My first experience with a futon was when I was a little kid in my Aunt Joanne and Uncle Lowell’s house. I remember it as being black, with some sort of design on it in white. It was standard “twin” size and folded into three parts. Most importantly, however, it was a blast to play on. It was nice and soft and made a great landing pad, and it was also squishy enough so that it didn’t hurt if you got hit with it.
Fast forward to college, where for the first time ever, my bed could be in just about any position I wanted it to be in. This included sleeping on a mattress laid out on the floor. This turned out to be both convenient and comfy and so I was pretty stoked when I got to Japan and found myself spending my nights on a real, live futon.
It seemed only natural to continue to sleep on a futon once I got back to the States. So after two weeks of housemate horror and bunking with Linds on her Princess-and-the-Pea style bed, I bought myself I futon. It’s black, “double” size and coated with what basically amounts to Teflon. It used to be a lot softer, but nearly four months of sleeping on it has packed it down in places – specifically the me-shaped place right in the middle. It actually is rather fluffy around the edges with this crater in the middle where I sleep. Occasionally, if I’m agitated or stressed, or just looking for a good work-out, I’ll kneel next to the futon and the punch it as fast and hard as I can to try to move some of the fluffiness toward the center. When this doesn’t work, I’ll sometimes pick it up and kick and knee the center. And every so often I let (let, make, whatever) Mahria join in on the fun.
As fun as beating the crap out of my futon is, today, Mahria and I discovered a previously untapped source of futon-related fun. When I pulled off my lovely jersey cotton sheets for their bi-monthly washing, I noticed that the futon was looking pretty grundgy. Seeing as how Mahria was the only person around at the time, I enlisted her help in carrying it outside and hanging it over the deck railing. I had decided that I was going to bang out some of the dust in it – Japanese style – but I didn’t have the fly-swatter-like object to do so with. After deciding that using the kitchen spatula was NOT a good idea, exchanging a few awkward glances, and a visual cue from Mahria, I opted to give the futon a good spanking.
At first, I was tentative – how ridiculous must I look, spanking a futon? But soon I found my rhythm and Mahria and I were caught up in a spanking frenzy. First one half, then the other. Then we flipped it over to do the other side. But in our zeal, we had folded the futon more evenly over the railing, preventing us from being able to reach the bottom of the futon that was hanging on the grass side of the railing. Neither one of us wanting to actually walk into the knee-high grass, we hopped up, belly-first onto the railing and, feet-dangling, proceeded to purge the dust – taiko drummer style – or at the very least, three-year-old throwing a tantrum style. After collapsing into a fit of giggles and speculating what the neighbors would think if they saw us, we carried the futon back inside.
As I sat on the edge of my futon waiting for my sheets to dry, I thought back to that first futon in Auntie Joanne and Uncle Lowell’s house. And while I now appreciate the more practical aspects of a futon, I’m really glad that they’re still just as much fun to play with as when I was a kid.