27 September 2008

Big Girl Bed, or, "Mattresses I Have Known"

Mattress: now to be filed under "Things I Have Impulsively Purchased Before Thinking Completely Through How to Get Them Home," joining such illustrious and relatively smaller-ticket items as a 12-pound watermelon and 70 lbs. of cat litter.

I'd been waiting out a coworker's moving sale, holding on until the day before his departure to ask "hey, still looking for someone to take that mattress?" in a very calculated attempt to pay less money for an already bargain-priced months-old queen sized pillow top mattress and box spring set. I have a cold, cold heart. In the end, I got a definite deal, paying only slightly more than my nearly insulting lowball initial bid. But this all went down in the space of an afternoon at work. I didn't take time to clear it with my bedmate and didn't really have a plan of how, in fact, I would get the large mattress and its box spring from his second floor apartment across two towns to my second floor apartment, that very evening, all whilst still wearing my work clothes (pencil skirt, kitten heels).

A very fruitful bunch of scrambling produced the finest outcome I could have planned, had I planned. I booked a Zipcar--a pickup truck--from a location mere blocks from the mattress; my partner J just happened to be on the same train as me when I called to relay our new evening activity; the box spring turned out to be split, making it very much easier to move (split box spring! I'll never go back!); Thursday was the last non-rainy day predicted for the next four days; and it was rush hour, meaning my need to drive no more than 30 miles per hour did not make me the slowest person on the road. We trundled back in bumper-to-bumper traffic, stuffed full of pillow top mattress, making liberal use of the side mirrors. We even met a neighbor across the hall when, having firmly wedged the mattress vertically and about eight inches off the ground in the tight corner of the top of our stairs, we had to knock on her door to ask her to open up and permit us to infringe on that last crucial three inches of turn-around room her open door would provide. While giggling like maniacs. Maniacs in kitten heels.

That night, the pillow top sat on the floor in our living room, as we did not have the right sized sheets to put on it or the wherewithall to move the old full sized mattress out of the bedroom. Our living room, in scale with the rest of our modestly sized apartment, looked like a bunch of 5-year-olds were playing that game where the floor is hot lava, and you push the furniture together to avoid walking on the lava floor: from left to right as you "enter" the room, the bookcase was flush with the wall, the surplus TV (don't ask...) was next to the shelf, the mattress was flush with the shelf, the coffee table was flush with the mattress, the couch was flush with the coffee table, and the couch was, as usual, pushed up against the wall of the room. The cat thinks we bought him the World's Biggest Kitty Bed.

This is a Major Change around Chez Rocket. A months-old mattress is as close as I've ever been to a Brand New Bed, for one thing: our old bed was a busted-ass full size set handed down from J's sister when she departed Boston, and the box spring was cracked midway down the long axis of one side of the bed even then. We put it right on the floor, a throwback to the garret days of post-college graduation. The break was on my side, causing a sag that led to back pain as well as a certain mid-mattress slump that in turn led to domestic disputes about Your Side, My Side, and Stealing the Covers. Back in Chicago, we most recently had a bed frame--the brass-and-flowered-knob type--and full sized set from J's grandparent's guest room passed on to us as the result of the kind of grandparental downsizing that can happen around this time in our lives. It was serviceable, which is about all I have ever known a mattress to be. Prior to that bed, J had a second-hand set that she kept on the floor and I had a futon set permanently into "bed" mode. I remember her mattress as quite comfortable and I can say, still, that that original futon (bought while I was unemployed because I realized that I'd never get a job with the kind of sleep I was getting on my tiled floor on my inflatable camp mattress) has been more comfortable than any other mattress I've had. Up to this nearly new pilllow top queen.

So we now have the newest, biggest, fanciest, and most expensive mattress we've ever owned. The flip side is that we're now pretty much obliged to move it next time we move instead of, as has been our wont, abandoning the past mattress in favor of moving less and buying on arrival.

The other flip side (I'm employing a gaming die rather than a coin, apparently) is that we now have a bustedass full sized standard mattress on our hands, and we'd like to find it a third (maybe fourth--I don't know if J's sister bought it used) home. On the one hand, I can attest to the bedbug-free, clean, non-smoking home nature of this mattress, which gives me a leg up on some entries in the third- or fourth-hand mattress market in this college-filled town (Allston, particularly, went through some buggy times in the past few years). On the other, I also know that this mattress is uncomfortable for me and the box spring is certainly busted. So I put an add on Craigslist in the free section, employing humor to honestly portray my mattress and the things I think it can be now: basement soundproofing for your band! a prop in your production of Once Upon a Mattress! a guest bedroom bed, used only sometimes! I hope only to hand it off to someone in need of a clean free mattress.

I got five replies in 20 minutes. Still waiting for final word from my most interested party, but I hope to ditch this thing soon. I'm tired of staring at it from my Big Girl Bed, as it leans accusingly up against my bedroom wall as if to imply that I've gone soft, I've become bougie: what, you need your bed off the floor now? You require back support, weakling? You used to be cool, man. You used to travel light.

I am, however, sleeping like a baby these days.

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