Monday, January 14, 2008

Clean Sheet Night

Soft, sweet-smelling and 100% cat hair free.

I love clean sheet night.

Brother says he doesn't get it. It may be a boy-girl thing. eBeth feels the same way I do, but it doesn't make the slightest difference to Brother.

"They're all soft," I say.

"My wife says that."

"And they smell good," I continue.

"My wife says that."

"What about the cat hair?" I plead.

He shrugs and gives me a look not unlike the exasperated look I gave my compadres during the great hallucinogenic experiment of 1984, wherein I wished to convey my disdain and disgust§ at being left out of the joke.

"The trees are purple and the sky is orange," they said.

"Everything is black and grey and white and I'm bored and I want to go home."

And Brother says, "A bed is a bed. I just want to go to sleep."

So I get the sentiment if not the impetus.

And, oh, how I don't get the impetus.

[SUMMARY: The education of a little brother is an uphill battle.]

How could you not breathe deep the bouquet of fabric softener? Not enjoy the smooth coolness of a newly-stretched bottom sheet? Not revel in the smoothness of bedding unwrinkled by human wallowing?

And that last bit is important to me. See, I sleep naked.

[SUMMARY: Here we go.]

You may think I'm going off on one of my flights of questionable taste,# but it's really one of the dorkiest remnants of childhood ever.

When I was eight, Diane Dunn, who lived in the house right behind ours,†† told me "beauty sleep" meant sleeping naked.% We were pretty sure that meant if you slept naked, you would grow up beautiful.

I was smart enough to rationalise that bit of information under the idea of letting one's skin breathe and maybe even some sort of rudimentary idea of exfoliation, but apparently not smart enough to be wary of taking beauty advice from an eight-year-old.

I had freckles and curly hair and a very snub little nose. In the 70's, when Cher ruled (and Suzanne, who had waist-length, glossy, black STRAIGHT hair^), a hyper-intelligent mop of a child was just goofy.

When the girls played Celebrity at recess, I couldn't because nobody knew of a celebrity with short, curly hair.

"Anne Murray?" I said hopefully, thinking of the cover of the album Mom gave me.

"We don't know who that is," said Suzanne, regretfully.

Don't hate on Suzanne. Suzanne was actually very kind about it, if not particularly helpful. She really wanted me to be able to play with them, she just didn't know how I could possibly fit in.

I dreamed‡‡ of going to school and shocking all the denizens of recess by pulling off the goofy mask to reveal Alexandra Anastasia, an adopted princess§§ making her way through the Cypress-Fairbanks public school system. Then I'd be my own celebrity and I'd get to do whatever it was that the girls who played Celebrity did.

Incidentally, this was when I started playing with boys.

[SUMMARY: The foibles of youth shape the misadventures of adulthood.]

Anyway, taking beauty sleep seemed as good a regimen as any to reach my Alexandra Anastasia goals.

Surprisingly enough, it didn't work.


Not so surprisingly, I still sleep naked.¶¶ Mostly because I' m so used to it, any sleep clothes are uncomfortable in the extreme. Elastic make me crazy. Night shirts twist around me when I turn over.

Cuffs... don't even get me started on cuffs.

But my point -- and I do have one -- is that clean sheets are all the more exciting for me because they don't have lint and kitty litter and wrinkles and a hundred other irritants that the clothed may not even notice.

[SUMMARY: I *love* clean sheet night.]

Which is a long way of getting to the fact that it's Monday and I didn't want to get out of bed this morning.

FOOTNOTE (crossed): And litter. So much litter. How can that cat carry a quarter-cup of litter in his tiny little paws up 33 stairs and across the vast carpeted wasteland of the living room? It has to be deliberate.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): Which begs the question, "Why do I feel compelled to change the sheets BEFORE a boy comes to spend the night?"

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): And secret envy.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): Besides the secret envy, I was also secretly worried that I would lose out on a whole lifetime of fantastic under-the-influence experiences. I couldn't get drunk, magic mushrooms apparently didn't work... even something as simple as No-Doz left me aching to hurt like my friends did. My, how things have changed. That 17-year-old me would be so proud to see the 40-year-old me soused to the gills on champagne, flat on my back on my living room floor whimpering, "I just want to be normal again. I just want to be normal again."

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): And after last week's "sex sells" scam, how could I blame you?

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): And was BFF with Allison Greenwood, who was NINE, for Pete's sake. Revel in the credibility.

%FOOTNOTE (percented): In retrospect, it may be Diane walked in on her parents post-boff or early in the morning and her flustered mom offered her the beauty sleep explanation to explain her nudity.

^FOOTNOTE (careted): Interestingly enough, Suzanne also had a boyfriend. A year older than us. Which I felt lent her extra credibility. A therapist could have a field day.

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): Literally.

§§FOOTNOTE (is anyone else getting dizzy?): The fact that my nose was exactly my mother's and my curly hair and bright blue eyes were exactly my father's didn't take anything away from the fantasy that I was some sort of changeling.

¶¶FOOTNOTE (dancing on the ceiling): I kinda wonder if Diane still does too.

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