Last night I fell asleep on the couch next to my snoring dog. I was watching my new favorite Netflix show called Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment. It features nine volunteers who have been dropped off somewhere in the Alaska interior. Their mission is to find their way back to civilization. They have to hunt and fish to feed themselves, keep themselves out of danger, and follow a map as closely as possible so as to end up after most day hikes in some kind of strategically placed shelter. They’re usually really excited to find any covered space in which to sleep at the end of every day.
I get being so exhausted that you could sleep anywhere. But, truth be told, I, like most people, love my bed. I love my bed so much that, after moving from the couch to my bed, I slept nearly 12 hours last night which. I must clarify something – that is extremely unusual for me. What’s more unusual are the stories that involve other places I’ve slept over the course of my life. We all have a list of them. Here’s mine:
- In the Sturdiest Tent in the World: As a young child I went camping with my neighbors in Italy while my parents stayed home. We pitched our tents on a cliff overlooking a gorgeous lake. The boys braved the cliff’s edge and the girls chose to set up camp farther back near the cliff wall. That night a brutal storm blew in, scaring the boys into our tent just before a gust of wind uprooted theirs and sent it, and all their belongings, over the edge. We spent the next morning picking up what we could from down below.
- Cabin in the Woods: During my Girl Scout days our troop spent a weekend in the Upper Michigan woods once a year. We trudged through snow that came to our waists, always with a bathroom buddy and safety whistles (in case of bears), and only fell asleep after the last girl stopped yammering on about how Ted Nugent lived nearby. (Ted Nugent was just as terrifying to little girls as Jason from Friday the 13th was.)
- In a Parking Lot: Hundreds of us were evacuated from our homes to the center of our military base during a massive wildfire. After an evening spent playing hopscotch and basketball, most of us kids just hunkered down in the grass with jackets or crawled inside our parents’ cars. The evacuation was finally lifted in the middle of the night, closer to early morning. It was exhausting.
- The Church from Hell: I was once invited to a church lock-in by my sixth-grade friend who attended services there, but she bailed right after my dad dropped me off. Left without her and not knowing a soul, I agreed to play along with the group’s hide-n-seek game. I can’t blame them for not coming to find me, especially since they didn’t even know who I was (or that I was missing). The church group leader finally let me into the locked church after much door-banging (It was winter, by the way, in Upper Michigan. It always seems to be winter in Upper Michigan). As I later cozied into my sleeping bag and watched The Parent Trap with the rest of the group, the kid next to me started horking up Doritos all over the place. Oh, screw this shit. I’m out! I called my father around 2 o’clock in the morning and went home. WORST SLEEPOVER EVER.
- In my Best Friend’s Bed With Three Other People: In high school I woke up to find a huge, rude cop had busted into her bedroom looking for another friend of ours who’d run away from home that night (but told her mother where she’d be, like a horrible runaway, but lied about that, like a good runaway). There were cops all over her house. Her sister had just come home from the hospital the day before and was recovering from massive sinus surgery. She kept staggering around in the hallway doped up on pain medicine and begging everyone, “Please don’t touch my face! Please don’t touch my face!”. After it was determined that the girl they were looking for wasn’t with us – and that the sister was, in fact, NOT a victim of child abuse, or drunk – we were left in peace. BEST SLEEPOVER EVER.
- A Backyard: It was after a party during which I imbibed a bit too much, I guess.
- Under a Coffee Table in A Strange Man’s House: My friend knew him well, but I’m pretty sure he was a gang member. Anyway, see above. Note to the Internet – it was on this night that I was deemed by said gang member “one of the coolest white girls on the planet”. Psssh…yeah.
- In a Hurricane Evacuation Room: Hurricane Floyd was battering the east coast and my hotel served as an evacuation center. I was the front office manager but the auditor and I agreed to share a room so the hotel would be very minimally staffed. I fell asleep early; he went out and got drunk. When he returned hours later, he professed his undying love to me for an hour while I pretended to be asleep the whole time. Have you ever tried not to cringe while fake-sleeping? It’s difficult.
- At Work While Typing a Memo: Sometimes I am able to fall asleep – or, perhaps, my mind just falls asleep? – while the rest of me keeps going. I woke up at my desk once having finished typing a memo to the board members of one of our ritzy island home communities. The content regarding some of their balcony reconstructon? “We are young. Heartache to heartache we stand. No promises, no demands. Love is a battlefield.” I like to work with music playing in the background. Pat Benatar’s lyrics must have seeped into my subconscious while I was snooze-working.