Bedtime stories

By Klaus Döring

Well, I remember how often I started to whine when I had to go to bed. My goodness! Still being as happy as a sand boy, I only got one thing in mind. Stay up, stay up! My eyes were already quadrangular because of terrible tiredness, but I didn’t care!

Adult life at night must be really mysterious – and we kids shouldn’t be with them any time! Tears, screaming, up to six or seven times getting up, running to the living room, where “they” are still gathering together and enjoying!

I’ve never been blessed with the ability to fall asleep fast. I had to toss and turn and read my books for an hour, at least, before I could even attempt to get some shut-eye. Nowadays, it sometimes drives me up the wall when I have an early morning or a big meeting the next day, and all I can do is lie there.

Bedtime stories as a kid always helped me shorten that empty time between when I got in bed and when I fell asleep. But as I moved into adulthood, the fairytales and fables were replaced with social media and mindless scrolling. I know, I know, this does not help my inability to sleep. It’s hard to turn it off sometimes and sit in silence instead.

Every night, yes, but the most has been the so-called “siesta,” just another interruption of games and fun. During these times, in the second half of my life, I am happy to have the chance to take a nap – especially during weekends.

While we are still young(!), we don’t need a bed. The bed is only useful to cry out our love sicknesses – and later, to share again with a loved one.

And then? The time came we shared our bed with someone – whole days and nights under the same blanket. Better not get up anymore? Everything “important” happened in the bed: love nights, endless telephone calls, full of life and weary of life books, intimate breakfasts.

Then, the bed suddenly changed. It became a simple floor mattress while getting a massage to cure terrible back pain. I also remember an extendible couch and all those stupid ceremonious constructions such as “futon” or “waterbed.”

And then? Here we are in our special health bed with a body-friendly mattress and adjustable bed construction. Hey, if only I could lie down earlier! And then? We are in our luxurious unit called bed, and we can’t fall asleep because all thoughts of the day harass and haunt us! We roll from side to side and start counting stupid sheep: 898, 899, 900, 901 – sleep, NA LANG! Or continue counting.

Sometimes I envy Leonardo da Vinci  (Italian painter, scholar, and technician, 1452-1519), who only needed 15 minutes of sleep (but every four hours!). On the other hand, German physicist Albert Einstein (1879-1955) needed to sleep 12 total hours daily, to be able – as he said – to think and probably change the world.

Yes, if we become sick and have to stay in bed, we might start hating it – no wonder! And our deathbed might become one of the great clouds in heaven.

Our attitude regarding our bed changes occasionally, but it remains what it is: a bed! A bed in every apartment, in every house, in every hotel room, or in every guest room in a home.

Everything, even the world, may change, but there will always be a bed that lures, tempts, waits, and threatens. Our bed – a flight and escape from the castle, a safe and secure place.

If I had only known this at the age of 5 or 6!


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