Monday, April 25, 2005

It Wasn't Exactly Mattress Rage

I was following a mattress in traffic the other day. Driving in conjunction with it, actually, on a four-lane highway. Not an altogether atypical sight. I've followed weirder stuff on the highways. Like giant hoses. A silo. Motorcyclists without helmets. (nothing worth protecting, I guess) But this was not a solo mattress. It was a family of mattresses out on an excursion around town. There were five of them, to be exact. Four of the five were affixed to the rooftop, and one (probably disgruntled) mattress was wedged into the hatchback. They were not traveling by van, pickup, station wagon, SUV or trailer. No. It was a compact car. Which I should've noted the model of, but there were too many mattresses in my field of vision for that. Plus of course I had to watch the Traveling Hotel Room from the mirrors whenever it maneuvered behind my van. Wouldn't want to get rear-ended by a Pride of Posturepedics! (don't know what mattresses are called when they travel in groups. Maybe a Coil of Mattresses would be more apropos.) You're probably thinking I should've been keeping my attention on my driving. Well phooey! This was better than talking on a cell phone, watching a DVD or eating Chinese food while driving. You see, that many mattresses stacked up made the vehicle look like a double quarter pounder. And when the car accelerated, its rooftop passengers became agitated, flapping like giant cloth-covered lips. (They seemed to be mouthing, "Please! Give my owner a ticket!") All that was missing, really, was a Princess with a thirst for speed, and a bag of frozen peas. You might imagine these mattresses were on their way to their final resting place (may they recline in peace) but I suspect not. They were not ratty-looking, as old as the baby boomers who own them, and in service since before the Korean War. You know, the kind your parents or grandparents finally drag out of the house when their back pain gets chiropractor-worthy. The kind you think will still be there even after the house gets torn down. The kind the owners think are supposed to last the length of their lifetimes. Those are warranty labels, not expected lifespans before being reduced to subatomic particles. Anyway, these mattresses looked in good shape. Possibly even new! But they had no plastic covering, so either the mattress owner was careless, or doesn't much mind car grime. (maybe this was like a Mattress Shuttle Service, and the passengers had to worry about their own hygiene.) So who knows the destination of these poor publicly exposed things. Maybe there were other reasons for the car to be wearing a Mattress Headdress. Perhaps it was a homemade asteroid protection feature! Imagine, it would be the only car on the highway to have a giant space rock bounce off its layer of protective mattresses and bounce conveniently into a nearby cow pasture. I'm thinking this would also be a great feature for SUVs prone to rollover. As they careen into the median the driver's head can be protected by several layers of bedding. Of course SUVs don't look as cool with four mattresses on the roof, but what could? Of course you always have to worry about a mattress flopping onto the road. That sort of thing can tie up traffic for weeks. Because people not only have to get around the obstacle, they have to STARE at it. Better yet, we could all pull over and take pictures of it with our cell phone cameras. So four bouncing into traffic all at once would definitely make the papers in what I like to call the Traffic Idiocy section. So I don't know where the mattresses live, but I'll be on the lookout for them as I drive around town. They seemed friendly, and I'll bet they have some great stories.


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