Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mattress Shopping

Mattress shopping, in a word, bites. When your current mattress wears out, simply gather branches and leaves and build a squalid nest to sleep in like plenty of other respectable life forms do.


Jim (Mr. Holly Love) and I were sleeping on a 25-year-old mattress. A mattress this ancient supposedly contains enough dust mites to sicken you and/or unionize and demand daycare services. Dust mites are probably fictional, like wind chills and radiation. But I still wanted to switch from queen to king sized because we're light sleepers. I was awake so long every night that the fence-jumping sheep I was counting were shooting steroids and dying from exhaustion. And imaginary animal cruelty is just not who I am anymore.


So we looked at new mattresses. The inexpensive ones seemed fine until the salesman showed us images of the "inferior" innards. "This mattress's coils," he explained, "are actually constructed of decomposing halibut flesh. You may want to upgrade."

Jim and I went "bed hopping" and figured that making a decision would mean "sleeping on it." Either one-liner guarantees a look from a mattress salesperson that says, "If I hear that joke one more time, I will snort various types of mattress stuffing until my head explodes." But secretly, the salespeople are starving for any conversation whatsoever, because mattress stores never have anybody in them. Notice how you never call a friend only to have his wife say, "He'll be right back. He just ran out to buy a mattress."


You have to love mattress names. Consider the Dreamscape, the Fruition, the Gold Coast, the Bluewater. I made suggestions for future names, like the Bordello Spare, the Mill Dew, the Sarcophagus, and the Flamebuddy. I'm helpful that way.

Many mattresses feature a "pillow top" – extra cushioning that adds comfort and expense. It also adds height, which means you'll need extra deep sheets, so deep that they'll cost slightly more than the mattress. Add in the cost of the frame, tax, and delivery, and you're shelling out an arm and a leg just to keep your remaining arm and leg comfortable.


Nevertheless, you blithely hand over your credit card for one of these specially padded mattresses, because white and addictive as cocaine, the pillow top provides an organic experience. I really mean "orgasmic," but I'm afraid to write "orgasmic" here, so I went with something close to "orgasmic." To put it another way, you absolutely must have this pillow-topped baby, because it feels like a cloud that died and went to heaven and became a giant marshmallow.

The only problem is, after a week, you're crazed because the mattress feels like a cloud that died and went to heaven and became a giant marshmallow. While undoubtedly roastable, this construction made Jim and I frequently feel we had sunk into quicksand depths of no escape. Once I pleaded with him from the bed as he entered the room, "Run, my love! It's too late for me, but please, keep away to save thyself!"

Our purchase contract gave us 30 days to return the mattress, but for some reason, Jim agreed to my suggestion that we just keep the thing. I sort of wonder if we don't own The Manchurian Mattress. I bet it has a chip that subliminally programs you while you sleep to convince you to let the 30 days run out.


At least I've adjusted to that height factor. The mattress and box spring are so tall, I frequently dream that my nose is grazing the ceiling. It feels like the sky is falling and it's terrifying! Usually I wake up to find that it's actually Jim, lowering his pillow onto my face just a little closer than the night before, because I talked him into enduring years of sleeping on this squishy pudding of a satanic, brainwashing bed. But who really cares. Shopping for the comforter ought to kill us both anyway.