Strange Bedfellows

by Michael!

There are many wonderful reasons that I am glad that I am married, and more, married to Joanie.

I no longer have to clean bathrooms, or pretend to clean any of the non-carpeted floors. (She, meanwhile, doesn’t have to wash dishes, take out trash, or vacuum.) We have equally irreverent and silly senses of humor, so I have somebody with whom I can share the little asides that I used to have to keep to myself. For the most part.

And I know exactly what to expect from Joanie as a ‘bunkmate.’

I’m talking, of course, about sleeping habits. (Get your mind out of there.) Spending time in the cabin over Thanksgiving and seeing the bleary looks on the faces of people who went to bed too late and then had to learn how to share a bed with a cousin they hadn’t seen in two years made me think about just how lucky I am to NOT have to worry about this.

It’s not that we are both perfect ‘co-sleepers,’ mind you. We both have a habit of stealing blankets, although, to be fair, I don’t so much “steal them” as I “remove them from the bed because it is July in Mobile, Alabama and it is TOO HOT FOR THE COMFORTER.”

Joanie is an actual blanket thief. I’ll wake up, freezing cold and wondering where my covers went, but I never wonder for long! There, immediately to my right, is an impenetrably wound blanket burrito that is usually about double the size of my actual wife. Retrieving any cover from this situation is not happening. If it’s really cold, I’ll go and grab another blanket from our storage, knowing that I’m only buying myself perhaps an hour’s worth of warmth before it, too, is added to the fortress.

Also, I have it on good authority that I snore. With great verve and enthusiasm.

I’m not even a “regular snorer,” which could at least become rhythmic. No, my snores come and go, and the intervening silence is as loud as the noise itself due to the anticipation that builds while my sinuses rev up for the next go-around.

And Joanie has been known to saw a log or two, although not as often or vigorously as I. (It actually makes me giggle, a little bit, because it’s such a tiny sound that it’s kinda adorable.)

But the point is that we both know what to expect and how to deal with it. If Joanie steals all the blankets, I know where the extras are kept. If I start to make noises that sound like a boulder trying to tiptoe through a china shop, Joanie gives me two verbal warnings followed by an elbow. These are familiar patterns that you just don’t get when you have to go through the roommate lottery!

So many times growing up, traveling with the Boys Choir, going to various camps, I had to endure (or be endured by) people whose bedtime habits just did not fit my own.

Do you remember being a kid at a sleepover and everybody was talking, laying in sleeping bags, talking about whatever came to mind until BAM – by mutual accord everybody shut up at the same time? It was like somebody hit a “groupmind switch” that said “Ok, enough sincere dialogue about ten-year-old’s deep thoughts, let’s get some sleep.” And then, just when you were really starting to fade out, one kid – ALWAYS JUST ONE KID – would try to keep the chatter alive with an ill-timed joke?

Didn’t you hate that?

I can remember one night on a class trip – I had been assigned a hotel room with a chaperone, a friend of mine, and a classmate who seemed to have religious convictions against some of the more noticeable acts of hygiene. Like deodorant, or bathing. My friend and I sat together on the bus and decided that, just to be safe, we should probably claim a bed together. This mutual agreement lasted until the chaperone came into the room, reeking of smoke, and sized up the three of us. He pointed to my friend and said, “You. With me. That bed.” Then he left, presumably to smoke more, while our classmate turned to me and asked which side of the bed I wanted and whether I preferred to be the big spoon or little spoon.

Ha ha! I’m joking! Of course he didn’t ask. He just assumed that he should be the big spoon. It was a long night.

Other times I’ve had to deal with the fact that insta-roommates don’t necessarily value their sleep like I do. I have it on good authority that there were times in my childhood when I would announce, “I am sleepy. Is it bedtime yet?” The very idea of fighting something as awesome as going to sleep just never occurred to me.

So there were times in camps and choir trips when it would get late – say, nine o’clock – and I would go to bed. Sometimes my roommates would leave to go have their fun elsewhere. Other times? Well, there was one time in college when the ENTIRE CHOIR had a party in my hotel room while I was sleeping.

Not that it bothered me – I was sleeping.

And, of course, I do have my own sleep-oriented foibles – and not everybody is as sweet-natured as Joanie when it comes to snore-warnings. One of my closest friends heard one crank and casually flipped one of his size 18 shoes at me from across the room – I’m eternally thankful that it landed on my chest, because while I didn’t enjoy having the breath knocked out of me I probably would have had less fun with a broken nose.

“Is… is this a shoe? Dude, what… what the what?”

“You started to snore,” he observed, then offered his advice: “You might want to not sleep on your back. I have more shoes.”

I’ll take an elbow to the ribs and a night sans blankets any day of the week.

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