There have been three moments in my life where I have seen this deviation tactic used with such skillful talent. In two out of the three occasions the story did not have a happy ending.
The first time was more than two decades ago. We were riding on a overnight train from Salzburg to Florence. My husband and I were on a cabin by our own when suddenly, after a stop in Venice, a large group of gigantic prostitutes got on with their wigs bleached, their spandex micro-skirts. Three of those enter our cabin and sit near the door. “Dormi, signorina,” the leader of the pack kept telling me while they held the door close. Suddenly, the carabinieri came in and the three women pretend to be asleep. The policeman had no patience and kept telling them that pretending to be asleep was not going to work. After a few moment when we hardly breathed, the three women stood up and ran out of the cabin. The policeman entered the following cabin where the same plot was reenacted, but at that time, the three prostitutes stood up and surrounded the carabinieriwith their 6fttall bodies and started punching him. Reinforcements were there a minute later and the train suddenly stopped in the middle of nowhere, where we saw a group of at least twenty women of the night being kicked off among shouts and a ton of bad Italian swears.
The second time was a few weeks ago. The location: a morning train ride from New York City to Connecticut. The conductor starts asking for tickets when a young guy, high as a cloud and seating two roads in front of us pretended to be asleep. The conductor pushed him and tried to move him before warning him she was going to call the police. As soon as we stopped in the first station, tree police officers get on the train, their guns hanging on their belts. The guy knew he had no more excuses and he got peacefully scorted out of the train.
Third time is the charmer, they say. Location was a lot more familiar and stationery: home. I walked into the foyer and found the dogs hiding and a very sticky mess on the floor. I lifted my voice - or screamed, however you want to call it- to a certain almost four-year old. “Leo, what did you do? What is this mess?” The boy jumped on the sofa, laid on his back, closed his eyes and started snoring. No more screams after that while I hid my laugh.
Several lessons were drawn from these three situations: 1. Pretending to be asleep to escape a sticky situation only works 1/3 of the time. 2. Being a conductor can deplete someone’s patience really quickly. 3. American police looks a lot scarier than their Italian counterparts. 4. Prostitutes in Venice are really, really tall. 5. The sleeping technique is an universal tactic 6. If you want to evade your responsibility by pretending to be asleep you’d better be very, very cute.