October 18, 2009

The Geneva Sleeping-bag Adventures

I'm rehearsing a play in Geneva - we're an international company, with members spread out around Europe and so the Geneva adventures are one week of intense working and living together. Being the only pregnant member of the troupe - one other actress has a 3-month old baby - I was assigned a mattress at the foot of the lady of the house's bed. This way, I'm in a secluded spot, as opposed to sleeping in the living-room with 8 others.

Sounds ideal, but the lady of the house has a mild snoring habit. At least once a night I wake to the gentle sounds of her loud night-breathing, but usually it passes within the hour and I manage to fall asleep again. Last night however, she was determined to saw down a large patch of forest in preparation for the coming winter and I awoke with a start around 2AM. The volume of the snoring had increased dramatically. It also did not let up within the hour. I tried a few tricks - I rustled a paper bag to try to subtly wake her or make her stir and hopefully change position. To no effect. I went to the toilet with the squeaking door.... three times. I sighed loudly. At 4AM I got pissed and grabbed my sleeping-bag to find a better place to sleep. I stumbled into the living-room/dormitory and found a half-flaccid blow-up mattress, vacated by a troupe member who left earlier in the day. The dorm was blissfully quiet and I wondered why it had taken me two hours to consider this option. Not 4 minutes into my bliss and someone at the far end of the room let rip an impressively loud and resonating fart. I decided to interpret it as a little welcome. The air had hardly cleared, when the snoring started from the far end of the room. First the back end had been cleared and, obviously, now the front needed clearing. I couldn't believe my luck. But it had been so quiet only moments before that I was sure it was a fluke and so I wanted to stick it out.

An hour later, at 5AM, I stormed back into my previous room for my iPod. The plan was that Greg Laswell was going to lull me to sleep before I burst into hot, angry, tired, pregnant tears. The director's pink hairless Sphinx cat was also disturbed by the incessant snoring and came to join me on the air-bed, doing his level best to overpower both Greg in my headphones and the high-volume snoring with his beautiful purring. So now I had an acoustic threesome going on, but it wasn't a happy mix!

At 5:34, when the snoring, sudden gulping for air and unpredictable, eardrum-shattering farting overpowered both Greg Laswell's dulcet tones and my will to live, my sleeping bag and I returned to the monotonous yet thankfully fart-free sawing down of a Swiss forest which was taking place in the master bedroom. Resignedly I curled up on the mattress at the foot of the mistress of the house's bed like a long-suffering house dog. At which point my intra-uterine baby woke up and sent me that now all too familiar wave of nausea indicating that I best get myself a snack before I start heaving and end up losing my mind along with a good night's rest.

So off to the kitchen I trekked, accompanied by Gin, the hairless kitty. Long-life milk and honey on rice crackers kept me busy till 6:10AM, when I finally retuned to the lion's den. I think I need to give earplugs a second chance.


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