Naps are Good

I don’t get the bus system here in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques. I have a Toronto friend visiting from England (or is that an English friend from Toronto? Something like that). Anyway, we decided today to go into St Palais, a village to the south of Sauveterre with a few good brocantes (antique shops – I still need a table). The bus would leave Sauveterre at 12:50 and arrive in St Palais just after one o’clock.

Perfect, just in time for lunch. But then in checking the return schedule, we learned that the bus was going to come back from St Palais at 2:30, meaning we’d have just over an hour to shop in a town that’s closed for lunch (yes, rural France shuts down between noon and two o’clock).

Our other option was to walk back (12km) or take a taxi (20 euros). We thought we’d do the walking thing, but while waiting for the bus, we decided that it was too hot to do anything so active. Instead we went back to the apartment, had lunch and napped for an hour and a half.

In checking out schedules, we noticed that the bus to Salies de Béarn (north of us) left Sauveterre at 4:30pm returning at 8:40. Definitely a more civilized time.

This area is really not conscious of tourists without cars. Or of people who live here without cars. You’d think this was North America with the area’s dependence on the car!

But I’m off topic. Today is about limited time. If we had stuck to the one hour time limit in St Palais, we would have rushed about town, not gotten what we wanted done, and felt unsatisfied with the results.

For how many of you does that sound like a normal day?

When faced with a day like that, try to find a way to have a nap and go into Salies instead (i.e., find time to relax and get other things done). Time is limited only by our choices of what we do with it and what are our priorities each day. During time-crunched days, take a look at the big picture and decide what else you could do in the time available that won’t leave you feeling crunched.

Someday Lessons:

  1. Time is only limited by our choices.
  2. If something can’t be done now, do another task and schedule the first one later.

Lunch Today:
Sausages (so fresh!), green beans (straight from the farm!) and corn bread (baked two hours previously!). Oh and of course, Sauce Basque (still obsessed with it).

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3 thoughts on “Naps are Good

  1. My sister recently returned from France and she told me about how in many places shops and restaurants close down for an afternoon siesta. The concept sounds nice, especially from the standpoint that every moment of our postmodern lives resonate with the click of a clock constructed entirely by technocapitalist ideologies. We are in some ways defined not just by the time(s) we live in, but also by the timing of our lives, structured, controlled, oppressed, etc. Yet in full conceptual sight of this, I sometimes wonder if the siesta is also somewhat problematic. Who does it truly serve? The puppet people who slave away day after day thinking that an afternoon nap is really a method to recharge their physical and emotional batteries, or is it still something constructed by the powers of postmodern master social and economic narratives that keep our very worker-bee selves reified and intact? I myself care not if I have an afternoon nap, so long as I am working and being productive in the creative sense overall, not just as someone tied to commercial parameters of daily regimentation.

    Then again, i’m yet to see France and a nation that has such a convention. My question is, is the European convention of an afternoon break which is by North American standards a very large break, a problematic thing for a visitor to get used to? Or is it something that we should adopt here in North America or is it too culturally differential? Do people there truly feel it adds to their lives, their work lives, their family lives, and other aspects of existence?

  2. Elizabeth Fayle says:

    My question is, where on earth are all these people napping? Are there rooms in the back of each store lined with cots? Richard asks if we can adopt this custom here in North America. Let’s see, an hour on the bus home, and an hour back, and there goes my nap time. I suppose I could sleep on the bus! If I was to stay at work, I would simply keep on working. Do we all go out for a 2 hour walk, or sit on a park bench and read? Lovely in the Summer, but I’m thinking not in minus 40 weather. Seems our work day is also defined by our commuting distances and the weather!

  3. True. Now that I think about it, i’m overslept as it is these days. 🙂

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