It was one of those rare afternoons when all was right in the world. An afternoon rain had cooled the air, and the steady drip, drip, drip of rainwater off the porch was hypnotic, and the daily chores were done.
It was too good to be true. I had the living room sofa all to myself. The coast was clear. The family was elsewhere.
In one well-choreographed move I fluffed the pillow, punched a dent for my sleepy head, pivoted into horizontal repose, spat the errant pillow tassle out of my mouth, and closed my eyes.
Impertinent Son No. 2 tapped my shoulder.
"Taking a nap?"
"It's a siesta."
"What's the difference?"
"Slackers 'take a nap'. A siesta is not a nap."
I rolled over and faced the back of the sofa.
"And one doesn't take a siesta. One enjoys a siesta. Now, beat it."
I had been caught stealing 40 winks and I had 39 to go. He stood there, unmoved, like the Paranormal Activity sleepwalker.
"Listen, son, I'm a traditionalist, preserving a way of life. For generations the people in this region of the world have snoozed right after lunch. I'm simply respecting a rich local tradition."
I shooed him away and faster than you can say ambien I was dreaming of k.d. lang sitting astride a crescent moon and serenading me as I swung in my hammock under tropical ...
"Who invented the siesta?"
He was back.
"After lunch. 1335."
"Island of Melatonin."
"No. Did you know the sandman gives a child five bucks whenever that child lets his dad enjoy a siesta?"
Using air quotes the nap troll informed me that my stories were "lame" and that "siestas are for old people."
I shooed him away a second time and returned to the horizontal path of enlightenment. I turned on my side and muttered into my pillow, "There ought to be a law against interrupting siestas."
I rubbed my face into my pillow like a dog rubbing his face into a carpet, kicked off my shoes and fell asleep. I dreamed I was watching the Tucson City Council. They were voting on a resolution.
All in favor of declaring the siesta to be a great and noble tradition worthy of daily practice say "aye." They all said "aye."
The city attorney said he'd sleep on it.
Harps were strummed, cherubs flew and our mayor, a lovely unicorn, declared, "Being necessary to the well-being of The People, the right of every Tucsonan to sleep in the afternoon shall not be infringed. Mandatory siestas are now the law. Any child waking a 'siesta celebrant' shall be sentenced to unload the dishwasher. Can we nap? Yes, we can."
The siesta was going to be as central to our lives as the morning cup of joe and the late-night snack. Uninterrupted and undisturbed, too! Slam the lid on my coffin and wake me when the sun is gone. I heard bells ringing.
It's the doorbell. Don't Jehovah's Witnesses nap? Let my people snooze, from every hammock and every sofa - let the snores ring forth.
I grumbled, stumbled, mumbled, took the pamphlets, shut the door, locked it, wheeled around and returned to my heroic effort to sustain a local tradition.
Like a condemned man I fell out of this world and back into another dream, more vivid than the last.
This time I was the leader of pro-siesta rebels, the Sandmanistas.
Around the campfire I told my fellow rebels, "It's time for the tired in Tucson to join forces with the fatigued in Phoenix and the sleepless in Seattle!"
They shook their pillows and cheered.
When I was a kid my parents had a ceramic sleeping Mexican on our porch.
Knees up, white sombrero down and slumbering under a saguaro, he was my parent's answer to the black jockey lawn ornament favored by the boneheads next door.
Suddenly, after all these years there he was in my dream, knees up and white sombrero down, a snoozing colossus surrounded by worshippers carrying torches, teddy bears and night lights.
The mighty God of the Eternal Siesta snored. I turned and addressed the Sandmanista rebels.
"Tomorrow we'll march on Washington! We'll demand action! Some will sleepwalk - and that's adorable. Armed with our non-allergenic feather pillows, we'll demand change! Siesta! Siesta!"
I paused and looked around at the unmoved and the groggy. "On second thought," I said, "let's take a nap. Forgive me. I meant to say 'enjoy a siesta'. "
And why not? It was one of those rare afternoons when all was right in the world.
Especially when the little voice said, "Hey, Dad. Wake up. It's time for dinner."