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Complete and total peace and relaxation 0

Dear Bradshaw,

As I live in the center of Rome, sleeping through the night is easier said than done. If it’s not a car alarm or a honking horn, it’s trash collectors emptying dumpsters, police and ambulance sirens, or teenage numbskulls hanging out on the street downstairs while shouting and laughing and loitering because they have nothing better to do at three o’clock in the morning.

After complaining for the umpteenth time about what I call “Roman music” (i.e. noise pollution), Francesca bought me some earplugs, suggested I sleep with them, and now that I have there’s no turning back.

Though the earplugs are heaven sent, they’re not the only novelty to have enhanced my sleep in recent years. After eons of waking up with a sore jaw, I discovered that I was grinding my teeth and bought a night guard. It too has improved my sleep but not as much as the air-conditioner Francesca and I bought three years ago. Winters can be cold in Rome, and summers hot and humid, so we bought an air-conditioning system and that has catapulted my sleep/wake cycle into a new stratum of comfort and consistency.

Sleeping with these modern conveniences makes me wonder how I ever survived without them, and also about the innovations in sleep technology that masterminds of future society are currently devising. Blankets charged with electric currents that stimulate dreams and neutralize nightmares? Pajamas that heal wounds and massage the kinks out of your arm and leg muscles? A gas mask that converts toxic air into breathable oxygen?

I consider myself a minimalist, Shaw, and though I cherish simplicity I have to admit there are certain luxuries I’m not willing to renounce and, in fact, that I hail as sleeping phenomena. The first person to sleep on a pillow was brilliant. Whoever invented the mattress was a genius. I imagine myself twenty years from now: ears plugged, teeth protected, a sleep mask shielding my eyes from the morning light while I float in the middle of the bedroom on an energy beam that not only cuts external distractions down to a minimum but also rejuvenates the life force as I sleep in complete and total peace and relaxation.

Just when you think you’ve settled into your permanent ways (this brand of socks, that type of underwear, juice for breakfast and an apple for lunch) suddenly a fresh, new idea comes along to revolutionize your life. Oh well, whatever, right? I guess you already know about that.

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