It was a strange sort of normal seeming transition for me to go from sleeping in a tent every night for four months to go back to sleeping in a bed. The first night it was okay; I slept like a little rock and woke up on my back, and surprisingly every inch of the aforementioned posterior was touching a section of bed. But after that, the wonderfulness of the bed wore off and I started to sleep horribly. The bed was too squishy. I could feel all the squishy parts of it all over me all night.
It didn’t help that there was a cat walking all over me…
Wait a second.
There were cats at the farm, too.
The thing was, I was at a farm. Now, when you think “farm”, you probably don’t think “living in a tent.” And if you do, then you’re really awesome. If you don’t, that does not make you not awesome, it just makes you a normal person who goes about life assuming that the other parts of the world that you do not see are a certain way, which is NOT TRUE GUYS. But since you assume that anyway, you probably think that “farm” means “cows and roosters.” Which, incidentally, were also a part of my stay. I don’t know if you would assume I would be sleeping in a house. I mean, there was a house there, but it was not for me to sleep in.
I slept in the house once, because I was sick and the family who owned the house and the farm and whatnot decided that I should sleep inside in a real bed so I could get a better night’s sleep and heal faster. It worked. I was in Louisiana, but even Louisiana has cold winters, especially when your only source of heat is yourself and hopefully your blankets are insulated enough to help you keep your own heat to yourself.
|This is actually another cat from the farm, Cheddar Blossom
Even though the night was supposed to be comfy, and it was, there was a cat. The farm owned four cats, along with some strays that still ate the food, and one of them was in the house all of that night. She came into the room and happy pawed my face and then slept on my head. I don’t know why she couldn’t have just slept beside me or on another part of my body, but she was this particularly strange calico named Two-face who was kind of whiny and had lots of fleas and gained weight around her stomach only, so we kept wondering if she was pregnant, but then she wasn’t, because her stomach size fluctuated by the week and she never… well, anyway, that is pretty irrelevant.
In the really early days they put me up in the bunkhouse over the colonial-style kitchen. That was cold, too, but the cats would usually sleep with me, so I wasn’t too bad. Everyone was jealous that the cats seemed to like me best. They said it was because I have a calm nature. I didn’t know I had a calm nature; I feel pretty… I don’t know, over-active in my head, and I very often have trouble sitting still. But, I guess, I do not really get strung out or stressed… definitely not as much as some people. So I suppose that is what they meant. How nice of them.
After three weeks, I determined to move out to a tent.
Actually, I determined after the first week, but it took me two more weeks to actually get around to it.
I waited till this girl named Marlee left. I then took her tent and the book she was reading and her muck boots. She was aware that this was my plan, so I exaggerated it to say I was taking her identity and soul too, so she would know that I really wasn’t eagerly counting the days till she left. Fortunately, she wasn’t one of those serious, sensitive girls who can’t take a joke; Marlee was a really cool girl. Her hair was a little longer than mine and nearly as curly, so I kept observing her hairstyles so I could follow suit once my hair grew to that length.
Marlee walked with quite the swagger, and for about a week of wearing her boots, I felt compelled to walk the same way. But then I got my own swagger when I started having this Christmas song in my head that I can’t remember the name of which compelled me to do a kick-march sort of dance through the rows of kale and feel like I should apologize for singing Christmas songs. I did for a bit, but then I decided that this was a favor that nobody in the world deserved, especially if they thought they did. I have a right to sing any song I want to at any time, right? Right.
Marlee’s tent actually belonged to the farm. It was a happy yellow Junior Scout tent that I had to sleep diagonally in. The first night I slept in it, it was a low of 20 degrees, and I think I woke up every time the temperature dropped, feeling my bones shrink and maybe crack a little. It didn’t help that the evening prior, I had drank a beer and eaten some beans that had not been soaked long enough, so I was extremely gassy. Imagine how it feels to have gas freezing inside of you.
My last night in my tent, I discovered that a sleeping bag is much more warm and insulating than three blankets, and I wanted to hit myself over the head for waiting four months to realize that.
I felt so accomplished after my extremely cold night in my tent. I could do ANYTHING. And I still can, but at that point, I really could.
Upon my return home, I kept waking up thinking that I must be at the farm, and finding – lo and behold! – I am not.
And, most of all, I kind of want to go back to sleeping on the floor, or pitch a tent in the back yard. Apparently my mom is all for the latter.