A Loco Viewpoint
Sleeping was in Tents
Last weekend, Cupcake and I did something we haven’t done for so long, I can’t recall our last time. No, not that, we were camping in a tent. The nylon lodgings were made necessary when we were staying at Rundle’s Mission for our family’s annual reunion; a fun-filled weekend that pits those there for fellowship and prayer, against those seeking Frisbeeship and beer. The lines between the two groups are often blurred, especially if you’re on the beer side of the equation.
Given that the closest high-end motel or hotel to the facility is a good ‘Where the hell are we?’ away, the purchase of a tent and an inflatable mattress became a necessity. In fact, Cupcake bought so much camping paraphernalia (she loves to accessorize) we noticed Camper’s Village ads in the paper began, ‘Dear Cupcake,’.
The tent we (and by we, I mean Cupcake) selected for the outing was a six-man Coleman job. I asked her if we could exchange it for a six-woman one but she said ‘no’. The mattress was a Coleman, too; a company that appears to have a lock on the outdoorsy market more than Sony owns the indoorsy one. It went up fairly quickly in a Cupcake-approved location; which is to say, ‘close to a biffy’. She also likes to be close to bushes in case the biffy is still too far away. I ask as little about her reasons as possible.
Cupcake and I had never had an inflatable mattress like this one. It rivaled our bedroom mattress for size and depth and would have been far superior to our Posterior-Pedic as a floatation device, a use sadly not recommended by the air-bed manufacturer. We were used to scrawny cheapies that, in the morning, were flatter than when they came out of the box. We’d use a slab of foam rubber on top of it for a modicum of comfort insurance but it takes up the size of a person in a vehicle; a very oddly shaped person, at that. (Perhaps one of those poor unfortunate souls in those horrid “What do you call a guy with no arms or legs” jokes. I.e. What do you call a guy with no arms or legs in a bull ring? Gord.)
The first night with my sweetie in the tent was a real eye-opener. Apparently, I hadn’t blown the mattress up enough, because the unit had a major downside our home version didn’t have. The unexpected reality became immediately apparent after I had tried to get in bed at 3:00 AM without waking Cupcake. I discovered with dismay, that the weight of the individuals on the mattress had to be exactly the same, or the there were problems. Big problems.
Now I’m not saying who outweighs who here, and it really doesn’t matter. The fact is; if Person A outweighs Person B on an air-bed, Person A will create a miniature ‘gravity well’ on the flexible surface. It will resemble a high school 3D gravity illustration with Person A playing Jupiter while B, as space debris, is sucked into its atmosphere, to be lost forever.
It is as horrible for Type A personalities as it is for Type B’s. For heavier person, you just want to sleep peacefully, but your partner is slowly, irresistably moving on top of you, shortening your breath and crushing out your life. You can feel the inexorable movement, like the land must have felt when the glaciers came. It is impossible to push them away and ultimately futile. Your only hope is to exhale into their inhale and hope you have early-onset morning breath. This will ensure Person B is left clinging to the side of the bed for the rest of the night to avoid the noxious fumes.
It’s no picnic for Person B, either. It would be like sleeping on the side of Everest, only with a definite lack of Sherpa guides to help find the biffy. Grasping for dear life on the edge of an inflated precipice while trying to sleep would be a drag, but really, sloths, squirrels and other branch dwellers must do it all the time. How bad can it be?
The mattress wasn’t the only negative issue encountered that first night. I’d just managed to get settled when I felt something on my forehead. I assumed it to be a lock of hair or the wispy corner of a pillow. I chose not to react so I wouldn’t feel foolish smacking myself in the forehead for nothing. Then I felt its little feet stomping on my brow.
My aim was true. The invading force had been vanquished by my own hand. And therein was another problem. I don’t know what kind of critter it was I had helped shed their mini-mortal coil, but I can tell you it was a gutsy performer. I could feel a layer of entrails and buggy bodily fluids across half my forehead and on all four fingers of my right hand. It was a juicy son of a bug.
The question was now what to do about it. I couldn’t fathom how to get out of bed without disturbing Cupcake, or putting on enough clothes to be decent, or even find the main building’s running water-equipped bathroom, without using my right hand. I also knew Cupcake would kill me if I got bug guts all over our blankets. Not knowing what else to do, I slowly, ever-so- carefully wiped my hands and face on her nightie. I tried to make it seem like a caress and a nuzzle.
In the morning, Cupcake and I were surprisingly refreshed. Cupcake claimed she hadn’t slept that well in ages. I decided immediately, if she suggests we exchange the air-bed for our old mattress, I will stick a fork in it.
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