Tuesday, July 4, 2023

A Fancy Bed or a Life of Regret

I needn't remind you, but I will.  

But let's move on.  Yesterday started well.  I had taken ibuprofen and Tylenol the night before and got a sound night's sleep.  I woke early, did my usual, and got out for a walk.  And I was walking better than I had for days.  I wasn't feeling normal, but almost.  I had done some stretching exercises before I set out, and maybe that helped.  Or maybe it was the result of the drugs.  The air was muggy, though, early in the morning.  So said every walker I passed over hill and dale.  I was sweating like a champ. . . or a drunk.  Whatever. . . it was as healthy (and I've read they are good for you) as a sauna.  

After my walk, I was off to the gym where I felt good and strong.  And because I started early, I was home before my usual hour.  I wasn't sure about eating, so I made a protein smoothie and sat down at the computer to look for. . . adjustable beds.  I've been "researching" them to find some direction on which are the best.  It comes down to two companies, it seems--Tempur-pedic and Saatva.  You can buy these beds online, but holy smokes, there is a Tempur-pedic shop on the Boulevard.  I would go!

But first, a call to my mother.  I had said to her that I would make hotdogs and hamburgers on the 4th, but I was changing my mind.  I've been eating so well. . . .  Turns out, she wasn't that excited about it, either, so I told her I would make little red beans and pork, a dish she really likes.  Agreed.  

So. . . the grocers.  When I stepped out of the house, it was 96 degrees.  With humidity it "felt like" (Weather Channel App) it was over 100.  My knee had stiffened a bit, but I was still walking pretty well after there first few steps.  I got the fixings for the next day and some ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella for a dinner salad.  Bottles of wine, etc.  

It was mid-afternoon when I got to the Boulevard.  I felt silly walking into a bed store, and I must have looked like a thief as I scanned the streets to see if anyone was noticing.  When I entered, the store was empty.  A somewhat disheveled little man greeted me.  Stupidly with all the awkwardness available to me, I said, "Uh. . . I am looking for an adjustable bed."  

Queue the spiel.  First, we needed to figure out what kind of mattress I liked.  There were over thirty combinations.  

"What brand are you sleeping on now?"

"I don't know."

Good start.  He was already looking into my hillbilly soul.  Cheap mattress, dirty sheets, etc.  

"I like a firm mattress," I said.  "When I was in China, all the mattresses were hard.  I loved them."

"That's interesting.  When we get customers from India or China, we always take them to this mattress first."  

He pulled out a long, disposable covering and had me lie down upon the bed.  He didn't give me the remote.  Rather he moved my head and feet up and down.  He raised the lumbar support under my spine.  He put me into "Zero Gravity" as it is called by every manufacturer.  I felt really weird lying there with this fellow watching me, but how else, I guessed, were we to do this?  The bed vibrated.  It had sub-woofers.  It had sensors that detected when you snore and raised your head seven degrees.  There were LED lights under the bed that came on when you got up so you could see your way to the bathroom without waking your partner.  They even have some that play sleep music from the Spotify Tempur-pedic channel.  

I knew this was going to be expensive.  

But I wasn't prepared.  

I wasn't ready to commit to a full kingsized bed for the master bedroom.  No, I would get a twin for the study just to see.  

$4,500!  But--free delivery.  And you have 90 days to decide if you like the bed.  If you want to return it, there is no charge.  They will come and pick it up.  They also offered 0% financing for 40 months. 

"You know," I said, "I've passed this store a hundred times and have often thought, 'Who buys a bed on the Boulevard?'"

"You'd be surprised," said my new friend.  "There's a Saatva store going in right across the street."  And sure enough, when I looked, I saw their sign had already gone up.  

When I left the store, I went to see my mother to tell her about it all.  

She was in her easy chair.  Her back was killing her.  I told her that she needed to get an an adjustable bed.  We would live to be 200 with a bed like this.  Good sleep, I said, was everything.  She didn't seem so very enthused.  

When I got home, I used The Google once again.  I wanted to see how much the Saatva bed would be.  Best frame and most popular mattress?  On sale.  Ends today.  

And that includes $175 worth of sateen sheets!!!  But, I have to order it today.  Like Tempur-pedic, however, I have a trial period to decide.  If I don't like it, they will take it back for free.  

As with all decisions. . . I've become so very indecisive.

By now, it was cocktail hour.  A Campari and soda and a little cheroot.  It was still hot, however, and sitting outside wasn't the thrill it should be, so I quaffed the drink and went back inside.  I was hungry.  I made my salad.  

It's poorly plated, I know, but it was just me, just for one.  And I had neither cilantro nor basil.  Kosher salt, garlic, and balsamic.  A fresh white wine.  Damn. . . it was delicious.  


"How was your day?"

Just when I think I have heard the last from her. . . .  She asks more questions than she answers.  I, as is my wont, write back long descriptive passages.  Her answers are barely a line.  Whatever.  It is too hot to eat outside.  I turn on the television.  YouTube.  I check the news of the day.  Don't watch.  Then YouTube suggests a documentary its algorithms think that I will like:  "The Sailor."  An hour and a half.  I try it.  I am hooked.  But it disturbs me very much.  

The filmmakers are young Slovakians.  The director is a beautiful young woman.  They meet the notorious Paul Johnson in Carriacou and decide that he should be their subject.  They make a false dichotomy the dramatic arc of their documentary--freedom or selfishness.  It is easy not to see through it.  Here is Johnson, an old man at the end of his life living on a ramshackle boat haunted by his memories.  


"Will you watch fireworks with your mother?"

"I have no interest in that at all.  I hate crowds.  I avoid them with vigor."

"The first thing people do when they get rich is fence out other people," I say.  

"Have you fenced other people out?"

O.K.  Here we go.  Maybe it seems like it.  

"Well. . . I don't go to Disney."

"Yea. . . that's exactly what I meant."


"No.  I meant more emotionally than socially."


"I don't think I'm selfish, doctor."

"I wasn't meaning selfish."

This is getting heavy.  This and the documentary together. . . .  I tell her what I am watching.  

"Do you sail?"

I tell her a little bit of my colorful history.  Oh, yea.  Me and Captains Courageous.  A real swashbuckler.  I lived it, so I might as well.  

"Now I have so many questions!"

Of course you do.  You are all questions.  

I go back to the doc.  It's not going to end well.  We all know how it ends.  It takes me awhile to ruminate through the emotions, though, to realize what is false about it.  People who are not "free" in the sense the filmmakers mean also end up in terrible places with terrible questions and saddening memories.  The fucking ending is there for everyone, and it is never good.  All stories, if they go on long enough, end up in the same place.  And this is how you know, as I have told my mother, that the cosmos is not a moral place.  There is no existential morality, no compassion. . . nothing.  It is cruel and all we can do is pretend to enjoy it.  

And I'll leave it there until tomorrow when we will hear Carl Jung expound his theory.  Yea.  I have run this one out pretty far for a morning's sitting.  

I took ibuprofen and Tylenol again last night, and one hit off the old pipe.  And I slept well once again, under a Full Buck Moon.  But I'll tell you what.  I really want that bed.  

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