Flopping

I purchased my current mattress after the break up of my marriage.  It was not supposed to be my forever mattress, only my transition mattress.  After eight years and even more lumpy spots, it had to go!

After weeks of procrastination, I went shopping.  The first few stores were not doing it for me.  In each, I was met by a sales associate who appeared in front of me as if dropped by a pneumatic tube associate dispensing system activated by opening the door of the store.  With each salesperson came a big toothy grin and a clipboard with sale flyers, credit applications and, no doubt, a list of everything the manager wanted the staff to sell.  The associates in each store stayed in close formation, chatting me up, looking for personal details to bond with me so I would make a purchase, preferably on my new store credit card.  The only thing they needed to know was that I was shopping for a mattress, I was there to flop, lay still and sort through the selection on my back.

mattress

The last store was different.  I slipped into the vast showroom unnoticed by the staff.  Perhaps their pneumatic associate delivery tube system was down.  The last time I was here, the mattresses were way in the back of the building, so that is where I headed, weaving through the confusing galleries of bedrooms, dining rooms, leather recliners, and couches.  When I finally arrived in the back, I was dismayed to find the former mattress gallery full of beach house offerings.  “Wicker (shuddering), so much wicker!”

I plotted my escape from the store.  Did they stop selling mattresses?  To find that answer I would need to talk to an associate. No, it was better to locate a way out as stealthily as possible.

20180818_122327As I weaved my way out it happened, a desk caught my eye.   I wanted a new writing table. It had to be hardwood, at least 60 inches wide, and a close match for the furniture in my bedroom.  As I was examining it, a strange feeling came over me, perhaps a feeling a wildebeest experiences when they sense a lion, with a clipboard, sizing them up.  I moved away, picking my route through the maze of galleries, increasing my pace as I went. I was using my peripheral vision to track the predator associate as I moved ever closer to the front door.

I moved left and stumbled on the entrance to the mattress gallery.  I darted around a half wall and there, in front of me, a sea of mattresses.  I flopped on the first one.  Wow, not too firm, not too soft.  The lioness approached, but the half wall obstructed its view.  She moved off slowly. There were more wildebeest to be had.

I checked out the selection and returned to the first mattress I had tried during my escape.  We have a winner!  Now I need to find an associate.  They are never around when you need them!

This is a blog post written for a class, Blog Writing I, I am taking with Gotham Writers Workshop

Gotham Writers Workshop Assignment

I recently completed a creative writing course through the Gotham Writers Workshop.  The following short post is the updated draft of the third week’s assignment for Individuality.  It is a rant piece on something I hate.

Sand

I hate sand.  I have always hated sand.  When I was a child, my mother would take my siblings and me to the beach at Breezy Point.  Only in her late twenties, she would haul her five children out of Brooklyn in a station wagon full of towels, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and beach toys.  Once at Breezy Point she would first take me out to the beach, spread out a big blanket and place my three-year-old butt in the center.  Only then would she go back and grab the rest of my siblings with one of her girlfriends schlepping the gear needed to keep five kids, all under the age of 7, entertained for a day at the beach. Mom would not worry about me wandering off my cotton island in the sand.  I hated the feel of it burning my feet, on my skin and in my hair. I hated the taste of it in my mouth.  Most kids bring pails and shovels to the beach, I brought a hand broom and fought my first battle in the sand.

I still hate the texture, the way it gets into everything, and never seems to go completely away. It collected in my boots, scratched my glasses and never really shook out of my desert camouflage uniform. It concealed explosives and absorbed blood, the stain from either only lasting a few hours before being covered. Giant storms of it would blow and envelope everything in its path.  The sun could not completely penetrate the huge clouds rolling across the desert. Sand could steal the horizon and any sense of safety I had retained.  The taste of it was always in my mouth, I breathed it in and coughed it up.

I hate that it took a body as quickly as a bullet took a life.  I hate how it covered mass graves and weapons caches.  Even when heavy equipment was brought in to move it, you knew it was only a matter of time before the sand would undo all the effort to displace it.

No amount of washing those uniforms seems to be able to get rid of all the sand.  Even now,  14 years later, I can pull out the big plastic bags in which my combat uniforms are stored, and I will still find the powdery off-white substance that fuels my nightmares. It makes my skin crawl.

Everyone laughed at me and thought I was weird when I was three years old because I would go to such lengths to avoid contact with sand.  Forty years later, I remembered what I knew as a very young boy. I have no use for sand.