I haven’t slept in nine days. I don’t mean that in a cool, James Bond, I’m-in-a-tiny-room-with-a-bright-light-being-tortured-for-the-location-of-the-secret-files kind of way. No rescue missions required. No, I’m just on vacation with Erik and the kids. And I’ll tell you something: sleeping on land is the worst.
Even in the marina, the boat moves a little. Just a very gentle sway, back and forth, back and forth. But enough to lull even the most hard-core insomniac into dreamland. And, at anchor? Please. It is so comfy that I’m surprised we are awake more than three hours a day. Even my mother, a woman who considers it perfectly reasonable to wake up at 1 am and start the day, can sleep on Papillon. Really, I should ditch this whole writing gig and turn Papillon into a trendy, vastly-overpriced sleep clinic. Since I’m naturally cranky, we would have to be the mean kind of fancy spa – put the guests to work repairing lines and varnishing teak during the day, feed them a big, starchy meal and send them to bed by 7 pm. Twelve hours later, they would be clutching at my skirt, begging to do it all over again.
I get tired at night. I like my eight hours – that’s just the way I’m built. So when I finally crawl into bed, I look forward to it just like I look forward to the other parts of my day. I read a little, then drift off. Easy as pie. And when the sun comes up, I am refreshed. I open my eyes, warbling like Snow White, little forest animals nuzzling at my elbows, ready to start my daylight activities.
Not so on land.
For one thing, the mattress is all wrong. How is anyone supposed to sleep sunk into a pool of over-engineered memory foam? Does my back really need that much coddling? No. It makes me feel like I’m being eaten by a marshmallow. The hard mattresses are even worse. Instead of just laying a blanket on a board, like any reasonable human being would do, the hard mattress-makers build a foot-thick concrete pad, add some poky springs for laughs, and charge you for the privilege.
So there you lay in the dark. There are no lee-boards, so you’re clutching at the covers, waiting to be thrown out of bed at any moment. You’re about seven feet off the ground, because apparently thick = better these days. And you’re not moving. No sweet mother ocean rocking you to sleep. No gentle breezes gliding down the hatch above you. No moon, no stars. Just you, a white hotel ceiling, and a bed so still you might as well be sleeping in an abandoned factory.
Come to think of it, forget the sleep clinic. I’m going to invent a moving bed. Nothing fancy – just four inches of foam on a plank, set into a frame that gently rolls like the ocean. Get your pre-orders in now, people. You’ll never look at a motionless bed again.