You might think my daily after-lunch nap is a new thing engendered by my age and diminishing capacities. Well, you’d be wrong. It all started one hot June day in 1964. It was the era in which I flogged pay telephones. Yes! Pay telephones! In 1964, cell phones were just the wet dreams of the geek-a-zoids and high school snots.
In 1964, if you were away from home or office and needed to make a call, you located one of the black monstrosities, dropped the dime (this is from whence came the expression) and dialed up.
Anyway, on the day in question, I’d stopped for lunch at a nice Chinese restaurant near Como Park. Twenty minutes later and full to the gunwales with pork fried rice, I staggered to the car. To do my job, the Company (notice the uppercase “C”?) furnished a car and on opening its door, I was overtaken by a tremendous and overwhelming fatigue (perhaps there was something in the rice?). If I couldn’t find a place to nap, and find it right then, I’d fall to the ground in the next thing to a coma.
So I climbed in. The car was not a good place to nap. It was an ugly 1964 Chevie 4-door stripper with a 6-banger and 2-speed automatic. A true piece of shit. It was a ghastly green and had no:
- air conditioning
- power brakes
- power steering
- power windows
- inside light
- and not even an AM radio.
- At least it had a heater; the ones in Old Dixie didn’t.
The Company felt the ratepayers and investors would become irate at the Company for squandering their money on such frivolous creature comforts.
It also had a vinyl bench seat that left your backside sweaty and itchy and polished the seat of your pants to such a degree that they reflected light. Well I needed a place to sleep and the seat was a more dignified place than the grass.
Tossing my suit coat in ahead of me, I slid behind the wheel. A quick look around to make sure Harold, the boss, wasn’t lurking close by and my head fell back on the top of the seat. A few quick thoughts and I was out.
Twenty minutes later, on the dot, I came-to. I opened my watering eyes and tried to remember where I was; oh yes, under an oak tree by Como Park. To fully wake up, I got out of the car and walked about for a minute or two. I was surprised at how refreshed I felt. A couple of deep breaths and I was ready for another four hours of calling on bar-keeps and service station owners, trying to convince them a payphone was the answer to all their problems.
Ever since that day by Como Park, and whenever possible, I’ve crawled in a convenient hole at the noon hour and caught my forty winks. If I hadn’t been able to take my Daily Nap, I’d be dead from a coronary, or having gone postal, wrung Harold’s neck. Thanks to the Daily Nap, I have thriven such that now, in partial retirement, I am full of piss and vinegar. As I still take the Daily Nap, I should mush-on until ninety.
Harold, though, is no doubt dead.
PS: Yes, he’s dead. Harold died in 2004 at the ripe old age of eighty-four