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COLUMN: Relaxing cat nap? Not for the rest of us

On February 19, 2013


A funny thing happens when you make it a driven habit to people-watch on campus: You become what some call “hyper-observant.”

Essentially it centers around this idea that over time a person becomes so well in tune with their sense, so immensely focused, that certain senses become so intense they almost take on a life of their own. To best illustrate this, it is a lot like each sense being a member of the Mighty Ducks, but over time, the Ducks — senses — see the need to form a focus on one sense and attack from that front, so they form a Flying V and just like that, hyper-observance takes over.

I bring this up because I ran into such an experience in a very vivid way recently. The main twist this time around is, for once, the observance process sped itself up because in one way or another, it was thrust upon me.

Picture if you will, myself, plopped on a couch in the student center, equipped and prepared to do what I’m sure every member of society does on a frost-pelted afternoon: study, sip a Pepsi and do some where-are-they-now research on the cast of “My Brother and Me.”

A quick scan of the environment around me tells me this is generally the case, save one individual, who has very much ridden, if you can call it that. No, he isn’t hunched over a computer, cell-phone nestled snugly between outer thigh and couch cushion like us, and he runs a different ship this afternoon. He has a backpack flopped just by his feet to signify immediate departure, back straight, feet shoulder width, hands in lap, head back and to the left, eyes closed and mouth open.

That’s right, general reading public: We’ve got ourselves a sleeper. Get ready for a ride.

As it always does, it started off innocently. Nobody ever judges the public sleeper. I mean, he has to have a motive, right? Somewhere down the line of his academic ventures, his professional ventures and his “My Brother and Me” ventures, he lost a few rest hours. We can all adjust a little and give him his peace.

That was, until the noise.

It started with breathing, which became heavy breathing, which then became wheezing, which turned into a light roar. Then, before any of us could list the main nations involved in the initiation of World War I, the snoring began.

The snoring wasn’t overly intrusive at first. It was a light rumble, much like the noise of flipping through a Rolodex that still has old rice grains stuck in it from an unorganized house-moving experience.

Then came the snort stop.

Now, you know the snort stop, right? It’s that inharmonious union of a hard snore, met with so much air intake that nostrils flutter into a nose snort so painstakingly violent it has been known to for caterpillars to prematurely pop into butterflies, all followed by a stirring silence equating itself with the moment in every horror film when the protagonist thinks they will find the slasher behind a corner but only sees the cat.

The silence means one of two polarizing things. After a natural couch-area wide nod that somehow signifies me as their anti-public-sleeping union leader, I looked over in hopes of option one: the wake up.

Seeing no sign of one deep inward breath, facing shaking or fingers squeezing eyelids, all leading to him checking the time, I unfortunately had to silently inform my union that option two was upon us. Yes, our sleep is due any moment to become the sleeping lumberjack.

And so he did. He began sawing snore logs so loud, continental drift stopped. I felt like what everyone must have felt life during all parts of “Speed”: all that noise and no productivity.

What made it worse? It echoed up the halls, up the stairs, to every known corner of the building. For years doctors have wandered through hours of study if snoring could form its own PA system. The answer, signified blatantly by the swiftness of our silent couch union’s departure, is yes.


– Steve Schwartzman is a senior in communication studies and linguistics. When he isn’t trying too hard to make people laugh he is usually watching sports, watching 90’s cartoons or experiencing all things Aggie Life. Got a good idea for Steve to rant about? Hit him up at or on Twitter @SchwartZteve

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