, but the $15/nap price tag may be too much for daily nap consumption. And this article from the BBC states that British corporations are looking into incorporating nap-rooms or napnasiums into new office floor-plans.
Since joining the office workforce a year ago, I've had to curtail my midday napping. There's just no way to properly conceal the fact that you are sleeping at your cubicle without someone bigwig noticing. And there's nothing I'd rather do after big lunch then close my eyes and grab something close to 40 or so winks. Perhaps I eat too much but that's another story. I haven't been able to participate in my chosen lunchtime pastime. But as it began to get warmer these last few weeks, I've wanted to curl up in the sun. By my building at 320 Park Ave., there are a few public areas. One even has a fountain which adds a nice ambient gurgling to the normal aural cityscape. I have to admit on the more sunny days recently, I have lain on the often bird shit-speckled stones and slept in full view of the thousands of pedestrians on Park Ave. While this is somewhat enjoyable (the sun om my face is nice), the hard marble surface is not very conducive to a restful sleep. I wake up rubbing the places where my body was in contact with the stone.
Luckily, I've found an alternative. Right across the street from my office building is St. Bart's church. I am an atheist, so I have a natural aversion to churches. It took me months before I ever wandered into St. Bart's, just to see what it was all about. Admittedly, it is a very beautiful specimen of Byzantine architecture. Something about it's interior is very peaceful, maybe it's the stones, maybe it's the huge sweeping arches, maybe it's the fact that it's an Episcopalian church so it doesn't have all the trappings of guilt and doom that Catholic churches do for me. I walked in and out and didn't think much of it. That is, until I began my unconscious search for a place to sleep at 2:30pm every day.
This week my routine has been this: get out of work around 2pm, get some udon noodles from the cafe, chow down while reading John Irving's Son of the Circus (a surprisingly great book, not one of his better-known), escape onto the streets of Manhattan to smoke (I quit today) while making my way to St. Bart's, choose an out of the way pew (this took a while to discover, I tried to pick one behind on of the many columns which would provide the least amount of view to any passerby), lay down and sleep while listening to the organ being tuned or whispered conversations or the very faint sounds of the New York City streets. The pews are not very comfortable, they seem to be covered by ancient cushioning that is only marginally less injury-inducing than the marble outside. They are kind of thin so one arm is always sliding off. I've discovered the answer to this today though as I moved the kneelers (eight inch thick cushions, something which would never be seen in catholic churches) and stacked them so my right elbow has something to lie on.
It's the perfect napping place, without having to pay a cent (fuck you MetroNap!). So far, no one has asked me to leave or even to sit up. There are always homeless people in there so I guess they must think a guy in a suit isn't much worse. And I get my 15 minute nap and get back to work refreshed so that I can blog with more efficiency. Every day this week.