Rural Living

Pillow Talk

A Soft Spot for My Soft Spots


by Margo Oxendine, Contributing Writer

Margo Oxendine

Are you in love with your pillows?        

I had thought I was quirky this way, until I began paying attention. I paid attention as I lugged my luggage to the front desk of various hotels. Even in the swankiest, there we were: The Pillow People.

I was surprised and delighted to learn recently that a friend is a Pillow Person just like I. We gigglingly confessed to one another that, until we were finished college, we had clung tightly to our childhood pillows.

I once ended a five-year romance when “someone” refused to turn around and head back to New Orleans to retrieve my pillows. After all, we were only 100 miles down the road.

There are a plethora of problems posed to Pillow People, especially when traveling. I have called the registration desks of various far-flung hotels, inquiring about the consistency and type and number of pillows in a typical room.

The harried clerks seem disinclined to entertain my questions and concerns. They are not amused by my self-effacing anecdotes. Thus, I am forced to pack along my pillows.

And therein lies another problem.

Pillows are bulky, unwieldy things. Wrestling them into a suitcase takes determination and dedication. Then, there’s the problem of clothing, underwear and toiletries. Is there room?

I bought some plastic crush-sacks that supposedly reduce bulky things to the size of a fat wallet. They worked well a time or two; then, they ruined my precious feather pillows. Somehow, like the skin of an aging woman, they refused to spring back into perfection.

Hauling pillows along is no big deal if you’re traveling by car. In fact, one can ensconce oneself in them and drive in great comfort — sort of an already-

deployed air bag, but far more comfy. All that remains is to tote them into the hotel. This can raise eyebrows, as well as sneers, from bellhops and fellow guests. I have had travel companions turn aside and pretend they do not know me.

Traveling by train is somewhat more tricky, but still doable. It’s the airlines that test the resolve of Pillow People. What with all the regulations of weight and number of bags, it is necessary to forego, say, extra pairs of pants and shoes and three shirts, in order to fit in the pillows. You may not be well-dressed at your destination, but you will be well-rested.

I was forced to forego my pillows entirely when I flew to France. This was not good. Europeans have a different concept of pillows than we Americans, I guess. The so-called pillow (note singular usage) on my four-star hotel bed was forlorn. It was thin, and hard-bodied, much like the type of traveler to whom this hotel catered.

I had quite a bit of trouble communicating my desire for two — four, if you’ve got ’em — fluffy pillows to the hotel chambermaids. A small cluster of them surrounded me in the hall, incomprehensible looks on their faces. I grabbed the so-called pillow off my bed, cuddled it, and then pantomimed something larger and fluffier. They smiled, nodded, and brought me an extra blanket.

It has become necessary for me to buy four new pillows. Even two might do it, yet buying even one pillow is an arduous and difficult task. The perfect pillow cannot be ordered online. I live in a town where one cannot buy eyeshadow or underwear; need I mention I must make a 150-mile round trip to purchase a pillow?

The pillow section of a department store is often puzzling. They are piled willy-nilly, not organized by firmness or type of filling. Worst of all, they are covered in hard plastic. I am forced to fondle the packaged

pillows, holding them against my head and trying to imagine if this is, indeed, my perfect mate of a pillow. I guess the process would be akin to finding true love in a speed-dating bar.

My sweet sister, always on the alert for the ideal, and wonderfully welcome gift, actually gave me four expensive new pillows last Christmas. I felt oh, so badly about it. They are plump but unyielding things, and they simply will not do. Naturally, they cannot be returned. They stand now, at the alert, on the guest room bed, ready to welcome the annual visitor.

Herein lies a lesson for careful gift-givers: Never try to please a Pillow Person. We are a quirky and quite picky lot. But to a man and/or woman, we are well-rested. 


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