12 hour days. 3 hour round-trip commutes. Early to rise, late to bed. Monday through Friday. 60 hour work weeks; I get it, its the life of the hard-working commuter. Understanding and considering all of these facts, however, I need to ask the following question: does this mean you get to use me as your pillow?

One of the things I love the most about riding the train is it allows me to relax on my way into work and, especially, on my way home from work. I don't have to worry about sitting in bumper to bumper traffic. I get to read a great book. And I can drown out the day with my favorite iTunes playlist. This is how I relax. Others, however, have the ability to nap on their way home, i.e. pass out as if they took a Quaalude or had one too many cocktails during happy hour.

A good friend of mine/fellow commuter is one of these said people. I ask her all the time, "How do you do it? Don't you worry about missing your stop or someone stealing your stuff?" She says "No, doll. I never miss my stop. I just cuddle up with my purse and my body just knows when to wake up!" I've discovered that, much like my friend, there are all kinds of "sleepers" on BART. I have been able to categorize them into six different types: Cuddlers, Leaners, Startlers, Snore-Snorters, Bob and Nodder's and, my personal favorite, The Comatose Commuter.

We'll start with the Cuddler's. Theses are the people (much like my friend) who take their belongings, rolls themselves into a neat ball, and fall asleep- blissfully unaware of the world around them. Next there are the Leaner's- those who fall asleep leaning their heads on their hands and then wake up vigorously shaking their arm to regain circulation. There are the Startler's- the people who wake up right as the train pulls up to their stop and bolt out frantically as if the train was on fire. The Snore-Snorters are those who do exactly that: snore then snort themselves awake, sometimes waking up with a drool pool on their shirt and always embarrassed. And then there are the Bob and Nod's-- these are the people who fall asleep sitting upright, but shortly after start to swerve their head like a drunken sailor. Typically, these people catch themselves before their head rests on a window or seat. But every so often, the Bob and Nodder's head lands, and stays...and sometimes it's on my shoulder. This person then becomes The Comatose Commuter. I encountered this sleeper on my way home a couple nights ago. At first, I waited patiently for her to wake up-- surely she'd recognize that she'd come to a complete stop on a stranger. But after a good minute or so, I realized that she'd found a cozy friend in my shoulder and was down for the count. I debated on whether or not to wake her, but figured since I was only 2 stops away from my station, I'd let her have her tiger snooze. After all, she was seemingly hygienic, wasn't drooling, and smelled like a hint of rosemary (one of my favorite scents in the world).

When I arrived at my stop, I wiggled just enough for Sleeping Beauty to awaken from her slumber. She looked at me like "Who the hell are you and how did you get here?" even though she initially sat next to me. I smiled at her, hoping for a quick "Thank you for being my human pillow for 15 minutes", but it never came. Instead, she instantly became the Startler and shoved me out of the door because clearly I wasn't moving fast enough. Lesson learned; they say you shouldn't wake a sleeping baby, but you should ALWAYS wake a Comatose Commuter.

Only on BART. Only. On. BART.
Alycia
4/23/2013 01:21:06 pm

These are hilarious! I look forward to more awesome stories. :)

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