Monday, July 4, 2011

Flipping the Futon...

I am proud that I live an independent life.  I manage to handle all of the basic tasks of living without the assistance of a life partner or roommate.  I pay my bills, feed and clothe myself.  My social needs are met by the vibrant and diverse circle of friends that surround me.  Most of the time I don’t give my solitary lifestyle much thought, because I like my life this way and yet, there is this one moment, this one regular event that causes me to temporarily reconsider it…

It isn’t a big thing, actually it is pretty insignificant when compared to other tasks, but it is perhaps the one chore that is made much easier when there is another body around to assist.  In fact, while it is doable by a solitary individual, it is such a pain in the ass to do alone that I have been known to put it off for months.  My procrastination is made all the more easy because the not doing of it isn’t going to cause there to be bad smells in my living space, it won’t attract bugs or mice.  The majority of my friends and acquaintances would not know at all that I neglect this task on a regular basis.   They will be completely oblivious to my dereliction of household duty. 

Unless of course, they stay the night and they are forced to navigate the mid-mattress bulge caused by not flipping the futon on a regular basis. 

Despite the small size of my apartment I have been hostess to out of town friends visiting the coast for a weekend of playing tourist; the occasional broken heart that needs comfort, an ear and time away from memories; and of course those who have had one too many on a night out and need a place to safely crash.   My door is open to all.  I will feed them, comfort them and promise to keep the table dancing photos to myself.  And I will also make sure that their stay is a comfortable one…which means that once a month I flip the futon mattress.

(Yes, I know I could ask those who make use of said futon to assist with the turning of the mattress, but if you are not already aware of my tendency towards absentmindedness you’ve simply not been reading this blog long enough.  I have the thought…after they have walked out the door and back into their merry lives.)

And so, inevitably every few weeks I find myself standing, hands on hips, staring down the futon, plotting my strategy.  The problem isn’t that it is heavy, and it is weighty, I’ve the strength to handle that.  No, the problem is the mattress itself, its personality.  You see, futon mattresses are by nature unruly creatures engaging in continual acts of defiance to prove they cannot be caged.  

For instance…picture this:  During a bout of cleaning up you spend a few minutes adjusting the futon mattress on the frame, neatening the cover and making sure all parts are properly aligned.  Satisfied you walk away to take on another task, but before you even turn your back that mattress has begun its slow, slumpy crawl off the frame towards the floor.    When you return minutes later it won’t be the same neatly tucked and adjusted piece of furniture, it will be drooping off the bottom of the frame, the cover now bunched and loose at the top transforming your living room from bohemian salon to bachelor crash pad.

…or you’ve met someone.  Someone you find interesting and attractive enough to invite back to your solitary nest to sit on said futon, share a glass of wine, chat for a time and then maybe engage in a bit of mutually consensual adult activity.  Things go swimmingly and soon you find yourself lip locked and about the lay back when your interesting and attractive new friend stops, and points at something on your leg.  A peanut.  A peanut? A peanut is stuck to your thigh and you know that the last time you had peanuts was six months before when you went hiking; and you remember eating the remaining trail mix while lying on the couch, the laptop on your belly, catching up on missed episodes of Desperate Housewives; and you KNOW you have flipped the futon at least twice since that time.  Yet here you are, peanut on your thigh, mortified and realizing that this interesting and attractive person now thinks you are a disgusting slob and hoping that messiness is not something that they find to be a mood killer.

…or the time comes to flip the futon.

There is a bit of preparation that must be done before this task is taken on.  I clear away the throw pillows and the blankets I have draped over the back to keep handy for chilly nights and to hide the cover bunching.  I push the coffee table and stool out of the way because this isn’t just a chore, it’s a wrestling match and the last time I didn’t make room things were broken.  I take a moment to clear my head, take a deep breath and….

I have in mind that if I can grab the mattress firmly enough in the middle of the outside edge I can slide it off the frame while lifting it straight up so that when it is then balancing on its opposite edge I can bump it in the center with my hip and it will fall placidly into place without a complaint.  I continue to believe that this strategy will work because it did once, when the futon was still new. My housekeeping habits are not the best and I am pretty sure that upon arrival at my home it assessed the situation and thought it would be forever safe from the flip and thus I was able to take it by surprise.  It has not made that mistake since.

What happens instead is that it stubbornly sags more and more in the direction opposite of where I want it to go.  When I have it raised it just to the point where I think I might be able to give it the required bump, it takes the opportunity to shove its full weight against me, and I am forced to release it or be pushed to the floor.  Upon letting it go it opens up, falling flat across my living room floor, making it necessary for me to flip, drag and pull it back onto the frame one corner at a time.  And so I do, grunting and complaining until, through the force of my own stubbornness, it is in place once again. 

I neaten up the cover, replace the blankets across the back, arrange the throw pillows in a pleasing way and head to the bathroom to fetch an emery board to fix the broken nail that always occurs as a part of this process.   I return, sitting down on the (now slumping) futon, smiling to myself, enjoying my triumph, happy that I won’t have to face the task again for another month.  I stretch out my arms across the back of the futon, satisfactory sigh at the ready. As my hand comes to rest on the blankets my fingers brush against a small object, an object with a size and feel that is familiar. 

I know before I even look that what my finger tips have found is a peanut…

1 comment:

  1. Oh, SpinsterJane, thanks for reminding me how remiss I am in this area. I haven't flipped my mattress -probably in years-- for the same reason. It's too cumbersome to do by myself and I can't seem to think of it when there's a guy there who can help me. Plus, it would be weird. "Hey, before you leave, can you help me flip my mattress?". Rent-a-Husband is the business I keep pretending to start.

    eleanore - The Spinsterlicious Life