Up the wooden hill

I bought a bed recently. That wasn’t as simple as it sounds.
Firstly, you have to try them out in the shop. I mean, you can’t just take a risk on a new bed. You could be signing up to years of backache and misery. You try trousers on before you buy a new pair, and they’ll only be with you for a few years, depending on how much of a fashion victim you are. But a bed. You are talking, maybe, ten years. So you try it out.
I went to the shop and saw a bed I liked. They have little plastic mats to protect the mattresses from dirt, so I didn’t have to take my shoes off. I climbed onto the bed and lay there, on my back. I couldn’t get comfortable. I turned onto my right side. Uncomfortable. I turned onto my left side. Uncomfortable. I lay on my front. A salesman came and asked me what I was doing. I turned back onto my back. Still not comfortable.
Then it occurred to me. I rarely go to bed wearing jeans, a thick pullover, an anorak and stout footwear.
“Is there anywhere to change?” I asked the salesman. He looked horrified. I made a hasty exit.
I returned the following day. I was still wearing the jeans, anorak and stout footwear, but underneath I was wearing lycra cycling shorts and a running vest. While the salesman was distracted, I shook off my coat, slipped off my shoes (previously unlaced in readiness), slipped off the jeans and lay down on the bed. This was more like it. I closed my eyes.
The noise of the crowd woke me. They were laughing. I tried to remember what I’d been dreaming about. I glanced down at my cycling shorts. No clues there, thankfully. I saw the salesman approaching, gathered up my clothes and made a hasty exit.
I liked the bed, but I needed to try it out properly. I returned the following day with my wife. We’d tried to follow a middle course, wearing casual, relaxed clothing, but with a hint of outdoors. We waited until the sales team were at the other end of the shop, then we both lay on the bed. This was true comfort. My wife turned to me to confirm my choice, causing me involuntarily to roll towards her. That wasn’t planned. The salesman approached.
“Can I help you, sir? Madam?”
I removed my Simon Cowell mask, the only disguise I had been able to find when leaving the house that morning, the lone reminder of a stag weekend the previous month.
“We’d like this one, please.”
The bed cost £2,000.
I lie awake at night, thinking about it.


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