When I look back on the inaugural month of my cross-country move, there is a moment of clarity that sticks out in my mind as a keenly accurate description of my journey to furnish my apartment. My SMART grandmother with her SMART phone (she coined that phrase herself) texted me and asked, “R U feeling at home yet?”
…For someone who frequently whines about the decay of my generation, she is certainly current on the hip, teen lingo all the cool kids are using, as seen per her abbrevs.
Anyway, I replied: “Seeing that Carolyn and I are now sitting on a couch, watching West Wing on an actual TV, which is a major upgrade from watching it on a laptop, reclining on a pallet… Yes, I’d say I’m feeling a little more at home these days…”
(And not that a pallet isn't cozy, but really: doesn't “pallet” bring to mind that thing your parents made for you to sleep on, in their room when you were sick? Which, yes, then begets the memory of being that kind of sick, (not the kind where you got to be queen for a day and watch 15 movies in a row - and by “15 movies in a row,” I mean “Steve Green’s Hide ‘Em In Your Heart on repeat.”) No, I mean the kind of sick where you were probably throwing up and your only consolation was that you got to drink Sprite cause the carbonation would settle your stomach, but your level of neediness was so high that you got to sleep in the Royal Bedchamber, even if it was on the floor… on a PALLET.)
So before we had beds – before we had ANYTHING, really, Carolyn slept on a pallet and I slept on an air mattress. I was fortunate enough to pack the air mattress, somewhere between my crayon-filled Covenant garage sale drawer set and season one of West Wing, while Carolyn made a pallet out of a duvet and a queen-sized mattress pad, in her room. Seeing that we had no other furniture like oh, say – a couch? (no but really – NONE) we would camp out on the pallet with Dominoes every night and watch the evolution of the Bartlet Administration on my laptop, Max.
(And for those of you who are astute enough to question why we would watch on my laptop, seeing that any and every technological belonging of mine is always a step below (Yes, Max – named for the computer software in the Catherine Coulter FBI novels – is the beloved IBM laptop of mine that has the apple sticker on the front to entertain/confuse people with its irony.) Carolyn had just become the owner of one of those...
How we came by the couches, entertainment center, TV and even the DVD player are a different story for a different day. (No but seriously: Bruce Willis is involved in the DVD player story, no joke.) Today I will regale you with the tale of how one goes about finding a bed, sans husband. And for the record: I tried briefly to guilt Big Daddy into paying for a mattress, by threatening to sleep on the air mattress until I could ask for a bed for Christmas - fortunately this threat was short-lived...
So on our second or third day in the apartment, Carolyn and I headed to McDonald’s for breakfast (we had no fridge, ergo no breakfast) and we decided to just drive until we saw a mattress store.
The Sit ‘n Sleep on Ventura Blvd turned out to be the lucky winner and as soon as we walked in, we were met by a well-dressed saleslady and a “Hi, Ladies. How can I help you today?”
Glancing at her nametag, I replied, “Hi, Jessica. I’m Grace and this is Carolyn. And ‘how are we, today?’ We are very poor today. What’s the cheapest twin mattress you have?”
(I have since become aware that a single bed is the universal symbol for “SHE’S SLEEPING ALONE, TONIGHT!” and let me be clear: I have no problem with this label. However, I am more concerned with the notion that my bed choice more heavily promotes the image of a tightly wound nun, as opposed to the reality of a starving artist who spends all her money on
And now that I think about it, I guess it also promotes the image I’m becoming more and more associated with: the orphan.
(Orphan Grace pathetically turns her head to the side and mutters to Jessica, “Oh I grew up sleeping on an infant-sized mattress, stuffed with straw… I don’t need much…”)
Because above all nuns and orphans is my personal policy: MAMA’S NOT GONNA PAY FOR ANYTHING MORE THAN A TWIN BED.
(Oh and not to mention: you can buy a kid-sized dust ruffle, if you have a twin bed…)
So Jessica pulls out a measly, fit-for-an-orphan mattress: 199$ for mattress and frame. I DON’T THINK SO.
But then Jessica said the magic words: clearance section.
She took us upstairs to a magical land of discount mattresses and long story short, I wound up face to face with a 500$ memory foam mattress that my girl Jess was willing to give me for $150. (Ok, YES, if you must know: it was “used,” – CALM DOWN; I’M GOING TO EXPLAIN IT, JUST HOLD ON – it means that it was used for under a month and was professionally cleaned. But more than anything, you and I both know it was a BARGAIN.)
It sounded too good to be true. I turned to Carolyn, who’d wasted no time in stretching out on a nearby mattress, “Should I do it?”
She replied, “Are you really asking me that?”
When Jess had us signing papers downstairs, I asked the question I love to ask EVERYONE in LA: “SO WHAT CELEBRITIES HAVE YOU SOLD MATTRESSES TO?” (Ok my favorite question is about celebrity sightings, not mattress selection, obviously)
…….Her answer was Kelsey Grammer.
Something tells me that ole Frasier wasn't in the market for a discount mattress, but he’s also not husband-less and poor, like some of us.
YOU WIN THIS ONE, KELSEY – ENJOY THE FULL PRICE THAT YOU PROBABLY PAID FOR YOUR MEMORY FOAM MATTRESS; SOME OF US WILL BE SLEEPING ON THE SWEET FIBERS OF A BARGAIN TONIGHT.