The CFO Needs His Sleep. Case in point: last night he could not resist watching The Apprentice against his better judgment, so was not in bed until the headily outrageous hour of 11. The dog woke him at 6:30. Perfectly reasonable night's sleep, you think? Me too. Not the CFO who has been thunderous and knocking back Berocca all morning, complaining about his sleep deprivation. As a rule, he is in bed by 10 and asleep by 10:02, perhaps with his glasses still on and an ancient copy of The Economist balanced on his chest, but definitely asleep.
I am not like that. I get tired around midnight, and that doesn't necessarily mean I go to bed then. The internets are calling to me, and when I can no longer see straight I am consumed with guilt at having ignored the dog all evening, so must sit and stroke him for a while. Of course, if he falls alseep with his head on my knee, then it would be cruel and unfeeling to just dump him off. I am a stranger to good sense in any event, so even if the dog doesn't fall aseep with his head in my lap, I may feel compelled to empty the kitchen cupboards, or read a discarded book I find behind the toaster.
As a consequence, I rarely get to bed before 1 or 2 and as you can imagine from the foregoing, it is vitally important that I do not wake the CFO when I do so I must sneak to bed In The Dark. The sneaking must involve locating and putting on pyjamas, brushing teeth, getting into bed. It is fraught.
We have lived in this house for three years, and I know it relatively well, but not well enough in the dead of night. This means that in recent weeks I have caused no end of chaos by getting lost and banging into things in ways that mystify me in daylight.
This is the bedroom. I have indicated the CFO's side of the bed with a copy of Haute Fidelité magazine, for audio nerds everywhere (in the French speaking world).
Let me take you through some of the pitfalls with one of my special ridiculous annotated photos (yeah, the ones where the annotated bits are so small you have to click on the photo to see them and it's really annoying).
The first hazard is the CFO's bedside table, which seems under the cover of darkness to sneak closer and closer to the door. I must try to avoid bumping into it, spilling cascades of Haute Fidelité and Son et Lumière magazines onto the floor with a deafening crash. Often there is also a wind up torch to fall over discarded somewhere near there. Just In Case. No, I don't know in case of what.
CFO wake up factor: 6.
Next, marked with yellow crosses, the floorboards of doom. I have distributed the crosses at random because it appears to me that the floorboards choose at random on any given night which of them will creak excruciatingly and at length. I swear it's never the same one twice, though I do know that under the larger rug there is an absolute bastard that gets me every time.
CFO Wake up factor: 5
The red skull and crossbones (and goodness, aren't I bad at those? But it was too late and I was too indolent to do anything about it) warns of the dreadful perils of the corner of the mantelpiece, which seems to loom out of nowhere connecting with bits of you it has no right to be in contact with.
Whilst not particularly disruptive to sleeping Frenchmen, this is possibly the most dangerous part of the room in terms of actual injuries. I have a greeny purple bruise on the side of my head from a recent encounter with that corner, which should not be in any way on my route to bed.
CFO Wake up factor: 3 unless pain of impact leads to swearing or sobs.
Next, indicated with the green skull and crossbones, comes the chair, a light, padded, seemingly innocuous thing. But one step too close to and the chair legs reach out and trip you up. Honestly, they do. The next thing you know, you are sprawled face down on the floor getting bollocked for still being awake at 2:15.
CFO Wake up factor: 8
We have nearly reached the bathroom, where I can safely shut myself in, put on the light and get my shit together. However! Watch out for the last cruel hazard. The door handle, placed at an entirely unfeasible height, easier to bang into with your forehead than to actually open. Most evenings I spend a good five minutes in classic Marcel Marceau pose, feeling around for this handle.
CFO Wake up factor: 2; Emma despair factor of 230000.
At this point, my troubles are not necessarily over, because I will be unable to find anything to sleep in and must either risk running the gauntlet of darkness all the way back to find pyjamas, or fashion something out of what I am currently wearing, or what I can find in the bathroom. As a result I often end up sleeping in the CFO's running gear (yik!), or my dressing gown, or a cashmere jumper. No, I can't sleep naked, don't even ask. I need to wear layer upon layer of clothing even when it is very warm. I am sure we split evolutionarily into naked and clothed sleepers for some reason, but it doesn't appear to be genetic since I - god help me, I wish I didn't know this, but unfortunately I do - am the product of two naked sleepers.
Worse still, the bathroom contains one of the Worthy Books I am trying to make myself read. A gift from the divine Mrs Trefusis, I only encounter it late at night, hiding on the bathroom floor and I am perhaps not being fair to it. Whatever, let me say that there may very well be profundity hiding in Adam Philip's Monogamy, but at 3 in the morning with a mantelpiece bruised head wearing a clownish selection of men's running shorts and moth eaten jumper, it sounds like it has been culled from an economy sized pack of fortune cookies.
Bedtime rituals? Incompatible sleeping habits? Tell me all.