Posted by: Kate | August 2, 2008

Sleeping on the Couch

I slept on the couch last night.

No arguments preceded this.  Not even a harsh word.  If anything, there was some affection and mutual congratulations over a party well-done and a reasonably clean house after a busy weekend.  It was uncannily quiet in the house, after X fell asleep, since Emily has gone to my mother’s for a week and the house just feels different when she’s not in it.  As though her very presence echoes down the hall even when she’s sleeping.

No, there was no drama to be had.  Except for the brief moment of, “Oh, whoops,” when I realized I had signed on for an overtime shift at work and had forgotten to turn my phone on.  Happily, I didn’t miss any calls in that hour, and I wasn’t startled or confused when the phone did ring, later on. 

I just prefer to sleep in the living room when I’m on call.  That way, I can sleep with a low light on in the kitchen, enough to be able to write down a phone number but not enough to ruin my night vision.  And I can guiltlessly take a phone call without actually sitting up or moving around; I’m sure Willem would eventually stop making his irritated-but-sleeping noises at me if I returned a call from bed, but first of all that’s kind of a failure of confidentiality and secondly it’s just creepy.  I feel a very strong need to have pants on whenever I speak to a client, even if it is from my home at 3:00 in the morning.

It’s a secret pleasure of mine, too, sleeping in the living room.  I don’t do it often, because sleeping next to my husband is (usually) better, but there’s something about just letting sleep wash over me, just drifting away without bothering to move down the hallway and into my own bed.  Especially since that process, the couch-to-bed migration, is not a simple A-to-B process.  There’s the check to be sure the doors are locked, and then a kiss on the forehead and straightening of covers for Jacob, and a tiptoed peek at Emily up in her bunk.  Then I need to trip over the cat, stumble through the darkened bedroom to switch the air conditioner from “Freeze Your Toes Off” to “Merely Circulate Cold Air,” and then finally make it to bed.  There’s a lot of thinking and movement and general awakening that happens in that trip.

So when I can get away with sleeping on the couch without causing weird emotions or getting that what-are-you-doing? look, I enjoy it.  It has always baffled me, a little, that common cliche that sleeping on the couch much be the result of an argument that ended badly – or didn’t end at all.  Do people really do that?  Go sleep there, or make their spouse do so, just because they’re still mad?

I know, the truly healthy thing is to follow the “Don’t go to bed angry” rule, but some nights it’s just late and I’m tired and dammit, still mad.  But in those circumstances, I’d much rather punish Willem with my continued, irritable presence, particularly because I possess the ability to sleep at a moment’s notice under any conditions, and I know he’ll lie awake and glare at the side of my peacefully slumbering head for hours.

We have to carve out our snide little amusements where we can, sometimes.

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Responses

  1. I used to do that when an eight hour turn around at work for various reasons became a two or three hour gap and me, my clothes, assorted equipment would actually enjoy a quick downloading and rehash of previous events and drift off.

    Now I do it sometimes because I’m grown up; and I can. ;)

  2. You are my husband, in the being able to sleep at the drop of hat, kind of way.

    So, yes, I have made him go sleep on the couch once. It didn’t help me sleep better, though, because I knew he was blissfully sleeping, while I was not. I’ve only been that mad once, so it’s not a big deal.

  3. Ah, the revenge of the good sleepers.

    I sleep on the couch sometimes but it’s because I can’t sleep because of snoring or something. It’s not as comfy.

  4. [...] some reason, this almost always works, and I really kind of like the change of venue — but as Kate suggests, there’s something almost guilty about actually enjoying the couch. (Although [...]

  5. I am not sure why I like to sleep on the couch, but I do find it to be more cozy then having to go to the bedroom and turn the bedding down before climbing in the bed. I am curious how many people do this?

  6. I much prefer the couch. There is no husband still about to insult and all the children have grown up and moved away, so no criticism whatsoever. I do make up a bed with sheets, regular bed pillow and quilt and comforter, so don’t feel am wrecking my nice furniture. My little Schnauzer sleeps under the cover with me, that does create a little crowding…I usually put him in his bed later on though. The living room is large, the TV in there is large, and I have another dog, a German Shepherd and four lovely cats who all share the room with me for the night. They have their cozies and beddies there too. I just don’t like the bedroom for some reason. Too formal, like okay, you must go to sleep now. Not. Anyway, as a 70 year old retiree I feel I can do whatever makes me and my housemates happy; don’t you agree?


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