Sleeping around

Friday, January 28, 2011

He was sound asleep on a bench in the middle of the Orlando International Airport -- head slumped over, legs draped over his carry-on bag.

Normally, I wouldn't have given him another thought.

Goodness knows, I have always boasted of my own daytime slumbering ability.

What made this dozer unique was his exact location: inside a 4x4-foot plexiglass enclosure, ironically right outside of a Starbucks, enticing passersby to nose up to the transparent box and gawk at the lifeless traveler inside.

I began tapping on the window, convinced he was a living statue, the kind you see at street fairs.

It was, in fact, a sculpture by Duane Hanson, a brilliant artist whose creation simulates what plagues many a sojourner: Fatigue and boredom.

Sacking out in airports has become epidemic. There's even a website, sleepinginairports.net, with tips for people who get stuck overnight because of cancelled or delayed flights.

The Snazzy Napper is the newest solution for all of us who have desperately sought to find a flattering way to position our torsos while sleeping either at the airport or in our seats aboard the aircraft.

Now you can scrunch and contort any humiliating which-way.

Snore, drool and scratch to your heart's content.

Why? Because the Snazzy Napper will effectively protect your identity.

Here's how it works.

It's really nothing more than a colorful cloth that fully covers your head and neck, like a burqa -- admittedly not the most inconspicuous garb at airports nowadays.

The Snazzy Napper has one hole for your nose or, if you have a cold, you can insert your mouth there. You can also place your eye or ear in the aperture, but you will probably suffocate, a minor design flaw casually referenced on the warning label.

It also says not to drive a car or operate machinery while using their product, especially if you feel drowsy ... which I thought was the whole reason for buying the thing.

Many people are singing the praises of this invention on the Internet, but there are always critics.

One woman is threatening a lawsuit, not because it didn't work, but because it did: She caught some great zzz's, but her purse, iPhone and carry-on luggage were all stolen while she snoozed, and they could be spending the rest of their lives in Tahiti.

One unhappy customer let her husband try it on in the car first, but they missed their flight, having lost precious minutes convincing a police officer that the two them were not on their way to a bank heist. Another guy was annoyed that the product did not come with a more complete set of instructions, the very reason he keeps returning his tube socks to Kmart.

Some folks, disappointed with the product, have called The Snazzy Napper hotline and are surprised that no one ever answers.

I don't want to sound judgmental, but considering the product they're hawking, it's easy to conjure up a good mental image of what's going on in their call center.

By the way, their website also says that delivery of this single piece of fabric can take six to eight weeks to arrive in your mailbox.

This does not sound like a motivated group of workers.

My wife says I snore, drool and toss around in my seat on the plane and that it is quite noticeable to other passengers.

If I am such a source of embarrassment, why has no one ever said anything to her?

Apparently, no one recognizes her nose.