Published in THE OTTUMWA POST Sept. 4, 2013
CLICK HERE TO READ THE OTTUMWA POST
CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE COLUMNS
By JAMES GROB
Ottumwa Post Columnist
It was my wife's birthday this past weekend and so I sprung for one of those new-fangled "Chillows." You may have seen them on television, they are cooling pads that fit inside of a pillow to keep the pillow cool.
My wife likes a cool pillow to sleep on, as do most people, and the high heat which fried the entire Midwest for much of the month of August this year contributed to a sense of drastic appreciation for pillow coolness, even in an air-conditioned apartment.
You can only turn a regular pillow over to the cooler side so many times before the cooler side wears off. Toss this fact in with all the other things in the world that conspire to limit sleep, and you have all the ingredients of a long, slumber-free night.
For instance, on the hottest, most sweaty nights, there always seems to be a mosquito somewhere. You can't see it. You can only hear it, and it always sounds like it is a centimeter away from your eardrum. Most likely it is on the wall clear over on the other side of the room, but mosquitoes have the ability to project the whiney, buzzy sound that they make several feet. It is how they entertain themselves. They sit on the wall on the other side of the room and somehow shoot that whiney buzzy sound into your ear. Then they chuckle that superior mosquito chuckle as you squirm and swat your hands at your own ear in an attempt to kill the buzzy bug that isn't there.
There is also the matter of a weak bladder to limit your sleeping time. Just when you think you are about to start sawing some sweet slumber-wood, your bladder tells you otherwise. You have to get up and walk in the dark, injuring yourself several times, as you feel your way to the bathroom. You don't want to turn the lights on, because you are trying to be considerate and not awaken others in the house, plus you have the feeling that if lights shine into your eyes, you will suddenly jump from your state of near-sleep to a state of high alert, and then you'll never be able to get to sleep again, ever. As if stubbing your toe on the leg of the bed and crushing your kneecap against the coffee table on the way to the bathroom somehow won't make you more wide awake. And as if your screams of pain won't awaken your co-habitants.
Once you've actually limped into the bathroom, for some reason you don't turn that light on, either. You're confident you know exactly where the toilet bowl is, and you're pretty sure whoever used it last left the lid up. You're not positive until your hear the splash of water, but when you do, you realize you hit a bulls-eye in the dark and you're awful proud of yourself. Don't worry, it won't be until morning that you realize you were standing in front of the dog's water dish. Dogs are usually very forgiving creatures. Just be thankful you don't have a cat. Cats hold a grudge.
So when you finally get back to bed, you stare at the ceiling for about 52 hours, perspiring the whole time and occasionally rubbing your busted knee and stubbed toe, and you consider all the ways your life went wrong. You could have been somebody, but you're just a loser. You carefully examine all the mistakes you've made, and get mad at yourself.
Then you think back and get mad at that big ugly kid who picked on you in eighth grade, even though you can't recall his name, he used to bully you something fierce and some day you're going to go back to your home town and run into him by chance, and when you do, you'll hit him over the head with something hard. Then you feel a little bit guilty for having such violent thoughts toward another human being who probably can't remember your name either, so you wonder if maybe you need to see some kind of therapist, and if you do, what kinds of drugs will he or she prescribe. You hope they're good ones, that make you feel good but aren't too habit-forming. Maybe ones that help you sleep.
So you can see the need for a "Chillow" to assist you in your sleep. So I got one for my wife for her birthday. And she thanked me and laughed that "oh my God he is such a dork" laugh.
When we opened the "Chillow" box, we realized that there is some assembly required. You have to fill the Chillow with water, then somehow force all of the air out of it without letting the water leak out, then roll it up and unroll it to activate the chemicals in there that make it cool, then stick it inside your real pillow. It seemed like a lot of work, so we haven't actually completed all the steps yet. So neither my wife or I can tell you how well a Chillow works or whether or not it is a good investment.
I hope it works out eventually. I'll buy Chillows for everyone. They're a lot cheaper than a therapist.