Unfortunatelly, life demands that we do things

By Leila Sales

I used to have a sleeping bag. It was blue and warm, and it did not have an extremely large rip in it. But all this changed yesterday when my friend Reed and I came home to discover that my entire room was filled with fuzzy, white down feathers.

We spent approximately two minutes trying to make the best of the situation. “If this were a slumber party, think how incredibly fun this would be!” Reed pointed out. So we flung around a couple handfuls of feathers in halfhearted childlike glee. What we had failed to anticipate was that the sleeping bag’s stuffing was clingy: it stuck to the ground, caught itself in our hair, infiltrated our mouths, and tried to suffocate us.

We gave each other mournful looks of despair and gagged. “Slumber parties suck,” I informed Reed as I picked feathers off my tongue. “Childhood is dead.”

Vacuum cleaning was clearly the answer here. But vacuum cleaning requires almost superhuman effort. The act of walking down three flights of stairs to get the vacuum, then walking up three flights of stairs while carrying heavy machinery, then cleaning, then walking down and up again just to return the vacuum…well, all this is beyond me even when I’m not attempting to breathe through a thick curtain of white fuzz.

My parents, also, have this misconception that I am capable of doing things. When I was home over break, they would come marching into the living room where I would be watching television, my eyes glazed over and my mouth hanging slightly open. “Leila!” they would say. “Can you put your clothes in the hamper so we can do laundry?”

Here I would turn my bleary-eyed stare from the television to my parents. Did they have any idea the incredible burden that they placed upon me? Apparently they, being grown-ups, found the strength of character both to watch television and to put dirty clothes in the hamper on the same day. This sort of dedication to accomplishment is so foreign to me. On any given day, I tend to sap all my energy reserves by breakfast time, which, of course, occurs around 2 p.m.

But my parents do not understand this sort of torpidity. My friend Reed does, but that is because Reed is my age. I honestly fail to grasp how college students were once the leaders of war protests and civil rights movements. Not to speak for my entire generation, but if I personally had to choose between ending world hunger and never needing to empty my garbage, I would definitely have to take a nap before deciding. (And then I’d choose ending world hunger, obviously; I mean, I might be a supine individual living in squalor, but even I can understand the value of food.)

My parents are also a problem because I couldn’t tell them that the sleeping bag had exploded. They were very proud of this sleeping bag’s ability to turn my dorm room floor into a four-star hotel for my visiting friends, so they called every few hours to make sure that Reed was happy sleeping in my sleeping bag, and that she hadn’t yet been carted off by the army of cockroaches that may or may not live in my walls.

I considered lying: “No, the sleeping bag is fantastic and not ripped to shreds or anything,” but I figured they might notice that my mouth was clogged with sleeping bag filling.

“Yeah,” I said. “It exploded.” They countered: “Well, have you vacuumed it up yet?”

You see what I mean about parents? I was like, “No. Jesus. It only happened, like, 10 hours ago. Give a girl time to catch her breath, will you?”

Anyway, eventually we lured ourselves downstairs to get the vacuum. We played clever psychological tricks on ourselves: “If we bring the vacuum up to the room,” we said, “then we will have a clean room.” This bribery worked like a charm. It worked better than our actual cleaning did, because by the time we got the vacuum all the way upstairs it was nearly 1 a.m., which is apparently when people go to bed when they don’t have major bedding-related traumas. We vacuumed for maybe three nanoseconds before 12 of my neighbors knocked on my door to say, “Couldn’t you have done this, you know, earlier?”

I just don’t know why everyone always expects me to do things.