What’s the sitch with a new mattress?
Mattresses, am I right? They only last so long. Then, I wake up one morning, there is a stack of old magazines on my bedside table, my back is sore, eight or nine years have passed, and I don’t have the energy I used to. Why am I tired? Is it from scrolling Apple News for 45 minutes each night before going to sleep? Or because of my substantially increased after-hours chocolate chip intake? Or because the seasons are changing? Or because I’ve neglected my gratitude journal? Maybe I’m not stretching regularly? Could my posture at work be better? Am I being mindful enough?! I don’t know… Maybe it is time to take that first step toward being a better me, toward sustainable change, away from band-aid solutions.
Four mornings later, the same sequence occurred. Bleary eyes. Dry mouth. Sore back. Old magazines. List of current bad habits that may be contributing. Brief, motivational, internal dialogue.
Twenty mornings later, still nothing had changed. I needed an answer soon, one that did not require much mental effort. As I rolled over to wake up my partner to complain about my dry mouth, I heard a soft squeak. Could that be the answer? Maybe we needed a new mattress! Ours was old, inherited from my weird college roommate who didn’t believe in soap, and it was a solution that checked all the boxes, i.e. mattresses can be purchased on Amazon.
We began our search and were quickly in awe of the modern day online mattress market; space-ship-caliber, cloud-polymer, rectangled hug-machines from companies that advertise on podcasts. I’m fucking sold. After one click and 48 hours, a modest cardboard box arrived on our doorstep. The mattress came out of the box about the size of an adult fist. We just added water, put it in the oven on broil for 5-10 minutes, and watched in amazement as it grew into our new queen-sized bed.
We pulled the still warm mattress out of the kitchen and to the doorway of our bedroom; unfortunately there was already a mattress in the middle of the room. We had forgotten about the old one, lost in a surge of purchasing-and-unboxing-based excitatory neurotransmission. Shit. Will the old one fit in the trash?
It didn’t. We realized partway through trying that, even if it did fit, we would still need to get the trashcan downstairs. Shoving the old mattress into the receptacle didn’t really solve the primary issue of the mattress being within our apartment.
When I fail in my first attempt at solving a problem, the next step is Google, specifically typing my question verbatim into the search box. “How do I get rid of my shitty old mattress?” Google presented search results excluding the word, “shitty,” but I forgave Google, as I always do and always will.
I clicked on one that promised reasonably priced mattress pickup and recycling located not far from our apartment. As soon as the page finished loading, I slammed my laptop shut in disgust. The service costs $100? And they don’t already have my credit card information on file, I have to enter it in de novo? Like some kind of teenager? And I have to call someone to schedule the pick-up time? This is absolutely ridiculous. I was shocked. There has to be a better way. I can’t remember the last time I was treated so poorly.
We needed a different solution, one that was quick and cheap, so we could start enjoying our new foam palace. We innovated all afternoon. Then we innovated some more, right on into the evening, just innovating away. We innovated circles around each other, around the old mattress, around our apartment, innovating until we ended right back where we had started innovating, though obviously at this point we were in a much more innovative space. We put the new mattress on top of the old one.
And this may be hard to conceptualize initially, but stick with it; this option, this direct stacking, meant we didn’t have to think anymore about getting rid of the old mattress. We just put the new one right on top. Yes, this is a potentially massive technology, a disruptive breakthrough in an industry only just stabilizing from the recent trend toward online sales and distribution.
As this stacked arrangement persists over time, the mattress underneath gradually loses height, old-fashioned springs give way to years and bodyweight, and once again you are laying where you started, on one mattress resting atop a boxspring. Except there will also be a pancaked-version of the original mattress in-between.
In fact, we will likely soon see this feature built-in to new mattresses. These, “wise,” mattresses would lose an expected amount of height per year without compromising comfort. In this way, it would be quite obvious when it was time to get a new mattress, and there would be no hassle with disposing of the old. Planned senescence. Going one step further, customers could pay an annual fee and the company would just send a fresh mattress when the old one was getting thin.
Now we are getting to that longterm solution that once seemed so difficult to imagine. Avoiding screens before sleep, drinking water more regularly, adding stretching to my workout routine; why strive for incremental progress when I can just click once to join a subscription-based disintegrating mattress service?