August 07, 2004

Better now

It's cold outside -- though the paint isn't peeling off of the walls of stately ideofact manor -- which is strange for early August in the Washington metro area. I wish I could say what precisely was wrong with me -- a kind of nervous exhaustion, I think, although yesterday I did about a week's worth of work in one day, which stretched long into the night. Then collapsed in front of the television around midnight, at which point I realized that I was simply unable to follow the complicated dialog of one of ESPN's sports highlight shows, then closed my eyes, and awoke at five a.m. feeling quite refreshed, the TV still on, myself nearly whole again (a few more hours of sleep in bed was all that was required for the convalescence to be completed). But I do need more rest than I've been getting, and entries may be even more erratic than usual on ideofact in the coming weeks -- or not, as the spirit moves me.

The soon-to-be six year old's bunkbed arrived today, which was the cause for much rejoicing for him and much agony for my wife, who simply cannot understand the appeal of sleeping at the altitude of nearly six feet. Perhaps it's a male thing -- I had a bunkbed when I was a kid, and hence his doesn't seem at all scary to me (I never fell out of the top bunk, after all...). I bring this up because while I was waiting for the delivery (anytime between 4 and 8 p.m.), I started rereading a novel I first read in high school, and haven't picked up since: Anthony Burgess' spy novel Tremor of Intent.


I read the first hundred pages, and would have gone on were it not for the arrival of the much anticipated bunkbeds. I was surprised to find expressed in it an attitude I've more or less internalized over the years -- perhaps it came from Burgess' spy Denis Hillier rather than myself:

To me she said: 'Are you a member of the party?'

'Oh, I'm progressive. I believe in soaking the rich. But I also believe in Original Sin.'

'Poor old Hillier,' smirked Roper. 'Still not emancipated.'

'My belief,' I said, 'has nothing to do with Father Byrne. People tend to choose the worse way rather than the better. That's something experience has taught me. I use the theological term for want of a better one.'

As, fairly often in my thoughts, do I...

Posted by Ideofact at August 7, 2004 11:59 PM

Bunkbeds are wonderful things. (Ask any college student who is trying to eak five more square feet of floor space out of a tiny dorm room...)

When I was four years old, my father decided to make a bunk-bed for my older brother and I. Even better, he let us help him--we held down lumber while he cut, we learned how to fasten boards together with nuts and bolts, etc.

My mother also had some worry about boys falling off of bunk-beds--so she insisted on having a railing that could be attached to the bed-posts.

A year or two after we were large enough to mount and dismount the railing ourselves, we decided we didn't need it. It spent the next decade or so languishing in a corner of the room, or the closet. (The only time anyone fell was when he was leaning over the side of the upper bunk, trying to smack his brother on the lower bunk with a pillow...)

I do agree--bunkbeds seem to be the kind of thing that young boys (and fathers) see as nearly harmless, and mothers see as dangerous.

Posted by: steve h at August 8, 2004 10:47 PM

There are few events from my childhood I remember quite as well as the day my bunkbeds arrived, and, if my son's joyful reaction is any guide, it'll be a day he long remembers.

I think I did fall out of the bottom bunk once or twice, but never the top bunk, which had a pretty meager guard rail (which nevertheless was sufficient). But like you, I got rid of it by the time I was seven or eight -- it's still in my parent's house, in the basement (the bunkbed is there as well, but, alas, it's set up as twin beds, perhaps because the ladder, of all things, fell apart).

Posted by: Bill at August 8, 2004 11:02 PM