Change that puts me to sleep

By Matt Hose

With the dawn of the new year, Barack Obama was sworn in for his second term as the president of the United States of America. At his inauguration, Obama gave a highly politicized roller coaster of a speech that touched on topics such as Medicare, homosexual rights and illegal immigration.

His speech angered some just as much as it enthralled others.

But why could he not find some common ground for everyone in America to stand on? Could he propose some legislation that could unite the whole country?

With my mind fresh from the experience of studying abroad, I have come up with the great unifying program for the president to add to his agenda, with a priority placed right above that pesky debt ceiling.

I propose a government sponsored nap. Or, as the Spaniards call it, a “siesta.”

In Spain, usually from 3 to 5 p.m., culture dictates that entire cities basically shut down and everyone goes home for two hours of rest.

This practice mainly originated when people worked on farms and needed a few hours to escape the scorching Spanish sun during the hottest part of the day.

Over centuries, however, the siesta has come to be one of the defining aspects of Spanish culture, with entire cities basically shutting down when siesta time rolls around.

In America, I hear people complaining all the time about our changing culture, with homosexuals winning rights to marry, marijuana being legalized and our military-grade assault rifles being pried from our fingers. But would they complain about more sleep?

In the three weeks that I spent in Sevilla, Spain, I did not hear one person complain that they had two full hours off of work to go home and sleep.

In fact, some employees seem to stare at their clocks as the hour approaches, seemingly hoping to bully it into striking 3 p.m.

Then, from right around that time until 5 p.m., almost every shop in the city shuts down, the streets are abandoned and the entire city goes to sleep.

After these two hours are finished, the whole civilization wakes back up. The restaurants reopen, and the streets crowd with locals.

The people don their night clothes and go back to work for a few hours.

Instead of feeling the 4 p.m. grogginess of most working Americans (and every college student that has had to suffer through an evening class), the Spanish spend their last few hours refreshed and energized.

They then proceed directly from work to the local bars, and most of the young people do not even return home until 4 or 5 a.m.

So, maybe Spain can’t agree on austerity measures. Maybe they can’t fix their economy.

But they sure are getting their beauty sleep, and they sure do look beautiful afterwards.

It has become obvious, as well, that our government can’t agree on war, guns, gays, money or debt, so let’s start with one task politicians can definitely agree on: sleep.
I mean, really, who doesn’t love sleep? College students would benefit from a Big-Brother-imposed siesta.

When those three-hour-long 6 p.m. classes roll around and we are ready to conquer them because of that two hour Senate-approved nap, then we will all be saying, “Thanks, government!”

And if that argument isn’t enough to motivate our government to action, Congress can still approve the plan for selfish reasons. Even the government workers themselves will be more sprightly under my agenda. Maybe after a good midday nap they will be happy to get lunch with their neighbors across the aisle. Or maybe they will at least talk to them. Yeah, maybe we should just start with baby steps.