Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Monday 17 September 2012

Getting My Priorities Straight

There comes a time in every adult’s life to stop and think about buying a bed, and not just a piece of furniture, but a proper, grown-up, investment bed.

There comes a time, probably somewhere in middle-age when how pretty the headboard is suddenly matters much less than the qualities of a well-made mattress. That moment occurred for us some time last week.

The weird thing is that it didn’t start that way. The weird thing is that it all started with size.

The husband and I have always slept on a standard double, a four foot six bed, 135cm if you will. It’s not very big, is it? It’s the size of bed that we bought for the children for heaven’s sake. 

I never considered a bigger bed. I like the husband, and being close to him in bed never felt like any sort of a problem; it still doesn’t. 

Then, last week, an odd confluence of events and my own clumsiness had me lying sideways on a bed that wasn’t wide enough for my height in a room that was more than big enough for a six foot bed, and the mattress was lumpy and the cheap brass lacquer was scratched and ugly, and I realised that we were selling ourselves short.

We spend a lot of time in bed.

Correction: Everyone spends a lot of time in bed. Nevertheless, we were bedding down nightly on something we bought for next-to-nothing fifteen years ago, and it just didn’t seem right.

I did my research and we went bed-shopping. We’d seen a bedstead we liked on-line, so went to someone who stocked it. Simple. They didn’t have one to view, of course, but what the hell, it was only the bedstead, it’d be fine. What they did have was a large array of mattresses to try out.

I would say, ‘It’s not rocket science,’ but it turns out that it is. It is if you want one of those memory-foam jobs, anyway. Turns out, after lying on one, the last thing I wanted was memory-foam, so I used my veto and on we went.

Now, you can colour me any way you like, but I do a lot of things in bed. In fact, I’ve never been much of a sleeper. Even as a child, I didn’t do a whole lot of sleeping, so it’s a decent way down my list of priorities when it comes to considering the purchase of a bed. The husband, on the other hand can sleep pretty well anywhere, and regularly does, so he’s not fussy about the sleeping action of the bed either. It’s the other things we do in bed that determine our needs, and we do lots of other things in bed.

Have I mentioned the salesman? Thought not.

I’m a great believer that customers get the service they deserve. Of course sales persons really ought to treat everyone the same, of course they should be professional and personable and courteous at all times, but they’re human, too, and if a customer treats a salesperson less than well, it’s never going to be an ideal relationship. Where possible I do try hard to be a good customer; in fact, if I struggle with a salesperson, I generally walk away from the purchase, especially a purchase as big as this one. 

Our salesman was rather lovely. He was a robust man in his forties, beautifully turned out, softly spoken, masculine, accommodating, and he was funny. He called me ‘madam’ and got away with it, which is rare for someone not very much younger than I am. He also managed to maintain his composure, except when he was laughing, and we laughed rather a lot.

It turns out that sleep is all and everything that any customer ever talks about when buying a bed. I am not any customer. It turns out that I am extremely unusual in wanting to discuss or even mention any of the other activities that I might want to partake of in my nocturnal habitat.

I was utterly amazed. Even for someone who’s lived with insomnia forever, there’s no way in heaven and earth that I’d prioritise a good night’s sleep over other things I do in bed. People really do have a lot to learn about life, don’t they?

Sleep is one thing, but there’s really nothing nicer than a properly comfortable place to indulge the desire for a long session with a really good book.

1 comment:

  1. Thankfully due to years of travelling down the M5 to visit relatives in Somerset, I have managed to train my body to sleep in some of the most uncomfortable places with relative ease.

    I remember a time during the Army Cadet days when we were out camping military style in some Moors-like area near the Brecon Beacons, and I drew the short straw of laying my bedroll at the base of a knobbly tree with some very prominent roots poking through the loam.

    I was lying on ground that I swore had it in for me, yet I got the best nights sleep out of the whole group of us lads and lasses of the 2nd star group. Even the pampered lance corporals and corporals with their flat comfortable grassy area fared worse than I.

    But yes, it is very surprising how the most mundane of tasks - buying a bed, digging the trench foundations of a grandparents home extension, etc - turn out to be very technical.