There’s a lesson in all this, I’m sure.
How was your summer? Ours was good, and now I’m going to try to make the story of a lazy, poorly-photographed, mostly-housebound summer into fascinating reading without lying too much, or digging through the thesaurus for a bunch of pretentious adjectives. It’s going to be a strain, so bear with me. Or, if you’re in the mood, take off your shirt and bare with me. (I’ll be wearing flip-flops.)
I know summer’s not officially over until September somethingth, but for all intents and purposes, when you have a kid going back to school / it’s Labor Day weekend, summer’s over. Santa Barbara gets a reprieve because when the tourists leave, the beaches clear out and we raise our melanoma-scarred faces to the sky and give thanks for what often turn out to be our warmest months, September and October.
But — you know what? I don’t want to write about my summer. I want to write about this ridiculous thing I realized last week.
About six months ago my husband decided that our pillows needed to be washed. The pillows on our bed. I think Jack had been mildly under the weather for a couple of days and had had a bout of night sweats. So when he woke up and saw steam rising from his pillow, he declared that he was taking ALL the pillows to the laundromat.
This, I felt, was a mistake.
“The laundromat ruins pillows. They just stuff them in the washer and dryer willy-nilly, and they come back all lumpy. Don’t do it,” I said.
“I am going to do it,” Jack said. “It’s easier.”
“I don’t care how long it takes or how many times I have to check the dryer and rotate the pillows for optimum shape maintenance, I am going to wash the pillows here,” I said. “You take your pillow to the laundromat and see what happens.”
“I will,” said Jack. And he did. And at the end of the day he picked up his pillow at the landromat and it was a lumpy disaster of epic proportions.
“HA!” I said triumphantly. “I told you so.” I showed him the rest of the pillows, which I had washed and painstakingly tended all day long just to prove a point.
“I don’t give a shit, at least it doesn’t smell like sweaty hair anymore,” said Jack.
I took all the pillows to the bedroom and put fresh pillowcases on them. I put the lumpy one on Jack’s side. Smugly. And he slept on it for six months without complaint. Every time I changed the sheets I made sure he got the lumpy pillow, while I got the nice, flat pillow.
Then, last week, Jack spent some time reading in bed and propping himself up with all the pillows he could find. And so it happened that when he remade the bed, he (inadvertently, I’m sure, because when Jack says he doesn’t give a shit, he really doesn’t give a shit) gave me the lumpy pillow. Later, when I came to bed, the room was dark and I was tired and as soon as my head hit the pillow my first thought was, “This is the lumpy pillow,” and my second thought was, “OH MY GOD THIS IS THE MOST COMFORTABLE, WONDERFUL PILLOW I’VE EVER SLEPT WITH IN MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE.”
The lumpy pillow is now My Pillow. It’s like sleeping with someone who understands me. It’s a pillow to hug and spoon with all night, and if you try to take it from me you will see the white hot eyeballs of fury lunging out of my head. Or, if I’m tired, I’ll just say, “Hey, give me that pillow,” and yank it out from under your head.