Over the course of my life, I’ve come to believe in a variety of task-specific angels. The first one to develop was the parking angel, who my mom, my sister and I would entreat with varying levels of sincerity to find us a good parking spot, near to wherever we might have been headed that day. If the spot appeared just as we were pulling up on the same block as Powell’s bookstore or in the tiny parking lot of the co-op with the good granola, my mom would turn to us and say, “Girls, the parking angel has smiled on us today!”
The thriftstore angels, angels of serendipitous encounters and angels of found money have also played a prominent role in my life. But today I discovered another category of helper. The Nap Angel.
I spent the morning out at St. Joe’s today, trying to get a jumpstart on some of my assistantship work for the semester. I headed home around 2 pm, feeling sleepy and little scratchy throated (the cold is still here, although less so that it was last week). Once I got home, I wandered aimlessly around my apartment for awhile before realizing that the thing I needed to most in the world at that moment was sleep. Except that I was supposed to be at a meeting at Penn at 3:30. I looked at the clock on the bookshelf, said to myself “I can only sleep for half an hour,” stretched out on the couch in the living room and was gone. I slept in that deep, soft-fleshed, demanding way that most people lose when they hit adolescence.
After what seemed like a flash I woke up as my lungs expanded to let in a full swallow of air. I opened my eyes and looked at the clock. I had been asleep for exactly one half hour. Not a minute more. Still feeling groggy, I said to myself, “Well, I could really sleep for five more minutes.” Without another thought, I let gravity take over my eyelids. Soon I felt like someone was standing behind me, gently patting the top of my head. As soon as I was alert, it stopped. Looking at the clock, I saw that just five minutes had passed. I jumped up, refolded the couch blanket, brushed my teeth and was out the door.
Sitting on the trolley, I smiled to myself and sent a silent message of thanks to my nap angel, who had so perfectly timed my thirty-five minutes of sleep. I was five minutes early for my meeting.