The first time I spent the night at my ex-boyfriend N.T.’s parents’ house, I thought I was going to die of an allergic reaction. Not a reaction, as one might guess with the benefit of hindsight, to N.T.’s toxic and dysfunctional presence in my life, but a reaction to the four cats that inhabited the house along with N.T.’s parents and his brother and a horde of dust mites. This was in the days before this woman cured me of my allergies, so I was really in bad shape from the moment I entered the house, much less got in bed. I tossed and turned and dripped and snorted and itched while N.T., Fate being as cruel as she is, slept peacefully beside me; eventually, I gave up and went to the only place I could find in the house that wasn’t covered with dust-mite-containing bedding or carpeting: the bathroom floor. I spent a restive early morning in the arms of Morpheus, and then awoke, pretending to have slept soundly and happily and vowing inwardly never to return without a dozen prescriptions or perhaps a gas mask.
Fast forward several years. The feckless N.T. is no longer a part of my life; I have a much better boyfriend, who is much better in bed and has a real job to boot. This past Tuesday morning, E.S. had a job interview in New Jersey, so Monday we went to spend the night at his parents’ house, which was both near the interview and blessedly free of cats and dust mites, not to mention controlling mothers. After a relaxing evening of working ourselves into rages over the current political state of this country and then watching the conclusion of the dreadful NBC miniseries 10.5, we all settled down to bed–E.S. and I in the guest room next to his parents’ room.
And then the snoring started.
Now, I have been known to snore occasionally in my day. E.S. has his own pair of earplugs on my bedside table, in fact, for those occasions–few and far between, if I may speak in my own defense–on which my snoring becomes particularly intrusive.
E.S.’s father, however, blows me out of the water. In all other ways he is a delightful human being, but he snores as if Krakatoa were erupting from his nose.
I tried and tried to sleep. For a short time I even succeeded, but then at some hour between 3:00 and 4:00 I sat bolt upright, terrified that I and what few worldly possessions I’d brought with me were about to be buried under a flood of molten lava.
I got out of bed, careful not to wake E.S. up (something I’ve become good at, given how badly I’ve been sleeping lately), and went in search of another place in the house to sleep.
I tried the couch in the den. This was very comfortable, but, alas, did nothing to dispel the sound of volcanic apnea going on at the other end of the house.
I tried the office, which was quieter, but I feared that, in my restless sleep, I would accidentally unplug some vital piece of equipment upon which somebody’s survival depended.
Which left, of course, only one place.
I slept on the bathroom floor.
They say that those who cannot remember history are condemned to repeat it, but believe me, I remember that night on N.T.’s parents’ bathroom floor with vivid pain.
So what gives?