Sometimes when folks get together the conversation turns to the darndest things. We were hosting a Sunday school Christmas party Saturday night when the subject of marital sleeping arrangements came up. Now I realize that I have opened myself to lots and lots and lots of comments, but it was all quite innocent, trust me. It was a group of Baptists for crying out loud! And pretty old Baptists at that.
That, I suppose, is the rub.
A lot of us seem to be incompatible bed mates with our spouses. I'm talking sleeping here! Get your mind out of the gutter, or I will put you on Santa's naughty list. You know what that means. Switches and lumps of coal in your stockings next week!
I am not sure, to tell the truth, how or why the conversation was steered toward nocturnal bliss - or lack thereof - so early in the evening. I guess it all started when people began arriving in a rare rainstorm, and we invited them to place their coats and other assorted wraps on our bed. My lovely wife Lisa and I have a new one you see, thanks to Ramsey Furniture Company and State Farm Insurance. The one we had since the day we were married - 25 years ago on this very day, as a matter of fact - was destroyed in a flood last summer.
Many of our guests began commenting on the pros and cons of the king size. Not to be indelicate here because we are still talking, after all, about a Sunday school party, but back when we were first married - just as the waterbed fad was dying out, I might add - the king-sized bed had entirely different connotations for young couples, which I personally never understood because you are a lot closer in a queen or your standard double bed - or a twin bed of the Laura and Rob Petrie variety, as far as that goes.
If you are too young to remember Laura and Rob Petrie, you probably aren't reading my column anyway, so I won't bother explaining who they are. Ask your mama and them if you just have to know.
But at any rate, for the better part of half an hour, we discussed snorers and cover pullers and heavy breathers; those with cold feet and those who tossed and turned - as well as insomniacs and sound sleepers. The whole thing was really quite enlightening, and I had no idea that so many couples go through the same travails as my bride and I.
I am a snorer, or so Lisa says, and I am also a bathroom-goer - we're talking three or four times a night minimum - which may be way more information than you need or can handle. Lisa is a sound sleeper who often drifts off to sleep before my head even hits the pillow, which somehow doesn't prevent her from being bothered by my snoring and bathroom-going. It also doesn't prevent her from using her bony knees and elbows to punch, poke, prod and kick me to consciousness when my bad habits are disturbing her sleep.
That's where the king-sized bed has come in handy for me. I can hug my side and she can't reach me. She claims it has been a boon to her as well because apparently a couple of feet can make a huge difference when irritating sound waves are being produced by a snorer.
Lisa talks in her sleep - and says some pretty interesting things from time to time. This presents a real problem for me because I already have trouble falling asleep and when she starts mumbling, I find myself wanting to stay awake to listen. I've found out some pretty interesting stuff that way, too.
Every couple there had complaints about their spouses, too. To hear folks talk, it's a wonder anybody ever sleeps a wink. There are apparently a whole lot of folks sleeping on a lot of couches out there - and for a number of reasons beside the obvious.
The whole experience reminded me of the fellow who claimed he was from a large family and never slept alone until he was married.
I think Mark and Kathy were the most like Lisa and me. Kathy tosses and turns and keeps Mark awake and finally trudges to the couch in the middle of the night and Mark can apparently fall asleep at the drop of a hat - until Kathy starts to annoy him. They say misery loves company, and I was just glad to find out that I am not in a unique situation.
In fact, knowing I'm not alone might make me sleep better at night. And if not, the couch is never crowded.
Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.