Make Your Bed

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Matt Geiger

Our daughter wanted bunk beds for ages. She loved the idea of having a guest bed in her room, and she was intrigued by the fact that it’s essentially a fort frame that’s ready to turn into a ship or a castle at any moment. There is also an undeniable primal safety to sleeping six feet off the ground. I admit I often fall asleep on the top bunk while reading bedtime stories to her. When I do, a little, atavistic part of my monkey brain always thinks: “I can sleep safely up here, just out of reach of the wolves.”

My wife purchased a used bunk bed, doing so with more faith in our marriage than was prudent. She went and picked it up, managed not to get murdered by the person selling it on Facebook, and returned home. 

“They lived in a mansion,” she reported back to me. “They were definitely rich, so I think this must be a good bed.”

We carried all the parts out of the back of the car, up the stairs, down the narrow hallway and into Hadley’s bedroom. And when I say “all the parts” I mean only some of the parts, because a couple dozen where missing. One of the things that was missing, and I really can’t stress enough how important to the particular narrative arc of this story it is, was the instructions. We spent several hours trying to assemble a used bunk bed, without having all the pieces, based solely on a general idea of what some bunk beds look like. It was maddening, and by that I don’t mean it made us angry; I mean it drove us insane. 

It was like working as a police sketch artist if the victim only described to you five ears, no nose, three eyes and a single tooth. 

When it was all set up, Hadley ran into the room and asked joyfully to climb into bed. 

“Oh, no,” I said, poking the top bunk with my little finger and watching it wobble and teeter like a drunken reveler at 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day. “You must never climb on this bed. Please don’t slam the door or speak too loudly around it.”

My wife contacted the people who live in a nice house and did not murder her earlier in the day, and she got a very polite reply: “Well, I do have a bag full of parts here that might go with the bed. I couldn’t figure out what they went to!”

Greta drove back to their house, picked up the missing pieces, and also learned that we actually had some additional parts, too. Apparently, when the initial purchasers first bought the beds, a couple of the railings were damaged during shipping, so were sent a surplus of bonus replacement parts that far exceeded their needs. This explained why I couldn’t figure out what to do with the 17 side rails I had been tussling with all day. Suddenly the five headboards made sense. 

It took two days, 36 swears (only 20 said within earshot of our daughter) and one brief discussion about the logistics of divorce, but we finally got the bed assembled. 

Still, sometimes when I lie on the top bunk with Hadley, reading a story about talking animals who learn various lessons, I do think about the fact that I am safe from wolves. Then, just as I’m about to fall asleep, I open my eyes and realize that I might not be out of reach of my own haphazard workmanship. 

When I do, I wonder if we might tumble to the ground. But I don’t worry, because I know that if you make your bed, you must lie in it. And this is how we make our way through life. Some new things, some old. A vague idea how things work, but no real instructions.

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