Can we say that everyone is different? More likely, there are just a great number of general categories that we can be grouped into on different subjects. One category could be listed as, “the ability to tolerate snoring.” Some people tolerate it very well in a spouse or in a more casual sleep-mate. For others, snoring is a capital offense that is prosecuted with extreme prejudice. Oh my, but we are a multi-various race, we humans.
This last weekend I went on a two-nights-in-a-hotel seminar with my faculty, the Faculty of Law at Ramkhamhaeng University in Thailand. I was assigned to a room with a professor that I know very well, probably because his English is excellent. He's a lovely man, and I am proud to call him a friend. I warned him that I snored, and I chose the bed that would aim the worst of it away from him. I needn’t have worried; he snored as loudly and as constantly as I did.
I say that without knowing for sure. I have never actually recorded myself snoring. But the odds are that it was at least a toss-up.
The fact is that his snoring didn’t bother me at all. I wake up many times in the night. I wake up to pee; I wake up after a vivid dream; I wake up just to turn over because one shoulder has started to hurt. I only heard my roommate snoring if I was awake; I don’t think that he ever woke me up just by snoring. And if he was snoring loudly while I was returning to sleep, well, it never seemed to prevent me from going back to sleep at all. I hardly noticed it.
Perhaps I am just a good sleeper. Sleep is, after all, my second favorite thing in the world. But like I say, everyone is different.
Take my ex-wife, please. She tolerated my snoring not at all, not even a little bit. It was probably a function of her sleep pattern. I’m pretty sure that she is a shallow sleeper. An unenthusiastic sleeper, actually, I’m sure that for her sleep was not the supremely comforting thing that it is for me. It was certainly easy to awaken her from sleep. As soon as the sun cleared the horizon in the morning, or slightly before, she sprung to vigorous life from the bed, ready to begin another day of frantic activity. Sleep for me, on the other hand, has always been a refuge from the world; for her it was a burden that was barely tolerated.
As a result, she did not tolerate my snoring very well. I’m sure that it’s true that I must have awoken her several times every night. She’s always been a light sleeper. I mean, she woke up if a bird farted in a tree within forty feet of our bedroom window. But I’m mostly sure that my snoring woke her up because she let me know in a very immediate way. Usually by elbowing me sharply in the ribs and barking at me, “turn over!!!”
These days I am married to a woman who hardly seems to notice my snoring at all. She snores herself, at about the same relatively quiet level that my ex-wife did. I just think that it’s cute. I always have. It just reminds me gently that they are there, and I do appreciate their presence. Honestly though, I don’t miss my ex-wife’s daily snoring reports early of a morning, usually delivered in angry tones. After all, there’s nothing that I could have done about it. My current wife never mentions it at all, and if I bring it up, in order to peremptorily apologize, she just smiles and tells me not to worry about it. She’s correct in this attitude, of course. The coin that we wish to possess has two sides, and to possess the coin we must accept both sides of it.
Therein lies the moral of this lesson: THE COIN THAT WE WISH TO POSSESS HAS TWO SIDES, AND TO POSSESS THE COIN WE MUST ACCEPT BOTH SIDES OF IT.
Lose track of this great truth at your peril, dear reader.