I woke up this morning, quite literally, on the wrong side of the bed. I was tardy in retiring last night, and the boy had not only invaded my normal side of our king-size pillowtop, but had used most of the pillows and blankets in the construction of what appeared to be a fortress of solitude. Nevertheless, I crawled in, helped myself to covers and pillows and bedded down.
The issue of mattress-related real estate is an ongoing controversy here at Casa Thompson.
On our wedding night, I chose the right side of the bed, mostly because I got there first. Also, I have no fear of sleeping close to the door, and have volunteered to do so whilst traveling with friends and family, in order to accommodate those who might harbor that particular fear. In our honeymoon suite, the right side of the bed was closer to the door.
When we returned to our apartment, I again chose the right side of the bed.
On our honeymoon, the right side of the bed.
Old house? Right side of the bed. (However, in setting up the room, the right side ended up away from the door. Not that I minded.)
New house? Right side of the bed.
When we sleep together, in the same bed, my side is the right side of the bed.
It has been thus since the priest blessed us and we walked up the aisle that gorgeous, windy May day in 1999. Apparently, nobody bothered to inform the boy that the side-choosing codicil was written (in very fine print, but not so fine as to be termed unconscionable) on our marriage license.
He has often requested, implored, and otherwise harangued me in the nine years of our marriage: Can we switch sides please? The answer, of course, is no! The right side of the bed is mine.
This issue has wormed its way into our conversations with other married folks, young and old, and if ever we come across a couple to whom the question has not been raised, we will generally ask their opinion (provided that we are on a personal enough basis to discuss marriage and its various issues with said couple). I am consistently vindicated in my territorial defense; I think we've met one, maybe two couples who have swapped sides at some point; we have never met a couple who beds down willy-nilly every night, choosing sides at the flip of a coin or simply lying where they fall. Chaos! Chaos, I say!!
Why is it so damned important? Well, I honestly can't say. Something about order and routine, and marking territory, I'm sure. In this communal marital life, we have so little individual property to cling to - everything is shared. Even our bed. After you've been married awhile, things stop taking on the persona of yours and mine. Sure, we have our individual wardrobes, though I steal his sweaters and he steals my tee-shirts. We each have an iPod (or had an iPod, in my case), we each have a computer. Our music and books are commingled, the furniture originated during our marriage, our finances are wholly indivisible at this point. Perhaps the bed issue is just another way for us to recognize that two parts make up the whole, and knowing our place in the whole jumble helps make sense of it all.
And in our current bedroom, my side of the bed is closer to the door.