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The debacle of choosing a new mattress brought home to me the need for critical thinking and how, sometimes, my skills in that area are lacking. When Gill learned of my displeasure with my new mattress, she urged me to send it back. “Ma, stand up for yourself. If it isn’t perfect, try until you find The Perfect One.” I’ve often heard that concept applied to finding a mate, but not a bed. And since not one of my children has a mate, perfect or otherwise, I’m not sure how much they can be trusted. Still, she made a good point.

And so, L’il Sis being exhausted from our trip to buy the FIRST mattress, Crazy D accompanied me to find a replacement. I thought I had chosen a good one the first go round. If price was any indication, it should have been superb. But after two weeks on it, my back was no better than it had been with my fifteen-year-old, lumpy old one. I felt the same way about my marriage after 22 years. Pain in the back, pain in my neck…same idea.

Now I realize that there are many issues  causing me to have bad sleeps — stress, The Pig’s snoring (it can be heard from the other end of the house), heat (air con is no match for my still too frequent hot flashes), allergies (aggravated by sleeping with the window open when it’s not hot), noise from the street with said window open (the culprits being the neighborhood teens careening around my corner  in cars after late night parties and one particularly melodic robin who begins his trilling at 4 a.m.). You see, there isn’t much that doesn’t keep me awake. That being said, regular readers will recall that the most pressing problem, as far as back aches and pains were concerned, was the old mattress.

We entered the store to find the same clerk that had sold me Mattress #1. I swore up and down I would never buy a ‘memory foam’ one. I mean, my memory has certainly turned to mush after all these years, why would I expect a piece of foam to do better? But, no, the guy insisted “This memory foam is not like the old memory foam. It’s much better…designed to last 25 years.” But I’m not going to be here in 25 years, why would I want my bed to outlive me? Crazy D rolled his eyes at me. I felt compelled to comment: “Just because something lasts that long doesn’t mean it should. I know several old folks whose ‘best by’ date was fifteen years ago and they’re still here.”

The clerk went on and on about certain mattresses  having better components, better coils, more padding, a stronger frame. They probably smelled better too and had bluetooth capability as well as a ‘tuck in’ service available. All I want, I have discovered through  a process of trial and error, is something a cut above a hard plank that will deliver a good night’s sleep.

Crazy D couldn’t wait until we got in the car to start. “What kind of bullshit was that? A harder kind of steel? And foam is foam…it’s ALL bad. Boy, that guy didn’t know anything. He missed his calling as a car salesman. He was just trying to get you to spend more money!”

“How is it that I raised such cynical kids? He wasn’t that bad!”

And then I considered his remark. Yes, I do sometimes get snowed by slick sales pitches. Not often, since I have learned the hard way over the years. But I do recognize that my critical skills could be better. So I blame my poor mattress choice –the first one — on my parents. Isn’t everything one’s parents’ fault? When I was a child, I was taught to strictly adhere to all rules and regulations. One didn’t speak back or up for oneself. One never questioned authority…or stupidity. My psyche was so warped I found it difficult to ask questions of my prof in a second year history course. If I had been in charge of strategy in WWII, my sheep-like behavior and inability to ‘think outside the box’ would have lost the war for us. My kids, however, especially Gill, will ask questions (often impertinent or critical) of anyone or anything. She, Crazy D and L’il Sis have extremely keen Bullshit Monitors.

I think they are proud that they have recently tutored me well in the fine art of detecting Bullshit. They look on impressed when I slam the telephone receiver down on yet another telemarketer or say something extremely rude or vulgar — something I never would have uttered as a young woman. But at my age I’m covered…I can plead dementia or, if there is a friendly audience, bask in the reflected glow of my kids’ tutelage and accept compliments for being a cranky, yet sharp, old lady. I HAVE learned a few things. Just not how to pick a mattress the first time out. You’ll be pleased to know (if only to silence my moaning about it) that the current one works!