I thought the list “Things to Do Every Day” might improve my life. I found it in an article online and copied it down. First on the list: “Make the bed. If you do it first thing, you start with a win.”
This completely contradicts what I heard at a writer’s workshop. The leader said, “Make time to write. Don’t make the bed. Use that time to write. Who cares if your bed is made?”
I wanted more time to write. Yahoo. I would stop making the bed.
Yet, the idea of not making the bed bothered me. I had made the bed every day since my childhood. But Jerry didn’t seem to mind the bed in a chaotic upheaval of bedraggled blankets. Actually, the cats loved the explosion of sheets and blankets and nestled in it.
As a child, I had to make my bed before going to school (my mother’s rule). This was in the pre-fitted sheet days. I took my time folding “hospital corners,” as my mom called them. I smoothed all the wrinkles out of my bright yellow bedspread so blinding it beamed a golden glow. For the grand conclusion, I wadded my pajamas under my pillow and positioned my teddy bear (the one in the red pajamas) on my pillow.
One morning my careful bed-making process delayed my arrival at school. As I sauntered discreetly into my classroom, my third-grade teacher called out for the world to hear, “BRONWYN, WHAT TIME IS IT?” I told her 8:05 a.m. Mrs. Evans then said very boisterously, “CLASS STARTS AT 8 A.M.”
Her admonition stirred up many anxieties and later in my life I will conveniently blame her for it. After that day, I had to hurry fast to make the bed because there was no way I planned to get up earlier. I skipped breakfast, choking down toast on the way to school, just to make sure I would arrive on time.
Back at my house, a beady-eyed, hook-nosed old man with an evil grin took up residence underneath my bed. He spent the entire night pointing a gun upward toward the mattress. I never knew when he might shoot me straight through the mattress. I would lie awake all night trying not to move, thereby not provoking him to anger. This caused severe insomnia. Making my bed became even more difficult. I had to straighten the sheets and fold the corners while cautiously keeping my feet far from the bed. I knew the beady-eyed old man would grab me and suck me under the bed if I came too close.
Needless to say, my bed traumatized me. I hated going to bed where the evil man lurked and then waking to the tedious (and scary) chore of making the bed.
As an adult, my bed trauma soared to new heights when Jerry and I were married. I liked to be warm and he liked to be cold. Sometime in the night, an overheated Jerry would unleash the blankets by dumping them on me. I would wake to a smothering hot-blanket-sweat-hell.
With all my past bed horrors in mind, I decided to give making the bed a try again. My new bed making agenda didn’t prompt me to belt out, “I’m so happy! Oh, so happy!” I would only sing this if someone else made the bed.
According to a survey of 68,000 people by Hunch.com, 71% of bed makers consider themselves happy and only 62% of non-bed-makers feel a semblance of joy. Even more interesting is that only 27% claim to make their bed at all. Whoever are these 27%? I’m sure they’re dancing twirls around their beds at this moment.
I stopped making the bed when I didn’t feel any increase in my happiness. I still made the bed when we had company. That way, guests had a place to toss their coats, while simultaneously getting the impression of what a wonderfully tidy bed.
One of the reasons I love going on cruises is this: the steward makes the bed for you, and leaves a foil-wrapped chocolate on your pillow. Why not leave a double-layer chocolate cake on the pillow? That would be my preference.
As an aside, have you ever wondered how a chocolate on the pillow started? I did a Google search and discovered actor Cary Grant, apparently, started it. Carrying on an illicit affair in the 1950s, Grant planned for his “seductee” (not his wife, but some unknown woman) to arrive at his penthouse suite before him. He made a trail of chocolates from the penthouse sitting room to the bedroom to the bed (wink, wink) and then to the pillow (a seductive Hansel and Gretel trail). Because a hotel staffer had laid out the chocolates, the manager heard of the chocolate trail gesture and liked the idea. He ordained the hotel’s new amenity of a chocolate on the pillow for every guest. Hundreds of hotels adopted the chocolate-pillow policy. Apparently, cruise ships followed. No further details on the seductee, if she ate the chocolates or followed Grant’s trail. Also, no further news of Grant’s wife. Did she hit him with a frying pan when, and if, she learned of his chocolate trail?
Here’s the bottom line: I like the idea of chocolate trails (other than in Cary Grant’s room), but I’m suspicious of the increased happiness bed makers claim to have. I admit an organized room gives a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction at the start of the day.
So does brushing my teeth, making coffee, spreading peanut butter in swirls on my English muffin, and giving Jerry a good morning hug. And usually he gets a good morning song too.
Now. If you made your bed, then–please–lie in it. ♥βω