If you’re about my age* and had good English teachers in high school, you might have been assigned to read a classic James Thurber piece called, “The Night the Bed Fell.” I won’t even try to recount this delightfully loony story, but I will shamelessly appropriate the title for my own true (!) tale of woe.
The background: My wife and I had to have the floors in our new house redone before we could bring in our furniture. In the meantime, we could either stay in a hotel or camp out in the house, using a cheap futon for a couch and sleeping on a brand-new, high-tech inflatable bed.
I won’t tell you where we bought the thing, except that it’s a gigundous corporation whose name rhymes with “Paul Blart.” However, it’s light-years ahead of those old air mattresses people used to use for camping, rock festivals, etc. It has a frame that keeps the mattress off the floor, a pump that starts automatically if the air gets low, and the whole kit & caboodle** zips up in a wheeled bag you can roll around. (IF you’ve got a strong back, because it weighs approximately as much as a boxcar full of lead.)
One night we climbed into bed after a long day of meeting with contractors, shopping for appliances, hanging light fixtures, and the like. This gets tiring, especially for us non-spring chickens, so we were definitely looking forward to a good night’s rest.
But after a few minutes I noticed the mattress felt softer than before. Instead of being on it, I seemed to be sinking into it, rocking and swaying as though it were a waterbed. (If you remember those, you’re no tenderfoot either.)
Neither of us spoke right away, not wanting to admit the ugly truth: Our 21st-century rest and relaxation station was leaking like an email server, and with us still aboard it was falling like a rogue soufflé. We tried pumping it up, but before long were sagging toward the floorboards again. By then it was nearly 11 p.m.
Put yourself in our state of mind: tired, sweaty, mad, frustrated, wanting nothing more than to sleep and having no bed. We also were too beat to go to a motel, so we dragged ourselves and our mattress pads into the den and switched the futon from couch to bed mode. We were so worn out that we slept reasonably well, though the futon was as wide as an ironing board and not as soft.
Needless to say, we got a refund for this amazing contrivance and won’t buy another one. I won’t take the comfort of a real, well-made, mattress-and-box spring bed for granted either.
*Classified information, though I admit I’m old enough to know the words to “Land of a Thousand Dances,” which are: “Na na na na na, na na na na na na na na na, na na na na.”
**The lot, pack, or crowd. “Canoodle” is quite different! Send any post-millennial types (i.e., kids, children, young ‘uns, squirts, sprouts etc) out of the room before you look it up.