In the spring of 1978, chatting with a guy in Pingtung about the mutual friend who had introduced us the previous summer, he mentioned that they had been friends for three years already. I was a bit mystified, because in another conversation he’d told me that they had first met around Christmas of 1976. The way I counted it, the time span was about 18 months, hardly 3 years! He patiently explained, though, that they had become acquainted in the year of the dragon, and all of the year of the snake, and we were, at that moment, in the year of the horse: 1,2,3.
Across my life in Taiwan, it took several years for me to take up the habit of a nap at noon. Beginning in 2008, though, my office was on the same campus as my housing, a mere 150 meters from my bed. Naps became more than a habit, they became a necessary part of my day. But as for total sleep, I still only counted the hours of slumber between lights out and dawn.
The nap habit has followed me across the Pacific and into retirement. It wasn’t until this lockdown, though, that I began to fold the hour or so of mid-day sleep into my quotidian total. The lack of daily activity seemed to diminish my need for nightly sleep. A few nights last week included some wakeful hours in their middles. Knowing that an adult needs from 7 to 9 hours in each 24, I was concerned until I started counting on a “per 24” basis rather than merely “overnight”. An hour at noon plus nearly 7 overnight totals out OK,
I’m OK. I just needed to count my American sleep like Taiwanese years.
David Alexander now resides in Holland, MI after 39 years in Taiwan