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Sleeping in PublicSleeping in Public

Sleeping in Public

Trust figures into the equation—do you trust people around you enough to be able to nod off for a bit. In a workplace, sleeping is frowned on. At Cardus, that is mostly the case because of what might happen to you while you are resting. It is unlikely that anyone here would be able to resist the opportunity of seeing a fellow colleague completely defenseless. Aside from that, the idea of being able to sleep in public is worthy of policy reflection. It shouldn't be discouraged and is the sign of a healthy community.

Milton Friesen
2 minute read
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You don't read much about sleeping in public these days but I think it's a topic worthy of contemplation by the After Hours circle. The piece that sparked this was my recent (and ongoing) reading of A Pattern Language. The section in question reflects on the merits of being able to take a nap in your favourite public space.

Trust figures into the equation—do you trust people around you enough to be able to nod off for a bit. In a workplace, sleeping is frowned on. At Cardus, that is mostly the case because of what might happen to you while you are resting. It is unlikely that anyone here would be able to resist the opportunity of seeing a fellow colleague completely defenseless. Aside from that, the idea of being able to sleep in public is worthy of policy reflection. It shouldn't be discouraged and is the sign of a healthy community.

There may be exceptions.

I'm not at all ashamed to say that on Canada Day I napped on Parliament Hill. Nothing wrong with that. I consider it a sign of my commitment as a citizen and an assurance that Canada, as a country, is doing just fine. As the driver who was on the road at 5 a.m. while the rest of the family slept in the van, it seemed very sensible that I prepare for the long drive home.

The twist was that Michelle, Charae and Dylan were being crushed in the Queen-fan crowd about that time. They had been missing for two hours after leaving our spot on the Hill to go find coffee and snacks. I had done all I could to find them without abandoning Brittany and Mackenna but without success (there are a lot of people around there on Canada Day). Having dispensed with those duties as far as I was able, napping seemed the appropriate next step.

Thinking I was worried sick about their long absence, Michelle, Charae and Dylan were shocked to spy me napping from their perch a block or so away. Michelle had experienced a certain amount of distress in the crowd, was helped by a paramedic, and was recovering when they spotted me from their elevated viewpoint. Charae used her digital zoom to capture the fact (I have not included the photo for obvious reasons—it would support her budding paparazzi tendencies). I'm all for napping in public, but there may be certain moments when it is deemed questionable. One of those moments, apparently, is when your family is in danger from rabid royalty hounds.

Have you any stories of napping and the relative merits or detriments thereof? Should a National Day of Napping be called?

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