Big giant head

In Other News

It's a slow other news day today. Nothing interesting to report.


Tuesday -- July 20, 1999
In The Zone

Can we talk for a moment about personal space?

Studies have shown that people require a "zone" of personal space around them and feel uncomfortable if it is violated. The size of this zone is different from culture to culture, but all of us have it. Here in America it's something like three feet. Each of us carries a little three-foot-round bubble around with us, into which we'd rather others didn't stray.

I have empirical proof that a person can be conditioned so that this zone gets smaller and smaller until it's virtually nonexistent. I offer as proof the Family Bed.

I came into this relationship with a nice, healthy, large-ish zone of personal space. Especially in bed. Before Beth, girlfriends were cuddled and spooned until they fell asleep, then I quickly scooted to the opposite side of the bed. I just couldn't sleep with any part of my body in contact with another.

When Beth and I first moved in together, we slept in a full-size bed. That's one step above a single, one step below a double. Basically, that's a bed big enough for one person. One. In particular, me. Add Beth to the mix and you've got a crowded bed. The bed seemed even more crowded when I realized I'd hooked up with a Cuddler.

After drifting off into slumber, Beth would cuddle up next to me and I'd inch away. She'd cuddle up again, I'd inch some more. She'd cuddle again, I'd inch again, and before I knew it I was teetering on the precipice and she'd be cuddling in for the kill. I spent a lot of sleepless night at the outset.

I eventually trained her to keep her distance, but then she transmogrified into a Bed Hog. She wouldn't actually make contact, but she'd invade The Zone. I'd inch away, she'd inch back in, and pretty soon I'd be on the precipice again. And she'd be in the middle of the bed.

Eventually we bought a queen-size bed and I thought perhaps my sleepless nights were over. Wrong. Extra acreage just meant more inching room. I still ended up sleeping with one cheek hanging. And the Bed Hog had even more bed to herself.

Then we got a king-size bed and I was happy to learn that Beth was more of a sprinter in her inching Bed Hog ways. I learned to start out in the middle, right up next to her, then gradually inch my way over as she pursued. But thankfully she'd reach her limit before I reached the edge. She started out quick but didn't have the final kick necessary to chase me to the end, so I got to get used to sleeping with both cheeks on the bed again.

But now Zoe has started sleeping with us frequently, and Zoe has inherited her mother's ways. Zoe's a combination Cuddler/Bed Hog. She cuddles you until you can't run any further and fall asleep on the edge, then scoots back over to enjoy nearly half of the bed to herself. Beth owns half, Zoe owns half, Chuck makes do with the 10 percent right along the edge.

I used to have a healthy zone of personal space in bed, but they've beaten me down to the point where I'm happy if even part of my body isn't draped with part of someone else's.

On the plus side, I've honed my balancing skills on the mattress to a razor's edge. I now sleep on the edge, literally, with one cheek hanging off. If even a fly lands on me, that's enough to topple me over.

I've become the Flying Wallenda of the bedroom.



backward indexward onward

Copyright © 1999
Chuck Atkins