I slept in the tub

22Mar07

As odd as it is for my housemate to be found sleeping in the tub, I’ve actually done the same thing, or tried to.

The summer after my third year in university, my friend Scott and I went cliff-jumping at Charleston Lake, which is something we’d been doing since high school. There were — and, assuming erosion still works at generally the same pace it used to, still are — three principal jumping rocks at Charleston Lake. The smallest was called Three Ledges, which itself had three levels suitable for beginner through intermediate daredevils. The medium one was called Baldy, and though it wasn’t the highest, it was the most perilous to climb back up after a plunge, as the route up the sheer cliff face partly required climbing a dead tree guarded by angry bees. And the tallest was called Indian Head, so called because at its peak, it was exactly the diameter of an old American nickel. (Only kidding — it looked like a native American face in profile, although you could only tell that if you were in a boat looking at it, rather than standing atop it, swimming beneath it, or falling off it.)

I’ve heard that Indian Head was 80 feet tall. Whether that’s accurate or not, it was certainly high enough to make your testicles recede into your belly when you looked over the edge, which is actually a good thing, because smacking the water at high speed can hurt. I saw a guy dive off there once, which was pretty insane, since even diving off the top of Three Ledges turned the crown of my head into a fontanelle. The best form for jumping was a pin drop with toes pointed, though the first time I ever leapt off there, I panicked a bit and entered the water with my arms held out in a Jesus Christ pose, which turned them pink and tender from wrist to armpit. This time I had it down perfectly, except that one foot entered with the toes pointed, but the other hit with a slightly flat sole. This bent one leg up with a sudden jerk so that I nearly kneed myself in the face, and I was twisted sideways. Otherwise, no harm done.

At least, I didn’t think so. The next week, I was sitting at my summer job, doubled over in agony. I still don’t know if it was the cliff jumping that did it to me. The shoddy desk and chair I was working at were so unergonomic that they must have come from Torquemada’s yard sale. It might have been one, the other, or both, but whatever the reason, my back hurt so much that I had to leave work early and go curl up in the grass at the bus stop until I could get home.

That night, I couldn’t get to sleep. I’m not sure if this was before or after the incident when Scott and my housemate (whom he was dating) were chasing each other around the house and jumped up onto my futon only to hear a sudden loud crack, then look at each other and say, “Well, we won’t tell Peter about that.” But it was certainly around the time my futon got suddenly much less comfortable. So I tried sleeping on the floor. Then I tried the living couch. Then I tried the other living room couch. Then I tried the La-Z-Boy recliner. And eventually, I tried the bathtub, first without water, and then with it.

This is how I know sleeping while floating in a tub full of water does not work. Even if you can overcome your fear of slipping under the surface, the water gets chilly very quickly. If drowning doesn’t get you, hypothermia will. I suppose that if you rigged up some sort of harness and kept the hot water running with the plug pulled out just enough to prevent overflow, it could work. But I never got as far as trying that.

What I did try, after a second sleepless night, was hiking over to the hospital to see if I could get some sort of sleep aid. When I got in to see a doctor, he asked me the cause of my sleeplessness. I said I had a sore back, but as I mentioned above, I wasn’t completely sure how I got it. “Hmm,” he said. “Have you had any stress lately?”

“Well,” I said. “I did break up with my girlfriend recently.” That was true. In fact, she’d just made a special trip back to Kingston to repossess the plants that I’d been plant-sitting for her over the summer. She just stormed in and out, like Mossad rescuing a bunch of hostages or something, but it was too late, because I’d totally overwatered them since getting dumped over the phone.

However, I soon realized that the correct answer to this question was “No.” If you’re looking for a prescription, never, ever let the doctor think you might have any kind of emotional problems. Otherwise, he’ll think you’re just going to go home and swallow your new bottle of painkillers. I tried telling him that it wasn’t that, that it was just a sore back but that if I didn’t finally get a good night’s sleep, I would kill myself, but that worked about as well as you can imagine.



3 Responses to “I slept in the tub”

  1. 1 Matt

    Overwatering her plants was admittedly a nice touch. If you’d just stopped watering them, then she could have written that off as negligence. Overwatering them takes effort.

  2. 2 MC

    Now I have Norwegian Wood(The Bird has Flown) racing through my mind.

  3. And to think my actual intention was to get the lyrics to “Jesus Christ Pose” stuck in your head.


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