Whoever invented the Murphy Bed, in addition to not having a lot of space and most likely being named Murphy, probably had trouble getting out of bed in the morning. If my bed closed up like a circus on its last day in town every morning I would probably be more motivated to get out of bed. I need my bed to physically roll me out of it and close itself off to me so I can’t continue sleeping, or I’ll just stay there all day, no problems, no issues, just a lot of self-loathing, critical self-talk and reduced productivity for the remainder of the day. But I can tolerate all that if it means 30 more minutes in bed punctuated by a snooze alarm every 9 minutes. What a dream! Why can’t my bed do me a favor and hide from me when it’s time to wake up? Why can’t it rotate and expose a hidden underside of nails that would be incredibly uncomfortable to try to continue sleeping on, even if I slept on top of the comforter and maybe placed a few pillows under key parts of my body? Why isn’t that a feature mattress companies are working on? Who are the people in this pitch meetings suggesting eco-friendly memory foam and humane cooling layers of gel? No one needs that. We need beds to be even less welcoming, not more.
In a way I tried to create a less inviting sleep situation on my own when my boyfriend and I went mattress shopping for our new, current mattress. Mattress shopping is uncomfortable regardless of how soft the actual mattresses is because you’re forced to pretend to sleep on a surface without any blankets on a pillow covered with a pillowcase made of drier sheets in clothes you don’t normally, intentionally fall asleep in, while other people watch and a guy tells you about pillow tops and payment plans. Also there are too many options. My boyfriend wanted foam; I wanted springs. He wanted soft; I wanted firm. He had the money to buy one; I did not. So he got foam, and I got an opportunity to make another bad decision about sleeping. I wanted a mattress on the firmer side because super squishy, soft mattresses that you sink into enough to start feeling held tightly or trapped make me uncomfortable, like I’m being hugged by a lot of gummy people lacking skeletal structures or I fell asleep on a giant marshmallow – two things I never want to do, I hate marshmallows. I don’t like soft mattress because I don’t think I deserve to enjoy sleep. I spent most of my childhood sleeping until noon. My years of good sleep are behind me. Plus, I know I can fall asleep anywhere, so the conditions aren’t all that important. There was a year I slept more in my car than in my own bed, and I wasn’t homeless. So I selected a memory foam mattress on the firmer side, but still soft and comfortable, like a good worn in couch, because couches are known to be superior sleeping surfaces. The mattress market has come a long way so we were able to get a split mattress – half plush, half firm. Dual-feel. Compromise. Our mattress shopping was #relationshipgoals.
Our mattress was delivered a few days later rolled up and shrink-wrapped like a Little Debbie’s Swiss Roll that had become bloated from some unknown strand of food poisoning (botulizzzzm?) – not appetizing, but hopefully comfortable. Turns out it wasn’t, not even the plush side. It felt more like chairs in a doctor’s waiting room than a comfortable couch. We gave it a few days then considered exchanging it. We went back to Bob’s Mattress Superstore to inquiry about the rules of returns and exchanges. The man at the mattress store assured us it just needed time to “relax” (apparently we made our new mattress nervous) and be broken in by us. We had 90 days to return it if we were not 100% satisfied, so we should give it some more time. So we left the store and decided to try to make it work with our new mattress. I assume if you try to return the mattress after the 90 day cut off they just recommend overpriced sleeper-sleepee therapy. Realistically the man just didn’t want to do all the paperwork that inevitably went in to exchanging a split-textured mattress. You can’t just throw one of those into the outlet center and hope it gets picked up by a couple actively practicing compromise. After awhile my boyfriend convinced himself the mattress was in fact softening up, and I accepted the reminder that I didn’t deserve to be comfortable in my sleep because I was an excessive sleeper anyway. Any surface that can be slept on will be slept on, regardless of comfort or social acceptance. I may not have a Murphy Bed but I certainly have a Murphy’s Law bed.
You forget when you’re testing mattresses that hundreds, maybe thousands, of other sleep testers have laid on the showroom mattress, maybe not for a full night’s sleep, but enough to ‘relax’ the non-coils and soften the eco-cooling gel and contouring latex layers. I’m not sure how I was able to forget this fact at the time of mattress testing but thank god I did or we would have needed a lot more drier sheet pillow cases. I probably would have just tried to cover my body in one, or taken a box of them home, sewed them together and returned days later in the HazMat suit of mattress testing. How could I expect our recently swiss-rolled mattress to feel anywhere near those mattresses at Bob’s Brothel Showroom? I would need to invite hundreds of people over to our house over the course of a year or more to get our mattress to that level of relaxation. Who has that kind of time or that many connections? Maybe that’s how orgies got started. No one even wanted to have sex it was just some guy who really wanted to get his mattress broken-in and to showroom level softness. Then someone suggested, ‘This would go a lot faster if we all started having sex.” And the owner of the mattress was so desperate for a relaxed mattress and a good night’s sleep that he agreed.
Eventually the 90 day period of allowed indecision ended and we both silently accepted our tense, uptight mattress, maybe he just needed to get to know us better. Relationships take time. Maybe we shouldn’t have jumped into sleeping with our mattress right away, should have kept it casual at first. Also I think we both realized we were too lazy to fill out all the paperwork inevitably involved in exchanging a dual-feel mattress. My boyfriend has no complaints about his side, while I like to treat my side as a good morning scapegoat. Anything that may go wrong in any day can be blamed on my ‘okay, maybe I shouldn’t have picked firm but this is what I deserve’ side of the bed. It’s all Murphy’s fault. It doesn’t matter anyway, I still want to spend all day in bed even if its comfort level is more talk-show couch than living room couch. I still need it to find a way to be closed for business during the day and have very strict, specific evening hours like a really good ramen restaurant. Maybe I should schedule an early morning house keeper just to motivate me to get out of bed in the morning, although that doesn’t work for me at hotels either, I always ask for a late check-out – the snooze button of hotels. I need my bed to spring me out of it and fold up into the wall not to be opened until I prove myself worthy of sleep by reciting to it the successes and productivity of my day. See, we should have gotten springs over foam. I wouldn’t be having this problem.