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Posted by Rob Sherwood   •   Friday, 2011-February-18 • 15:00
A pillow changed my life. Recently. Last fall I was visiting and the pillow on the guest bed was acting strange. (I suppose that should be strangely) When my head first rested upon this eerie-pillow it felt rock hard. I take that back. It didn't feel quite as hard as a rock. Let's say it felt like a 25 pound burlap bag of clay. For someone who bought a couple of feather pillows in 1975 and still used them even though the feathers had disintegrated to dust, this pillow wouldn't do. Add to my bed-time experience a set of flannel sheets and I was prepared for a miserable night. Then...like my hair-girl at the Aveda Salon...it felt like a pair of warm hands grabbed my temples and the pillow and I became one. It would be easy to say my head sank into the bag of clay but it was more than that. My head was absorbed by the pillow and all the thoughts and cares of the day drained away. When I rolled to the side, my right arm under, my head over, the pillow conformed in a magical way and for those moments before sleep I became that pillow.

Getting into the bed at the hotel in Chicago I was prepared to miss my pillow. I say MY because I stole it from my host. I told them about my pillow epiphany the next morning and also informed them I was absconding with it. They approved. Just after Thanksgiving I saw a clone at Kohl's and $38 dollars later had two magical pillows. I returned the original when I visited at Christmas. I also noticed that all the pillows in the guest bedroom were now bolted to the mattress. It was like sleeping in a Motel-5.

I needed to sleep in a hotel because the arrival of the train from Minneapolis didn't match the departure of the train from Chicago. It was way to cold to enjoy my evening in the Windy City. There was no wind, ironically, but I could see my breath and when I can see my breath and haven't been eating garlic, it is too cold. It didn't matter. I had a Kindle full of books as well as a couple borrowed from the Duluth Public Library. I'm never bored if there is something to read. Getting back to my pillow. I do not travel with my own pillow. Or my own linen. All the bed-bug talk has made me think about it but so far Jackie Onassis/Wallace Simpson I am not. I had dozed on the train but not much. There must have been a convention of some sort in Chicago because the train was loaded with Amish families heading to Chicago. Sitting in the car with 12-14 Amish made me uneasy. I kept wondering if they had special dispensation to ride the train. I kept thinking about the convention they were going to..."When did thee get in?" Lets just say it wasn't my best train trip. That would be when I rode the Orient Express and spent the night having wild sex with Agatha Christie. Or Peter Ustinov. I can never tell the difference.

I reached for the light switch just as a cockroach found himself in plain sight on my night stand. For $96 a night plus tax I didn't look forward to spending the night with a stranger. Also, if there is a cockroach, you know there are probably bed bugs. Unless cockroaches eat bedbugs. Sort of like snakes in a corn field eat the mice. Since I had no desire to sleep with a roach, bug, snake, or mouse and both Agatha & Peter are no longer among us, I called the front desk and complained. Their solution was an offer of a different room. It seemed to me it would be much easier to move the roach to a different room so I demurred.

I didn't get a bug discount and the Amish in the room above me partied until 4am, but I was engrossed in the latest John Grisham so I didn't give a whit.

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