Yeah, I know, in the grand scheme of things, it’s a trivial matter. But really, is the local bookstore an appropriate place to take a nap?

I was ensconced in an armchair with a pile of books, frantically skimming, because I have an article due on Monday and it involves books I’d never seen before today. The library turns out to be useless for last-minute research, because the books I want always turn out to live at some OTHER branch of the county library system. But that’s neither here nor there.

What is here is that I was working hard during my three-hour window of kids-in-camp, and I needed to concentrate. A woman of about 70 sat down in the chair next to mine. She seemed to be waiting for somebody, and that’s fine. I have no objection to old ladies waiting. She closed her eyes, and that’s ok too. Old ladies need to rest.

But then she started to snore. Not a delicate, papery, old lady snore, but great big wheezes followed by violent snorks. Oy.

It took me years to train my husband to stop snoring like that. He’s now so well conditioned that I need only sigh with annoyance and he immediately turns over to the non-snoring side, without even waking up.

How did I teach him this trick? Aversive stimuli, of course. Just eight years or so of nocturnal violence, and now I sleep through the night.

So when the old lady started snoring next to me, I sighed my best annoyed sigh. But she did not respond as my well-trained husband does. She just kept on snoring. Since I did not feel I was at liberty to apply the Taser to her shoulder, she continued to honk and wheeze.

I would like to tell you I came up with a brilliant plan to solve this problem, but I didn’t. I had books, notebooks, and pens all over my lap and chair, and moving seemed like too much trouble. I did not want to appear to be callous or deranged by waking up an elderly woman who clearly needed a nap. Sometimes you just have to suck it up.


25 thoughts on “

  1. Book store employees everywhere agree with you. I’d also like to point out that the couches book stores are not an appropriate place to lie down on top of your beloved and grope them. Nor is it acceptable to come to a book store for the express purpose of polluting the bathroom.Did it really take 8 years to condition your husband? We’re coming up on 8 years here and I still have to beat the hell out of him. I guess it will take me longer since we don’t actually sleep in the same time zone half the time.

  2. Suck it up?  SUCK IT UP?!?  You’re kidding.
    You should have said, “excuse me, do you know you snore really loudly?”
    With any luck she’d be so embarrased that she would leave…

  3. That was probably me at the bookstore… you know, jet lag and all…
    BTW, I had to resubscribe to you today (somehow you “dropped off my radar”)… I knew I was missing something!

  4. I vote for the bump-the-chair maneuver.  Be glad you weren’t on a bus or subway train, where she would’ve slowly sagged her head onto your shoulder and started drooling down your arm.  I’ve been on the receiving end of that.  Ewwww.

  5. And three years later, the bruises are mostly healed…
    Gungaboy: Speaking from experience, I assure you it is a lost cause.  You can tell a woman she snores, but she simply won’t believe you.

  6. Personally, I like the taser idea :Dwomen and snoring:DH knows better than to say I’m snoring. However, he will say, “you make cute little sleeping noises”. It saves my womanly pride 🙂

  7. I trained my husband too, in a similar manner, although it took years.
    If you had a cell phone with you, using that moment to change your ringtone might have worked. If it happens again, try out the really annoying one for a long time, just to make sure it is what you want. You know. . .

  8. I would have done something drastic like trip over her and then said ” oh I am so sorry”.  Then, right before she starts to drift off again,  you do the sigh thing, really load and obvious, then you give the look.  My husband and I were guests on Oprah ( true story ) years ago due to his snoring, teeth grinding, and my sleep disorder.  I told her we don’t sleep together and she asked if I visit him.  Meaning do we have sex, if I wasn’t so nervous about my TV. debut I would have said, ” it really bugs me when people asume we don’t have sex just because we don’t sleep in the same room.  How many of you have sex in your sleep?”  Most people do it before or after sleep.  And even if I did sleep with him, I would have been pissed off after the honeymoon phase if he woke me up for sex.”  Wow, that was a lot of random information you all didn’t need to know.

  9. I pity the old lady.
     I’m sure you’ll feel tired and may fall asleep or snooze a bit in the bookstore when you reach 70.
    I don’t condone snoring but I think you ought to have more consideration for elderly people and not be so insensitive.
    – M K

  10. My Nana Jean used to snore like that.  Great big snorting, honking, wheezing snores.  On one vacation, my parents had the brilliant idea to let me share a hotel room with her (since I could supposedly sleep through anything). . .Longest. Night. Of my life.  I kept turning the T.V. on and off all night, because it made her stop for like 15 seconds. 
    Thanks for the stroll down memory lane. 😉

  11. Snoring can be very annoying, I know. But I looked behind it more–perhaps she’s lonely and is comforted by being around people. There may have been reasons that she wasn’t sleeping well at home? Perhaps she’s homeless? There could be any number of reasons! I might have looked for somewhere else to sit. Compared to snoring, there are so many other real problems in this world, that need to be attended to! Love to you.

  12. That’s great. . . .  I personally have never encountered a snoring, wheezing geriatric.  Well, not outside of my grandmother’s house anyway.  And she saves hers for the early morning hours, bless her heart.

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