Monday, July 19, 2010

Stories from the Road -- South Beach, FL

I've only been to Florida twice, and given my love for traveling, oceans, and thunderstorms, I find this completely embarrassing. What's worse, my two trips to Florida are most remembered for the beds I slept in. I will discuss the second trip's "bed to remember" presently.

I went with Somer to Miami in the fall of 2009, as she attended the University of Miami as an undergrad and OU was playing Miami that weekend. One view of the city at night is all you need to love this place, and it only gets better in the daytime. The palm trees are everywhere, the glorious white sand almost blinds the eyes, and the puffy cumulus clouds are a certainty by early afternoon. You can't help but catch yourself hearing the ocean, whether you're actually in sonic range or not. Even the traffic sounds like the ocean...

So, yes, I loved Miami, but I'm telling a story about a bed. Somer's college friend Chris was gracious enough to let us both stay in his apartment for the duration of our stay. It was a nice apartment -- very nice. Except for one thing, reminiscent of Martin Crane's ugly chair in the television show Frasier. The second bedroom, which basically was used as a study, had a bed that my back will remember for the rest of my days. I am convinced that this mattress is the reason there are all of these commercials promoting the absorbent impacts of a jumping child or a brick. That is, this mattress is the antithesis of the advertised no-impact bedding.

Because of the setup of the room (no carpet, little floor space), Somer and I were forced to sleep on this mattress-on-a-shingle. Any movement -- anything -- from tossing and turning to using the television remote control resulted in a shock wave on this thing. After several doses of Dramamine, the inevitable drowsiness was just enough to overcome the high surf on this non-waterbed. Several games of Sudoku were played, and the scribbling numbers made the game nearly impossible to complete after a few tiles were filled.

By the final night in town, I was a sleepless wreck. After enjoying a beautiful day in pristine South Beach, the repetitive sounds of ocean waves crashing to shore were too much for me to fight. This resulted in one of those rare instances where the position I fell asleep in was the position I remained in for the entire night. The crater that formed on the bed was a sight to behold -- my body's vengeful retaliation for the previous nights' insomnia. Never had I scorned the thought of a waterbed so much.

As much as I loathe that bed, the stay in south Florida was fantastic, despite the oppressive humidity. As I went outside for the final time in Miami, I could hear the imaginary ocean again. Roaring cars, the breeze in the palm trees -- replaced, by the smell and desire of the sea. It constantly calls you to the beach, and when you're away, it relentlessly beckons you to return. I would in an instant, even if I had to sleep on that damn thing again.