Beds: The Rest Of The Renting Adventure


A while back I mentioned that when you circulate around the planet as Lolly and I have, the places you rent become part of the “adventure” of travel.

And as I said at the time, the beds you run into are a large part of that adventure.

My guess is there isn’t a person on this planet who doesn’t set great store on getting a decent night’s rest. We work hard, and we play hard, but at the end of the day we want to sleep easy.

Beds are supposed to be places where we snuggle up and feel safe, but that’s not always the way things work out. As I have mentioned before, there was a certain Murphy bed in Wichita Falls, Texas, which had designs on my life. A Murphy bed, in case you haven’t run into one of them, is a bed which folds upward into a closet and is held there by some very large springs.

I don’t want to get into all that again, so I’ll just say that if you ever run across a Murphy bed and get curious how it works, do NOT stand up on it, wander back toward the head of the bed — the end in the closet — stand on your toes, crane your neck, and try to look in back of the bed to see how it works.

If you do, I assure you, you will never do it again.

And you better have a sweet young wife around to pull the bed back down and let you out, even if she’s laughing so hard she’s as weak as a kitten. And I’ll tell you what, if you don’t have someone to rescue you, people are soon going to start asking, “What’s that bad smell coming from 3B?” And the person who pulls that bed down to see what smells so bad is in for a rude shock.

Yes, beds are an important part of life. By and large, we spend something like one-third of our altogether too short lives in them. Sometimes we even sleep in them, though they have been known to be useful for other pursuits ...

Reading, for example.

Fooled you, that time, didn’t I?

I hope you didn’t think I was going to get into THAT. I only talk about things I know something about.

Ah, yes! Beds, beds, beds. Everywhere you go. Same old thing. All you want is a good night’s rest. Seems simple enough. Just a good night’s rest. But after a few experiences with rentals you find out the simple thing in the equation is your brain — if you think you are actually going to get one.

The worst couple of nights I ever spent in a bed were also a couple of the funniest. It happened because of an old-fashioned set of springs that had apparently been left out the rain at some time, so before I go any farther I had better stop and explain something for the younger folks.

Even before “box springs” came along, beds had a set of springs and a mattress. The set of springs was pretty much the same thing as a box spring, with the difference that instead of being enclosed in a cheap wooden frame and some equally cheap sheeting — for which we pay an incredibly high price — the springs were mounted in a simple, open, metal frame.

One very practical reason for that was the fact that beds predate DDT by about 5,000 years. In the days before bug spray, the only way to decontaminate a bed was to douse it with something like kerosene. That’s why people had all those pretty brass beds. They weren’t there to look pretty; they were there to let you kill off the %$#@! highly personal bugs with whom our poor ancestors shared so much of their lives.

Anyway, for one reason or another, a set of bed springs used to be exactly that — a set of springs mounted in an open frame to which they were connected by dozens upon dozens of small metal rings. People in those days used to drag beds out of doors on a good day, letting everything air out and get the benefit of a day in the sun — frame, springs, mattress, bedding, the whole 99 yards. Evidently, however, in the case of the bed of which I speak, someone failed to see the clouds sneaking up on them.

And so to bed after a hard day’s work moving in ...

Wasn’t bad at first. There were a few squeaks as we settled down, but after a hard day of emptying boxes and stowing stuff in closets and drawers and wherever we were too tired to care. We just drifted right off to sleep for a few hours.

But then one of us woke up and rolled over.

Squeak. Squeak, squeak, squeak. Squeakety-squeak-squeak.

Then someone giggled.

What a mistake!

Giggling consists of holding in your laughter until your whole body shakes.

Which it really does, by the way. You’d think we were made out of some kind of Jello. Man do we shake! And, of course, so did the bed. And the springs. And 20,000 small rusted rings that tied the springs to the frame.

Squeak. Squeak, squeak, squeak. Squeakety-squeak. Squeak-squeak-squeak. Squeakety-squeak-squeak-squeak. Squeakety ...

So we slept on the floor.

At the end of another hard day’s work, both totally pooped out, we decided there was nothing funny about squeaky springs, and definitely no way anything was going to keep us from zonking out the instant our heads hit the pillows. We were adults. We were tired. We could handle squeaks. And there would be no giggling.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

After three nights on the floor we went out and bought a new set of springs.

Our landlady was very understanding about the whole affair. She understood why we had bought new springs. She also understood why we had tossed out the old ones. She also understood that the new set of springs belonged to her by the law of eminent threats.

You should have seen her patrolling the yard when we moved out a year or so later. I will say, though, she was nice about it. She left her double barrel in the pickup.

Along with her husband, Beelzebub. And his pitchfork.

Ah yes, beds and rentals. Fun! Fun! Fun!


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