When I moved in to my apartment four months ago, I came with a desk, a bookcase, and my computer. I had no bed. My roommate Scott, though, had an inflatable mattress he said I could use until I bought something more permanent. I had planned on buying a bed the next day, but as things often go, days grew into weeks and weeks into months.
The fact that I didn't go out to purchase a mattress is a testament to both my laziness and the surprising quality an air mattress can give you. I found that the ideal comfort zone was at about 80 percent full. Write that down. Never fill an air mattress to 100 percent. You'll wake up the next day feeling like an old wood floor, creaking and groaning your way to the shower. I think this is why people generally look down on air mattresses.
I pulled open the ksl classifieds, because I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on a bed I'll need to move in three months (when our contract ends.) I was looking for something really cheap. One ad in particular caught my eye:
"Cheap mattress. No tears. No stains. 10 dollars."
**Unimportant (but funny) tangent: the word "tears" (water from the eyes) and "tears" (jagged holes) are spelled exactly the same. Makes the ad kinda funny.**
I called the number and a woman answered.
"Hello...?" The tone of her greeting fell at the end, as if annoyed with me already.
"Hi, I'm calling about the mattress in the ksl classifieds."
"Is that in good condition?"
"Well, it aint got no tares or stains or nuthin..."
"Uh huh. Okay. Well I don't have a truck, so if I needed you to, would you be able to bring it to my place? I'm right here in Provo."
She pauses. I hear her cover the phone and yell at something.
"Patrick! ... PATRICKKKK! *inaudible* Damn it, Patrick! *more inaudible scuffling* He's askin if we is able to delivur the mattruss!"
As she said this, she incorrectly emphasized the "de" of "deliver," turning a normally harmless sentence into one that invoked the image of somebody pulling out a mattress's liver. I smiled at the violent comedy of it all.
After some negotiating, we came to the conclusion that I'd come over and see the mattress and that if I liked it, they'd drive it back to my place for an extra five bucks. I wrote down their address and was on my way. Before she said goodbye, though, I heard her yell, "Get on yur bike and ride around so he knows which one we is."
I made my way over to the other side of Provo, where they lived, and as I approached their address I saw this really wiry, bald dude with tattoos all over riding around on a tiny motorcycle. He'd speed up the street and then whirl around, doing wheelies and stuff, looking around at traffic as if expecting people to roll down their windows and applaud his daring maneuvers.
I parked the car and got out, passing a truck that had - I kid you not - no less than 1000 cigarette butts in the back. He led me to his place where inside his wife sat on the couch with a tv remote in one hand, and a pink, rhinestone-covered netbook in the other. She gave me a look that matched the annoyed tone I'd heard on the phone earlier.
The mattress was standing against the wall next to the TV. It was mostly blue, with a pattern of reds, whites, and greens reminiscent of really awful Christmas wrapping paper. Patrick smiled at me and patted the mattress proudly. "Aint got tears or stains or nuthin." After quick examination I concluded that the mattress was clean and in good repair, so I bought it. We took it outside to throw it in the back of his truck when I realized that HIS TRUCK was the cigarette wasteland I'd seen earlier.
I was immediately intent on fitting the mattress in my car.
"Oh, hey. You know what? I think this will fit in my car. Yeah. It'll fit."
I opened my car door and started stuffing the mattress in. I was bending and folding it in ways that I was sure would ruin it, but the idea of brushing somebody's soggy cigarette butts from my bedding kept me oblivious to any damage I may have been doing. I handed him a crisp 10 and drove home.
Thankfully, the mattress came away from the ordeal unharmed. I put it in my room and made my bed up with fresh sheets. Later that night, when I went to bed, I was delighted to find that the mattress was adequately comfortable. I laid there shifting around - testing for weak spots, hard spots, any noticeable differences, and found none. It certainly wouldn't win any awards for comfort, but it passed.
I turned off my lamp and inhaled deeply, content with my new purchase, when I noticed something strange. My room smelled like a hotel room. I couldn't figure out why or how, but the similarity was so strong that a thousand memories of childhood vacations and the hotel rooms we stayed in rushed at once into my mind. The elation of remembering, though, was only momentary and soon I was tired of the smell. I'd realized what was causing my room to smell like a hotel room. I pushed my pillow aside and buried my face against the mattress to smell it and my suspicions were confirmed - the stale, dank odor of cigarette smoke.
Damn you, ten dollar mattress....
(P.S. After Febreezing the hell out of the mattress, the smell has been significantly reduced and, according to my roommates, I don't smell like smoke when I get out of bed so it's good enough for me. :)