10 August 2011

Timing and temperature

As winter turns through some early death rolls, the unseasonably warm days are still not enough for me to stop using my electric blanket. I LOVE my electric blanket. Slipping in between my sheets each night when they have been warmed to toasted-sandwich-machine proportions is, if you ask me, one of the great luxuries of life.

The colder winter evenings dictate that one side of the bed also must be left on a low heat setting to ensure snugness throughout the night. And that's the way I like to deal with the business of sleeping through a Brisbane winter. It is not however, how my husband copes.

For only the second winter, he too put an electric blanket on his bed. But, it is a blanket that is little troubled with the task of heating his sheets. Its controls are only troubled on very cold evenings and only to warm the bed up for entry.

Being a stock-standard human being who frames her reality through the lens of all that is my world and my perspective on the world, I cannot, for the life of me, 'get' the concept of wanting to slip between cold sheets on a cold night. But it turns out that my husband mostly does and he also does not share my love of the thermo-nuclear.

At a party last night, I spoke with a couple who shared that the man slept every night of the year with a fan on him. The lady pulled a face when she explained that she did not like it and was at pains to point out that the fan was only on him. They also shared that he is an early riser who often wakes her as he arises most days between 4-5am and she likes to sleep in. I listened with fascination, my mind churning with deep interest, and just a little jealousy that they continue to co-habitate a bed with such different needs in their sleep patterns.

I often listen to these types of conversations with varying degrees of jealousy. Are my husband and I that dysfunctional that we can't just put our differences aside and compromise enough to hop into the same bed every night like so many couples do? My jealousy's source is that if we tried harder, we too would experience that wonderful togetherness all the other co-sleeping couples do. But then, as often happens, the conversation continues into the fields of truth and reality and all my insecurities are allayed.

The lady in the couple then went on to say that she often sleeps in a spare room when the number of nights of broken sleep she has endured means she is starting to suffer at work and all those around her are suffering from her short fuse and muddled mind. When I heard this part of the story, my anxiety melts with global-warming speed and I again feel confident that we are making a good decision - albeit one that is pragmatic (and bordering on prosaic) and definitely not romantic.

However, as Elynor Glyn, the British novelist and scriptwriter who pioneered mass-market women's erotic fiction said "Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze" and really, who wants to walk around in a haze every day? Even golden hazes lose their lustre after a few days and if not dealt with can often turn into a stifling pall that becomes hard to navigate. Just ask the folk of Beijing or Mumbai in middle of summer.

So in my ongoing quest for normalising (see post below) I place another snippet of anthropological insight into the filing cabinet of 'Jenny', slip into the thermal delight that is my bed in winter, and look forward to a good night's sleep that will go a long way to clearly seeing the challenges of the next day.

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