Breaking in new bed pillows is a hard chore. I never really understood why I even decided to buy new bed pillows. If you had asked me last week I couldn’t have told you why. But I just bought some new ones, so right now I know.
When I made the bed in the morning I noticed that my pillow no longer laid straight. At just about the middle it bent downward, and it took a lot of shaking to get it to lay straight again. That was because I have acquired the habit of bending the pillow down so it curves just slightly behind my back when I go to sleep.
Later that day when I was walking through a store I noticed bed pillows were on sale. I went down the line poking at a few and finally pulled some likely prospects off the shelf and laid my head against them as I stood in the aisle.
I chose a pair most likely to succeed at our house and marched off to the cashier. I always buy a pair of pillows because I’m sure that if my pillow needs to be replaced Bill’s must need to be replaced too.
The cashier took my money and then put the pillows in a huge plastic bag. A large bag like this fascinates me. I can think of all kinds of things I can store in it once I get it home and take the pillows out.
Usually I end up storing tons of smaller plastic bags in it and then trying to figure out how to get rid of them, because I can’t just throw them away.
I also very carefully tuck the sales receipt in the bag so I can return the pillows if we decide we don’t like them. I might as well not bother because by the time we decide we want to return them, they’re no longer new enough to return.
When our grandkids were younger we’d pass bed pillows on to them for sleepovers, but by now their parents can afford to buy whatever pillows they need. So we have old pillows stacked on closet floors until I figure out who can use them.
Well anyway, at bedtime I removed the new pillows from the bag, took the plastic cover off of them, put new pillow cases on them, and perched them on the bed. They looked great, all puffed up like a pillow ought to be.
We watched television for awhile and the pillows were marvelous. They provided great support as we lay on our backs. Then it was lights out. We settled down for a good night’s sleep. But sleep wouldn’t come. I found myself trying to bend the pillow so part of it curled down my back. It didn’t stay bent.
After an hour of tussling with it, I got up, found my old pillow, put the new pillow back in the huge plastic bag, and went back to bed to sleep on my old bent pillow.
The next morning when I made the bed, I put the new pillows in place on the bed and stored the old one in the big bag. That night we again started out on the new pillows, but at some point I got up and dug out the old one so I could sleep comfortably.
When breaking in new pillows, eventually I find I am spending more time on the new pillow and the old one is finally permanently retired to the closet floor in case someone needs it.
Occasionally, however, we find that after a few weeks of trying to break in a new pillow I am still waking up with a stiff neck. Then it’s time to return the pillow to the store. Actually it’s too late to return it. Either I’ve begun to stuff little plastic bags into the huge one, or I’ve lost the clear plastic bags each pillow came in, or I can’t find the sales receipt. So the search for newer pillows and someone who can use the old ones goes on.
As I said before, breaking in new bed pillows in a difficult chore for me.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Daily Advocate Oct. 22, 2003.