Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Nightie Night

I'm driving back home today after sleeping in three different beds over the past four days. I'd rate them C, C+, A. These grades are almost entirely dependent on the quality of sleep I had in each of the beds. Not the linens, not the size, not the comfort, although comfort is desirable. For me, there's also the intangible of proximity to toilet to consider. Particularly in a strange bedroom, or I should say unfamiliar bedroom. ("Strange" bedroom could conjure up all sorts of disturbing--or perhaps perverse or fascinating--images, one supposes.) Now that I've reached senior years, my aged internal plumbing requires more nocturnal attention than before. Oops, sorry. It's so easy for us old codgers to lapse into consideration of bowel/urinary matters. Forgive me.

To get back to the subject. You don't give much thought to sleeping if you get enough and it's good. For me, it's almost always both. But today on that drive home that I mentioned, I was listening to a past "This American Life" program about people who are afraid of going to sleep. Some of the reasons were what you might expect: bad dreams, sleepwalking, etc. But three of the people that Ira Glass talked with had horrifying tales. Two women talked about the experience of waking up to having a roach crawling in their ear! Imagine the condition of the housing these poor people lived in. The thought of such a thing makes me shudder. One lady described having to go to the hospital to have the damned thing removed. The other women said she used to stuff cotton in her ears to keep this from happening. She was pretty matter-of-fact about the whole thing. Apparently, having roaches crawl over the rest of her while she was sleeping was acceptable.

In the other case, a woman told about her house being infested with bedbugs. That's the little sucker pictured above. A literal sucker, because these insects suck the blood of warm-blooded animals. The one above is engorged with blood, as a matter of fact. Again, makes me shiver. Apparently, getting rid of these bugs is well-nigh impossible. They nest in dark crevices in furniture and in rugs. An adult can live for a year without feeding. Maybe so, but you better believe they are hungry after you come home from a long vacation.

So here's a question you might want to think about, especially if you aren't particularly afraid of going to sleep at night: would the prospect of having a roach crawl in your ear or being a feast for a swarm of vampire bedbugs at night keep you from sleeping? Don't answer too quickly.
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