Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Uninvited Guest

It was a full day yesterday and as I trudged home from the lab at around 10:30 I was thinking of getting home and calling it a night. An early start in the morning and then just being out and about on campus put me in the sleepy mood, and a thought occurred to me as a got within about 100 yards of the house: I didn't make my bed.

I almost always make my bed. No, let me put it this way, I don't recall the last time that I didn't make my bed before slipping under the mosquito net and going to sleep. Sometimes I do it after I get ready in the morning, other times it is in the late afternoon, but it gets done. Yesterday was the exception to that standard however. I forgot to do it and didn't use my time wisely to make sure the chore was complete. It was just something that didn't happen.

So my thought as I approached the house was of this nature: "Why should I do it? I can just crawl into bed and not make it, and who will know?" Rationalizing like that is probably the sign of something not right, but it did seem like a good argument at the time. By making the bed I have to move the mosquito net out of the way, take the one bed sheet and smooth it out properly, and then put the pillows on just so to make it look nice. Simple, but it is a minute of effort. I could just toss that ritual aside and go to sleep.

I don't know when I changed my mind, but by the time I got my gym shorts on and was ready for bed, I couldn't do it. I had to make the bed. I took the mosquito net and pulled both ends tight and swung them over the lines that tie the net to ceiling. I took the pillows off and rested them on the night stand (an old student's desk from years and years past) then I straightened out the bed sheet, all in the darkness of the bedroom.

It should be noted that I adopted a rule for nighttime activity in the house; use lights so you can see things clearly. Earlier yesterday I turned on the light to the pantry and took great exception to the cockroach crawling around my forks and spoons. Without the light on, dark places can hold a few surprises.

Last evening was an exception.

I straightened the bed sheet out nicely and was about to put the pillows back when one wrinkle just barely caught my eye on the bed. I tugged at the edges of the bed sheet and it wasn't going away. Did I leave a pair of gym shorts under the sheet? It seemed like the edge of a drawstring for a pair that I brought over, so I reached under the sheet, in the dark, and grabbed the end of the drawstring to remove it... but drawstrings usually don't have scales and feel incredibly limp.

In science class, we were taught that the decisions made by the brain are centered in certain areas. But those actions which aren't so much decisions but flat-out urgent reactions are controlled by a more ancient part of our nervous system in the brain stem. That was most likely the region in action last night as I, in a fit of spastic haste, let go of whatever it was that I had grabbed. I heard the faintest of thuds on the bed as it landed, and then I moved quickly to find my headlamp to see what was in my grasp.

Sadly, a skink had made its final resting place in my bed (it looked like this one). Under the covers during the day an exhausted lizard felt the need to stop this mortal journey and find ever-lasting peace about ten inches from my pillow, just under the cover of my bed sheet. I got it out of the bed and took her (or him) to an even better resting place just outside my back door on the grass. It did not smell nice to put it mildly.

So there is a moral to the story. If you don't want to make your bed, you better think twice. You might unknowingly be sleeping with a dead, or worse, live lizard in your bed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good one, David! Yikes!