Tue 28 Aug 2007
i love my bed.
i love it with a visceral, limb-splaying, full-body passion, so much that Dave will attest what a piss-poor job i do jumping out of it in the morn, even when it’s bright and summery outside and there’s a sweet laughing Oscar to play with. i live a terrible struggle, friends, between two temptresses…my child, beloved, and my bed, neglected. in my fantasies, my delicious boy decides that nothing is more fun in all the world than to stay in bed and cuddle with mama, and then i have to give up my day job and just parent from Fortress Mattress.
suffice to say i am the Queen of lying abed, and i savour every second.
i am not, however, faithful to a single bed…oh no. i do admit that the big, cushy, quilted boxspring and mattress we bought when we moved back to Canada has been a quality investment, and that my love of the State of Bed is enhanced by the fact that i happen to be lucky enough to have nice pocketed coils enhancing that state for me. but i lived a long, bohemian life of indiscriminate bed-loving for years before we purchased said mattress, and whether on mat or cot or futon, my lazy ass has found a way to celebrate them all.
and as with old lovers, it is sometimes pleasant to recall these beds of the past, their heyday moments, the watersheds they represent…the versions of myself they once cradled and shaped. i read Jen‘s list of ten beds that shook her world earlier today, and was captivated…she borrowed the idea from Jennifer, whose blog is a brand-new delight for me…and even though i’m not a Jennifer or a Jen, i want to play too. :)
these are some of the places i’ve slept that shaped me.
1. a saggy iron college cot in Sackville NB, 1989. i propped the cot up between the window sill and the school-issue desk, and had my own tiny loft, five stories up. and my mother, bless her, couldn’t tell me it was dangerous, nor see any of the things i managed to do in that teensy space. like skip all my 8:30 classes that year.
2. the bar car on a Via Rail journey from Moncton NB to Vancouver BC, Thanksgiving weekend 1994. my ex and i and our best friend were three fresh Maritime kids moving across the country with our last few dollars in the midst of a recession, seeking the proverbial better life. we left our seats to go cop a smoke in the bar car and ended up with no seats to go back to, because the train was so crowded. we slept in the bar car/smoking car/bubble car for six straight days, us and an old guy named “Ra.” we think it was really Ray, but he was too drunk to finish his name. the whole time.
coming into the Rockies in the blackness of three am with Simon & Garfunkel’s “America” on my walkman…one of those beautiful moments i’ve got stored away to chew on, when i’m old.
3. an upper bunk in a generic hostel dorm, Oban, Scotland, 2000. it was my first hard-won long-awaited trip outside the North American continent, but i was stressed out and insomniac, my marriage unravelling on another continent. i’d never felt so lost as i did lying awake and bug-eyed on that top bunk my last night there, desperate to quiet both my mind and the ungodly snorer half-way across the room. about four am i finally lost my temper, climbed down the bunk in the dark, grabbed a random shoe from the floor, climbed back up, and flung the shoe straight across the room and (i like to hope) into the head of the snorer. pandemonium ensued, with much swearing and turning on of lights. i smiled sweetly at everyone and dropped off to sleep. and realized in the morning that perhaps, really, not sleeping wouldn’t actually kill me…but that random travel companions might if i didn’t chill.
4. a bathtub in an unidentified garret belonging to an expat bar owner in Prague, also 2000. i had gotten over the insomnia. it took longer to get over sitting up alone in a tub ’til morning, wearing goggles and trying to read Catcher in the Rye whilst on acid. walking back into the old city the next morning, still coming down, my eyes tricked me into seeing the mirage of an ocean behind MittelEurope’s spires, sun-glinted and fairy-like. i forgot, in my wonder and my haze, that Prague is landlocked.
later, it dawned on me that the misperception was an apt metaphor for that whole strange interlude, brutal yet magic-tinted as it was.
5. a hard double bed in a private room in the Orient hostel in downtown Istanbul, early 2001, within sight of the Blue Mosque’s minarets. the call to prayer at dawn is, for an infidel who’s been up all night, one of the most compelling sounds in the world.
6. a Western-style double bed in Busan, Korea, spring 2001. my own, alone. in my own apartment, which was provided and furnished by my work and represented the first time i had lived alone in more than seven years. except that it was replete with pet cockroaches the size of my pinkie finger. one of whom dropped from the ceiling onto the pillow beside me one evening.
i slept with a can of Raid under the bed.
7. a Korean yo, or sleeping pad, thin as a yoga mat, in Dave’s apartment, Busan, Korea, summer and fall 2001. i had known him for five years already, at that point, and six since, but even now when i call him to mind – his soul self, the part that matters most – i see him framed by that space, by the green walls and yellow linoleum of that apartment, his face naked. another memory saved away for when i get old…love, recollected in tranquility.
8. room with fan and balcony, Khao San Road, Bangkok, 2002. me quite unclothed on the balcony, eight floors up, looking out over Bangkok at the coming dawn. quite entirely certain, in that moment, that i had lived.
9. the last available bed in Munich during a festival weekend, 2002, after Dave and i had flown in from Bangkok, slept in a park in Frankfurt upon landing in Europe, bought tickets for Prague, and gone to sleep exhausted on the train only to be rudely awakened by a German border guard at 3 am explaining that actually we hadn’t got the right visas and were being expulsed from said train NOW. in the middle of nowhere. huddled outside locked railways station until morning, got tickets to Munich, where the closest visa office was located, arrived to discover the city was overrun with tourists and entirely booked, and walked – carting more luggage than any backpackers have a right to have – around the city until we found a hotel with a room. we spent over 100 Euro on it, which was more than we’d spent in three weeks in Cambodia the month before, but we hadn’t slept more than an hour or two in almost ninety hours. it was worth every penny.
10. a rubber-sheeted, squeaky loud hospital bed with adjustable head and feet, IWK Children’s Hospital, Halifax NS, 2005. i slept in this monstrosity for the nearly three weeks after i was airlifted to the hospital until Finn was delivered. the night he died, when we finally made our way back upstairs from the NICU in the almost-light of morning, Dave crawled in and slept on it with me, holding me.
11. a huge swanky bed in a huge swanky hotel overlooking Tianamen Square, Beijing, 2005, three and a half months after Finn’s birth and death. i was alone, travelling for work, and jetlagged and overwhelmed with the strangeness of the familiarity of being back in Asia after all that had happened. it was here, on downy comforters embroidered with ideograms, writing in my journal late, late into the nights, that i came to terms with the fact that scared as i was, i was more scared not to try again. we conceived Oscar the week i got home. we were amazingly lucky.
and then i got to spend another two entire months in that same craftmatic hospital bed. for someone who likes beds, i still don’t like bedrest. but…that’s another story. and it was worth it.
now…your turn. tell me your bed time stories. please?