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Home » Stories, True and Otherwise

Night Of The Living Bed

Submitted by on November 21, 2005 – 11:00 AMOne Comment

I love the weather right now. Fall is absolutely my favorite season — all the fuzzy-sweater-wearing, tights-with-boots-matching fun of winter, none of the chapped skin on my chin and the foregoing wearing necklaces because they get hopelessly tangled up in my scarf and garrot me every time I de-layer at Starbucks. I have no complaints about the weather outside.

(I do have a small complaint about Lucky magazine’s failure to understand the weather outside. Dear Kim France: We don’t all live in Los Angeles. Long about the November issue, you need to stop flogging the filmy camis. In fact, you need to stop flogging those anyway, because the satin tops with the contrasting Cross-Your-Heart-bra lace edging that you keep recommending do not look good on me, unless we plan to change the definition of “good” to include scenarios in which Bob Mackie stuffs my boobs into a super-gravity egg carton, but the larger point here is that readers above the Mason-Dixon line have no use for cold, slippery fabrics and keyhole necklines three months out of the year. We need cute flannel-lined khakis and chic woolly socks that don’t itch, because six inches of sooty snow is not trying to hear about strappy open-toed shoes, ‘kay? Love you, The North.)

The weather inside, on the other hand, is kind of a problem; my apartment seems to have two distinct climates — one in the bedroom, one in the living room/office. Neither of these biospheres is affected in the least by adjustments to the thermostat, and neither of them is quiiiiiite right. The living room is a little bit too cold, which I have chosen to view as a positive — it’s a layering challenge. Getting dressed in the morning is a test, and if I don’t have to get up and put on my big old toaster-sized fuzzy slippers or a hat during the workday, I pass.

The bedroom is another issue entirely. The bedroom is in fact a negative, or actually a vicious cycle that begins first thing in the morning, when I wake up bathed in sweat, because the sun has found a couple of chinks in the armor of my curtains and is streaming merrily in for the third straight hour, and also because the “[ping…boohhhh…hhhhheeeeehhhh…dink dink dink…ffff]” of the gassy-stomach baseboard heating, which sounded so comforting and homey when I got into bed the night before, is now a full-on “[kkkksssshhaaaaaaaahhhhh!]” and you could fry bacon on my duvet. So I hop out of bed, admire my sweaty-dreams Edward Scissorhair, and go into the kitchen to feed the cats (another reason I’ve gotten so hot: Shaolin-soccering a yowling orange feline off the end of the bed every two minutes for the last hour and a half is a workout). The kitchen, naturally, is colder than a Yukon outhouse because the sun doesn’t reach down the hall, and I couldn’t bear the thought of slippers back there in the bedroom, but it would have saved me trying to serve up congealed oceanfish while pogoing around on the freezing tile at the same time.

Then I pee, and then I start to go back to bed, but by that time the cats have wolfed down their breakfast and glommed onto the sunbeam on the bed, on top of the folded-over covers, and it’s just not worth it, so I crack a window in the bedroom and prepare to take a shower and start my day.

Fast-forward to nighttime; I’ve totally forgotten to close the window all day, so it’s quite chilly in the bedroom. I close the window, draw the curtains, and get in bed wearing pajama pants, socks, a tank top, and a sweatshirt, and arrange myself right in the middle of the b– oh, hi, Hobe. Well, I’ll just move over a little bit. Oh, right, “a little bit more.” …More than that? Can’t you lie down on that si– well, I know the lamp is over here and you like to lie in the lamplight and fantasize about your collective-unconscious past as a feared predator of the Serengeti, but the thing is that you live in an apartment now, and also you tried to rush the birdfeeder last week and totally wrecked yourself on the closed window, so…well, yes, I would rather just let you have that spot than listen to you meowing for no reason, which you sometimes do when I try to move you from whatever totally unreasonable position you’ve taken up, and then you stick your head in the lampshade so that your ass is in my face, and then you try to climb down into the chair but you miss because you blinded yourself with the light bulb. Sorry, “your chair.” Okay, Hobey, why don’t you lie down. No, the other “down.” Good cat.


Little Joe.

[Skrink skrink.]

Joe, get off the kitchen table RIGHT now!




Come here, Joe.


Okay, but leave my keys strictly alo–

[…ink skrink skrink skronk!]

JOE! …Sorry, Hobe, I just have to get up and — hey, where’re you going? No, just stay on the b– dammit. …Joe!

[Skibble skibble plip skibble plip plip.]

GET down from there!

[Gebump.] “Mee.”

Yes, I see that. Joe three, pens zero. Good one! …Not really, now it’s time for bed. Bed, Hobey. Bed. …Well, then eat some kibble, this isn’t a restaurant.

So I get back in bed, which takes some doing because now Joe is weaving in and out of my legs (sort of…he’s shaped like a Hershey Kiss, so it’s not exactly “weaving” so much as “bumbling”), talking and purring really loudly. I peel off my sweatshirt on my way back, because I know that the second my head hits the pillow, he’s going to clamp his four-legged-crockpot self onto me, curl up in a ball, and go straight to sleep. Which is cute.

But once he’s asleep, he’s functionally immobile, which is markedly less cute, and if I want to roll over, forget it. The world’s largest, hairiest, snoriest paperweight is not giving up no covers no how, and I wake up in the middle of the night, curled in the fetal position on two square feet of mattress with a corner of blanket the size of a tissue resting jauntily on my hip, freezing my ass off, and I scrabble around for my sweatshirt and put it on inside out because who cares freezing must add layer, and lever Joe off the exact center of the mattress, which is like dragging a dead body out of a muddy pond, and climb back under the covers that have gotten all cranked around with the sheet hanging half off the bed and the blanket in a ball and the duvet over everything and I can’t straighten it out because John Brown’s Body over there is anchoring it and I don’t want to wake him up, and anyway I have to get under the dicked-up covers and yank them up over my head completely before Hobey wakes up and decides that he’s feeling a mite peckish.


…Oh, great.


Maybe he’ll get bored and just go eat some kib–


Pillow over head, problem solved…until the alarm goes off and finds me under eighty layers of percale and goosedown, sweating like a hog in a feathery cocoon of my own morning breath. It’s sunny, I look like one of Phyllis Diller’s hats, and Hobey has turned the volume on the meow-veille up to Beverly Sills.


“Okay, okay, let me j–”


“I said okay, I just have to –”




“Shut UP!”


“Shut UP!”


“Shut U–”







So I guess the problem isn’t really the temperature in the bedroom so much as it is the occupants, although it’s worth noting that whenever I banish the felines and close the door, I get the whole bed to myself, but I wake up even hotter. The same door that has a large gap underneath it, the better for pissy little paws (that should just grown some thumbs and learn to operate a pop-top can if they feel that strongly about it) to reach under and wave around “threateningly,” does not permit any air exchange at all when it’s closed, so when I finally do open the door, it’s even colder in the hall than usual. Doesn’t bother the cats, though, because in addition to the fur, they keep warm by getting into spitty gargly fights with each other directly outside the door.

When it gets a little colder, we won’t have these problems; it won’t get as greenhouse-y in the bedroom, and the cats will have the fights on my bed instead, because it’s cold and they both want to barnacle onto my chest, or my knees, at the same time, and there isn’t room for both of them, because one of the cats will stop at nothing to lick butter, including climbing into the refrigerator and straddling a bottle of champagne, the better to romance his girlfriend, Hotel Bar Unsalted, while I am standing right there, and therefore the cat in question is, how you say, a butterball, but said cat does not seem to understand that he is fat, or that the list of places in which he might lie down without getting a faceful of biting does not include “directly on top of the other cat, who got there first and is already sleeping, by dint of not detouring to the kitchen table to knock the house keys onto the floor,” so he arrives on the bed like a sonic boom with ears, waddles up to the two of us, and flops down on the Hobe, who pins his ears back all “NOT, FATTENOOGA CHOO CHOO” and tries to squirm out from under Joe, and Joe is taking a bath, and Hobey wiggles around all growly buddy-movie “I’m getting too old for this shit,” and Joe is like, “Do you mind? Licking my butt here, hoss,” and gives Hobey a nip, and Hobey nips back, Joe bites Hobey’s head, Hobey slaps Joe in the face, Joe head-butts Hobey in the stomach, Hobey back-feet-pedals Joe’s back, [hrrggle…narf…waow!…nrfle…ccchhhhrrrr…mee!…mrrrraow!…fffffft], and it’s annoying, but I can get out of bed and turn up the thermostat, or I can stay put and hope a stray claw doesn’t dissect my eyelid. So far, so “good.”

November 21, 2005



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