Creature Comforts

So I was at summer camp for grownups this past week. Lots of writing, lots of drinking, very little sleeping. Going into the experience, I knew I’d be staying in the Kenyon College dorms (I had chosen tier 2 out of the three tiers, thinking the copper-roofed “cottages” looked charming and airy from the outside). I should’ve realized the lack of interior photos was a bad sign.

I do not recall my bed in college (provided by Emerson’s dormitory authorities or whatever) being coated in rubbery plastic. I’m pretty sure my son’s mattress is less protected. Like, a toddler’s mattress (prone to lots of pee) is less shellacked than the mattress I slept on last week. Considering what types of fluids the dorm people are worried about in college students is really, really gross.

The included pillow was also coated in slippery fake nastiness. The “bedding” was probably worse than typical hospital stuff. Flimsy, transparent sheet made of who-knows-what (definitely wasn’t up to my 500 thread count Egyptian organic cotton standards), and one little throw blanket made of cotton (at least it was cotton).

I wear earplugs for several reasons. To block out sleep-disturbing sounds, to make my head feel all pleasantly wooly, to make my husband’s snores less obtrusive, to cut myself off from mother ears. I wore them at grownup summer camp largely to muffle the sounds of my body turning from one side to the other. The plastic/rubber/whatever made every toss and turn deafening. Oh, and sleeping with the provided pillow between my legs (as is my wont) was not cool. Synthetic material in between one’s legs = hotasfuck.

Then there was the whole privacy factor. I was in a suite with two other people, and woke up earlier than both of them, and probably drove them crazy with my microwaving of tea water (the walls were paper thin). I’d bring my tea into my little cell, crunch myself uncomfortably on top of the bed (the head of which wasn’t against the wall), and drink my tea, eyes swollen due to heat/discomfort/lack of sleep/alcohol consumption, and start my day sweating after the 2nd or third sip. Then I’d furtively make some oatmeal in a mug, eat a few gloppy bites, and head out for a run.

I’d return from the run (sweating), shower (I forgot rubber flip flops so I’d step out of the shower onto my running clothes, and skate across the floor until I reached my room), and immediately start sweating again. There was so much sweating. I didn’t feel clean ever.

And of course there was the food. Emerson was unique in that it (at the time) was rumored to possess one of the top 10 (or some equally impressive number) dining halls in the country. It wasn’t bad. But this dining hall was. Flavorless, gloppy, nondescript. I pretty much subsisted on a strict diet of chick peas and olives. And peanut butter sandwiches.

It’s really jarring to not have total control of one’s food, especially if one might be described as not so low-maintenance.

I seriously missed eating on my couch, having my way with perfectly soft-boiled eggs and buttered toast balanced on a plate perched on my lap, jeans unbuttoned, my feet stretched out onto the coffee table, going to town on all the yolk-y deliciousness while I peruse the New York Magazine crossword puzzle. Ah, the simple pleasures.

So yeah, I got home on Saturday and pretty much had sex with my bed. Like embraced it with true love and devotion. Waking up on Sunday morning, I stroked my cool, smooth, thick cotton sheets with gratitude, and rubbed my face on the washed linen duvet with sheer respect for all things comfortable.

And you better believe my first cup of PG Tips, on my couch, feet up, was fucking pheneomenal.

dorm room


Sara Petersen

I am a bookworm, a lover of all things beautiful and curious and fun, and a total perfectionist when it comes to writing clear, relatable, REAL prose. I am obsessive about searching the depths of the Internet for the most perfect of all French butter crocks. I am ever-intrigued about how life, love, and relationship continue to shift and morph in my thirties

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