Friday, March 28, 2008

A Good Night's Sleep

I have a feeling my husband and I were the last people on the planet still sleeping in a waterbed into the 21st century (except Berkeley residents, of course.) Tom and I got married at the end of the 60s, and as poser Hippies, we were only into the things that made us look hip. We wore bellbottoms, hung Madras sheets on the wall, and were the first on our block—perhaps town—to buy a waterbed. Our friends used to come over to marvel at this brave new sleeping product, while our parents just shook their heads, made “What if it pops?” jokes, and gave the whole hippie-water-bed-thing six months. Not ones to give up on a fad too quickly, we were still sleeping on that floatation device nearly 38 years later.

For those who had one, you know: a waterbed is comfortable, warm, and the kids love to roll around on it. But with three cats, we knew the bed wouldn’t last forever. After patching the same hole half a dozen times with half a dozen types of tape and glue, we had to accept the fact that the waterbed was sinking fast. Now what? Would we get another waterbed—did they even make them anymore? Or would we finally conform and go with a “normal” mattress? The last time we checked—38 years ago—mattresses only went for a few hundred dollars, so we decided to check out what was new in bedding, and see if there was anything remotely comfortable that we could sleep on for the next 38 years.

With a list of the “discount mattress” stores in hand, we headed for the closest one. I hadn’t seen so many mattresses since summer camp—and they all looked alike. I mean, a bed is a bed. What would we judge it on? The pretty swirls sewn onto the top of the mattress? How high off the ground it was? What color of white would look best under all of our colorful sheets and blankets? The salesman moseyed over, sensing we were wicked-smart buyers who didn’t fall for the first pitch we heard. After a brief, over-my-head explanation of the various types of coils, springs, and stuffing stuff, we told him our needs: Tom wanted firm, I wanted soft. That would shake him up a bit, Mr. Smooth Salesman.

“Lie down,” he said, indicating a bed nearby. We did as he instructed. “What do you think?” he said. “It’s fine,” I replied, keeping my poker face. After all, it was just a bed. I’d be asleep most of the time while using it so what did it really matter? “Now try this one,” he said. We did.

OMG. It was the perfect ratio of hard-to-soft to please both of us. I felt like I was lying on cotton candy stuffed with marshmallows on top of puffy clouds. I didn’t know lying down could feel this good. We looked at each other and said, “We’ll take it.” And then we spotted the pricetag. The one we wanted “started” at three grand!Feeling as if a cloud had been pulled out from under my feet, I wondered what had happened to the cost of sleeping in the past 38 years. Did Hillary Clinton have plans in her national budget to do something about it if she became President?

After the salesman whispered his final offer of a “manager’s-special, deep-discount, today-only, sale price,” we bought the bed. Plus new sheets, blankets, comforter, skirt, and matching throw pillows. We hope to get a good night’s sleep soon. It’s not a leaky waterbed that’s keeping us up at night—it’s that outstanding bill we owe the mattress people.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember those !
I use to love my water bed, nothing better than coming home after a cold night out and jumping into a lovely hot waterbed

Undiagnosed Illness

June 10, 2008 at 6:19 PM  

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