My Sleep Rider: Contractual Requirements for Sleeping at a Friend’s House After Age 35
The undersigned Light Sleeper (“Light Sleeper”) and Friend Hosting a Light Sleeper (“Host”) hereby agree to the following measures to provide an adequate sleeping environment for Light Sleeper’s fragile 35-year-old constitution:
Designated Sleeping Space: The Light Sleeper must slumber solo in a room with a door that closes and locks twice. This eliminates the Host’s living room sofa, dining room floor, or any bedrooms occupied by multiple guests on air mattresses. The Light Sleeper can potentially make a nursery work if The Host’s baby stays in a hotel.
Nutritional Considerations: To prevent The Light Sleeper’s acid reflux from acting up all night, a light meal shall be served 4-5 hours before bedtime so that The Light Sleeper can properly digest. Hence, The Host agrees not to choose this weekend to attempt any experimental curry recipes.
Noise Levels: Once The Light Sleeper enters the Designated Sleeping Space, silence must reign for the following ten (10) hours. The Host commits to ameliorating any excess noise, including, but not limited to: household snoring, street noise from the nearby fire station, pet snuffles, and whatever that creaking pipe and/or Victorian ghost situation was last time.
Equipment Required: In order for The Light Sleeper’s brain to efficiently perform its nightly job of cleaning metabolic waste, The Host shall provide:
- A weighted blanket to tamp down The Light Sleeper’s anxiety over the prospect of defecating in an unfamiliar bathroom.
- A blackout sleep mask that is effective enough to transport a hostage.
- No fewer than twelve (12) ergonomic pillows to ensure The Light Sleeper’s limbs do not go tingly from contorting into anatomically dangerous positions in search of comfort on The Host’s Soviet-era mattress.
- A constant stream of the sound a baby joey hears when it’s in its mother’s pouch, piped over the bedroom’s Bang and Olufsen surround sound speakers, at precisely 57 decibels.
- In the event that baby joey noises are not available, an acceptable substitute is noise canceling earplugs of the type used by soldiers at US Army artillery test ranges. This ensures that The Light Sleeper will not be disturbed by the slamming car door of The Host’s neighbor who works nights.
- Enough Tylenol PM to halt the respiration of a mid-size dog.
Temperature: The Light Sleeper’s body is prone to bouts of hellacious sweating, which was exacerbated during last year’s visit by The Host’s “system” of ceiling fans and open windows (see above, “Noise Levels”). The Host hereby provides assurances they have since installed a climate control system capable of regulating temperature and humidity precisely enough to store the Mona Lisa.
Reading Material: To drift off, The Light Sleeper enjoys a few pages of a soothing, familiar book. For this purpose, The Host commits to replacing the guest bedroom’s collection of World War I histories with the entire 132-book library of The Babysitter’s Club.
Blue Light Ban: The Light Sleeper’s circadian rhythms cannot tolerate the blue light caused by screens once the sun has gone down. The Host commits to taping over any digital clocks, smoke detector battery lights, and thermostat displays in the Designated Sleeping Space. The Host further commits to refraining from using their own phone after 8 pm, even under the blanket in The Host’s own room, and releases The Light Sleeper from all night-terror-related liability if this clause is breached.
Animals: The Host shall ensure their French Bulldog Beverly also understands the terms of this agreement and signs her pawprint below. If The Host is unsure whether Beverly can be counted on to remain absolutely silent, The Light Sleeper shall provide a helpful list of local rescues where The Host might swap Beverly out for a quieter replacement, as well as a Youtube tutorial on training dogs to tiptoe.
Force Majeure: In the event that an act of nature or God prevents The Host from providing the aforestated requirements, and/or The Host wishes to stay up late drinking booze and talking about the “good old days” when The Host and The Light Sleeper could function at work on three hours rest and a breakfast sandwich, The Light Sleeper shall not be sleeping at The Host’s establishment, and this contract is null and void.
Tom Ellison lives in the Washington, DC area where he writes humor, arguably. His work has appeared in Weekly Humorist, McSweeney’s, and Slackjaw.