Sleeping With The Not So Rich And Famous

Published in The Ferndale Record-Journal

Ever since I can remember, I’ve slept with the bed covers over my head. And before you say anything, let me just get this out of the way: Yes, I know it’s strange.

It may interest you to know that the sheets and blankets not just randomly thrown into place, either. It’s a carefully orchestrated arrangement of just enough bedding to cover the top and outside of my head and face. The only part left showing is my nose, and maybe the eyes.

Also, the covers must not be too tight, and not too loose. The construction process is an exercise in well-practiced discipline, yet oddly visceral instinct.

I know I’ve been doing this forever because there are pictures of me as a child with only my face sticking out from under the blankets. Apparently my family thought this practice was weird enough to record on film. Maybe they were right.

As a young wife it didn’t occur to me to discontinue the head wrap and I found myself dealing with questions from my new husband that I couldn’t understand. “Where are you?” he’d ask. “I know you’re there, but I can’t see you.” “Why do you sleep like that?”

I don’t know, I just do. And for what it’s worth, it affords me great comfort, satisfaction, and a measure of contentment. I am by nature a cave dweller. I think of my bed covering like a cocoon, or maybe a fort. It’s just what I do, and barring anything short of a personality transplant, I will probably do it for the rest of my life.

I’ve often thought how much more normal it would be to sleep like other people do—with my head out in the open. Maybe even sleeping without covering other body parts—sometimes with a leg or an arm flung outside the sheets. You know, like the rest of humanity does it.

Even when the weather is warm and prohibitive, I manage to cover my head with a sheet. Truthfully, I can’t sleep without it. The whole procedure is like some eccentric, ritualistic, sleeping aid.

So much for romantic and glamorous languishing. Think of Scarlett O’ Hara in “Gone With The Wind,” or a heroine in a novel whose silken hair flows over fluffy, lace pillows as she sleeps. That will never be me.

These days I sleep alone and make my bed into a nest of solitary bliss with just the right amount of pillow to blankie ratio, combined with only the utter necessities: A Breathe Rite nasal strip that staves off snoring and waking myself up, a pony tail directly on top of my head so the covers placed over it don’t thoroughly mat my hair, and of course, industrial strength hand lotion.

Did something scare me once at night when I was a kid? Maybe it’s just a comfortable habit I fell into and decided to keep.

Either way, covering my head while I sleep more than works for me—it feeds my body and soul. It all comes together into a beautiful mix, and I find myself not caring in the least what anyone else thinks of this admittedly bizarre behavior.

Call me a nonconformist, a freak, or even a maverick.

Just don’t call me in the middle of the night because my head will be wrapped up and I won’t hear the phone.


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