Saturday, January 3, 2009

Of meteors and mattresses...

The morning of the meteor shower finally arrived. After enjoying clear skies all week long, it decided to cloud up precisely during the hours of peak activity. At first I was distraught and frustrated.

In retrospect however, it didn't matter one whit. I and the person I was with enjoyed a couple of hours of each others company, lying in the middle of an open field, covered with blankets, and gazing up at a clouds describing a fast moving sky accented with a handful of intermittent stars. Every now and then we'd actually see a brief streak of light as a speck of space dust blazed across our small portion of unobscured sky. At one point, a low cloud bank brightened suddenly, as if it were being lit from within.

"Did you see that?"
"I think it was a really bright one, obscured by the clouds."
"Yeah. It would have really been spectacular if we could have seen it."

It was spectacular anyway.

Time passed as it is wont to do, so eventually we had to gather up the blankets and pillows and get back to real life. I spent the entire day at work in a decidedly odd mood, which was good. Or rather, in a decidedly good mood, which was odd - for being at work, that is. Time flew by and I didn't mind work at all.

Before I knew it, I was walking home. I decided to take Bryan street on a whim, and discovered something which almost ruined my day.

About 3/4 or the way up Bryan street, before it runs into Scripture, there was a large dumpster which serviced an apartment complex. Around this dumpster were piled several large, overflowing trash bags. Lying among these bags was an assortment of abandoned dirty clothing, reams of carelessly scattered notes from some obsolete and already forgotten college class, cardboard boxes filled with plastic food wrappers, empty 7-Eleven coffee cups, a discarded Christmas wreath, and scores of cigarette butts. Underneath a goodly portion of all this was a queen sized mattress.

As I stood there regarding that scene, I was surprised to find that the sight of so much blatant refuse was pissing me off. I started to gather up some of the more readily accessible and less revolting bits of trash and stuffed them into the open garbage bags. Eventually I had to deal with the revolting stuff. After I had several bags crammed full and closed tightly, I tossed them into the dumpster. Then I went to work on the classroom notes. There had to have been at least 5 pounds of typed and hand written papers there, which would have been blown away if not for the fact that there had been so much trash covering them. They had started to blow away after a lot of the dead weight was removed, so I spent some time recovering scores of windblown sheets of paper and stuffing them into a cardboard box (the contents of which I had already emptied into the dumpster). Finally, I was left with just the old dirty clothes, which consisted mainly of socks, t-shirts, and some raggedy, torn up shoes. These too went into the dumpster. Finally, I threw away the Christmas wreath, which I had been saving for last in case I decided it could be salvaged. It couldn't, so into the dumpster it went. The only thing left was about a hundred cigarette butts. I gathered these up by the handful and tossed them, winding up with stinky, charcoal stained fingers.

Finally, after about 10 minutes of constant activity, the area around the dumpster was clear. The only thing left was that queen sized mattress. I inspected it closely. It actually didn't look that bad, and after testing it in a few places, it felt soft. I imagined that with a good cleaning, it would be a dramatic improvement over my current twin mattress, which is just a piece of shit, now that I think about it. If I weren't so used to it, it would be impossible to sleep on it, as the springs have no padding to separate them from the actual material which comprises the surface of the mattress. Every night, I lie down to the constant poking and pressing of those damn uncomfortable springs. No more.

I walked home and called my brother in law, who drives a pickup truck. I asked for his assistance in transporting the mattress to my house, and he agreed. Later we loaded it into the back of his truck, and at this moment it is leaning up against the wall in the hallway, waiting for me to clear a spot for it in the disaster area which is my room. I might even get to it tonight, although I don't think I have any queen sized sheets. It probably needs at least a cursory spiffing before I lay me down to sleep on it, so I think I'll wait until tomorrow to make it safe for human habitation.

Even if this queen sized mattress turns out to be a bust, I'm not going back to that mattress from hell that I've been enduring for 9 years, ever since my water bed sprung a leak.

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