Sunday, June 27, 2010

sleeping

I love sleeping. Pity I don't get as much of it as I would like.

We've been going to be a little too late lately, and I have to be up so early in the morning again. Now, in winter, it is still dark when the alarm goes off. It is simply too cold to get up and I find myself just lying in bed, mostly awake, staring at the ceiling. It is finished in what I can only describe as diarrhoea splatter stucco as you can see on the accompanying photograph. Staring at it while somewhere between sleep and waking, my mind conjures up images in the splatter pattern - a dragon eating cream puffs, a giant dragging a dog. The things you see when you look at clouds. On the right hand side of the picture is the floor of the secret storage room above our bedroom, the one in which we could have concealed a small Jewish family during the Holocaust. Now, in peacetime, we keep all our unwanted things in there - boxes, books, suitcases. To get to it, we have to bring down the coffee table and a bar stool from upstairs and balance them precariously. Even then, you need quite a bit of upper body strength to hoist yourself into the dark, odd space. Needless to say, we hardly ever go in there anymore.

But I digress.

The bed is one I inherited from my grandfather together with my garrulous family names. I hate the heavy, lumpy thing. The bed, not my names. I hate those too, though. It is tremendously uncomfortable and ugly in the extreme, as you can see from this picture of some of the carved detail on the horrid thing. We've wanted to buy a new bed, one of those king size extra length Hollywood orgy scene ones, for the longest time. There always just seems to be a different black hole that we must first pour our money into.

According to my calculations, the area of our bed should be divided between its nightly occupants as follows:

Human 1 - 30% (The One)
Human 2 - 30% (Me)
2 small dogs - 25% (Alfred and Geoffrey)
2 small cats - 15% (Elizabeth and Victoria)

In reality, this is how it works:

The cats demand 30% since they are royalty and should have at least as much as any of the other creatures. The One takes his 30% and the dogs spill over their allocated space, taking up another 30%. Which, if my calculations are correct, leaves me with 10%. Since I can't seem to squeeze myself into a space of less than 15% of the total area of the bed, that means that something of mine is always left to dangle off the bed in the cold dark night, ready for any apparition that happens to pass by to have a gnaw at.

I sleep on the right hand side of the bed and The One on the left hand side. When we go to sleep at night, I lie on my right side and The One on his left, facing away from each other. The dogs take the no-man's land between us and the cats claim the area in front of my belly, between me and the edge of the bed. Lizz has a bit of an obsession with keeping Vicky spotless, so as soon as the light goes out she starts a very thorough grooming session; first of Vicky and then of herself. Vicky has no interest in this activity when she wants to sleep and protests; it usually ends in a fight and someone goes off in a huff, only to return a little later when it is noticed how cold it really is. I am in the middle of this battle and I often get hacked in the gut.

I am not allowed to turn my back on them because they find it extremely insulting and go off in a huff, making a great scene of it with pained looks and the works. They return later after having inspected the kitchen to perch on the edge of the bed by my feet, doling out black looks. The don't seem to care that I am sore and sprained in the morning from holding one position all night.

The dogs patrol the area between us while we sleep, creeping out from under the covers, walking up and down the on top of them and pulling us open only to creep in again to stick their cold, wet noses in uncomfortable spots. Alfred seems to have a major snoring problem when snuggling and he loves stretching himself out in the middle of the night, sticking his nails in the soft flesh of my lower back. By morning he usually sleeps somewhere on the pillows with his prominent anus stuck on my cheek.

When the alarm sounds for the first time, all the animals are wide awake and raring to go. I usually press the snooze button several times before I am ready to face the day; by then I am often late. The dogs can hardly stand the excitement of getting up because they know I will let them out for their morning constitutional. Alfred snorts and sprays snot over my face to urge me to get up. Geoffrey licks me with his unusually long and wet tongue until I give up the fight and get up, scattering cats this way and that. The cats practice their mental powers on me, willing me to feed them and turn on the heater upstairs. I know I disappoint them with my stupidity and lack of telepathic skills.

When I leave Alfred has draped himself around The One's neck like a fat black scarf. Geoffrey snuggles somewhere under the covers and the cats huddle together on the warm spot that I have left behind.

Written by I
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