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A good night’s sleep

As I live in London now, any room I rent comes furnished, which doesn’t leave much in the way of choice as far as mattresses are concerned. I’ve sort of made my peace with this, in so far as I am now resigned to either being able to afford an apartment or a decent night’s sleep. It’s really one or the other.

But, back in my PhD days, when I was living up in Glasgow, where rent was decidedly less expensive, I had a particularly bad mattress in a particularly nice apartment. I know most students, when their student loan money comes through, spend it on booze, holidays and stereos. I however, spent a portion of my student loan on a very good mattress.

It was a futon.

Now, before you balk, as The Mom did when I told her what I’d done, let me explain to you that this was not the usual crappy futon that you get when you’re 19 years of age and can spend a mere $200 on a bed. No, this futon was not that. I scoured the internet looking for a high-quality Japanese style futon mattress. Big, firm, serious. I found a company somewhere down in Devon that made them and would deliver all the way up to Glasgow, which, if you’ve ever lived in the UK, you’ll understand as basically being able to ship to the end of the known world. Scotland, to the English, is sort of like their imaginary friend. Most English people that I’ve met have never ventured that far north, ostensibly because Thar Be Monsters Thar. Anyhow…

I found the futon, ordered it, paid a fair sum of money and on the day it was due to be delivered I waited breathlessly by the door. The burly men duly arrived and hefted it up three flights of stairs. Now, as I was renting, and couldn’t jettison the existing mattress that was horrible and causing me much in the way of pain and agony, I simply plopped my futon on top. No matter that the futon was slightly smaller than the original mattress and looked sort of crazy. All I cared about was getting a good sleep.

That first night was heaven. Nothing poked or prodded my aching arthritic joints, my back and neck were supported, in fact it was one of the best sleeps I’ve ever had. As were the subsequent ones.

When I left Glasgow that spring to go back to The Mom’s and Canada where I could work full-time, I was quite sad to leave my futon. And there was the not so small issue of where to store it over the summer, since I couldn’t afford to just keep renting my apartment. My usual personal effects (books, chopsticks and a stove top espresso maker) were stored in a very old dear friend’s loft. But there was no room there for the futon. So a course mate of mine offered to store it at his place.

He popped round the day I was due to fly out and we walked it back to his. On our heads. As though we were portaging a canoe. It was a twenty-five minute walk through the streets of Glasgow. Now, the Glaswegians have, I am certain, seen a lot of things, but this was perhaps one of the more unusual ones. However, they appeared to take it in their stride.

When The Mom announced that she was in need of a new mattress, I suggested the wonders of a futon, but she wasn’t having it. Apparently, her new mattress is quite good. I can’t say, having not tried it, but I’ll be home for summer holidays soon enough, whereupon I will test it out. I’m sure it will be fine, but it won’t be a futon.