Monday, August 3, 2009
How the snooze button brings joy into my life and other thoughts on sleeping alone
One of the most profound changes that occurs when you end a long term relationship is the sudden discovery that you are alone in the bed. This is assuming, naturally, that you slept in the same bed in the first place, and didn't have separate rooms, Rob and Laura Petrie twin beds, bunk beds, hammocks, or some other crazy arrangement (because married or otherwise partnered people who don't sleep together is just really weird to me.) And it assumes that you or your partner wasn't always on the road, passed out on the couch downstairs, or in jail most of the time. In other words, that you are used to having your SO (male, female, canine, feline, amphibian, whatever) in the bed with you a lot. And then suddenly you don't.
Early in a relationship there's nothing better than slipping between the sheets with that wonderful person of apparently questionable judgement who wants to share the bed with you. Nothing better than whispering under the covers, a little tickling, throwing a leg across, spooning. (Mental imagery note: at this stage we're focusing on human-on-human interaction and have eliminated the canine, feline, amphibian, and whatever from the picture - but then again, whatever floats your boat, you won't get any judgementalness from me.)
As time passes things change. Maybe it's not a turn on just to get into the bed anymore, maybe there's some snoring going on and some showering not going on, maybe somebody greases up their face every night or wears a mask, or starts having recurring dreams where you are the pinata. But there's still some comfort level to it. A familiar smell, rhythm of breathing, someone to cling to when you need it. As a character I played recently put it "...in the winter there was always someone there in the bed to warm up my cold feet on." (Wonder why she left him?)
And at an even later stage, you may discover (and your partner may discover it too) that what you do together in the bed is not sleeping at all anymore, but just an ongoing pursuit of sleeping, because the other person is tossing and turning or grinding their teeth or stealing the covers or is relentlessly gassy, and on some occasion you are along on a trip and have the best night's sleep in years and you wonder "maybe I could sleep again if I had the bed all to myself...?"
So then one day your LTR is over and you have no SO. Maybe you are now SOL or AOK or even LOL over this turn of events, but in any case you are AITB (Alone In The Bed. I made that one up myself.) This condition may result in depression, crying jags, self medication and other consequences, but one thing you cannot deny - you now have lordly control over the temperature, sound, the covers, the mattress real estate, and lo and behold, the alarm clock. I discovered this joy most recently, when I indulged in a full hour of snooze alarming. I always seem to get the very best sleep, and sometimes the coolest dreams, in the nine minutes of snooze alarm bonus time - but if you have a bed partner who doesn't share your POV on that one, it's trouble right here in pillowtop city.
When I tote up the balance sheet, it comes out this way - in my new solo world I am sometimes alone, sometimes frustrated (ever try to put a bandaid on your own back?) , always poor, but by God, I can hit that freaking snooze button as many times as I want! Little victories are important.