So the mattress delivery guys are finally here, on their 17th and last delivery of the day. I’ve been watching them on the internet for the past five hours as they traipse around the countryside making their deliveries, and finally it’s my turn.
They manhandle the mattress out of the lorry and up to my front door. They say, Where do you want it? I gesture towards the stairs and say, Upstairs. The bedroom to the right.
Not going to make it, the guy in charge says.
This sort of attitude didn’t make the British the Rulers of the Waves. Please try, I say.
They give it a half-hearted try. But it’s indisputable: there are two feet of mattress more than can fit up the stairs.
Not going to make it, the main guy says again, then starts snapping photos. These, I realize, are to prove to his boss that indeed, the mattress won’t fit.
Sign here please, he says, putting a piece of paper in front of me.
Can you give it another try? I say desperately. I need this mattress up if I ever want to actually sleep on a mattress in a bedroom in my cottage, and these two men are my best and only chance.
Maybe if you bend it? I suggest.
We can’t bend it, they say.
It’s okay with me if you bend it, I say. How else am I going to get the bloody thing up?
It’s a liability issue, they say.
In my experience, it’s always a liability issue. All of life sometimes feels like a liability issue. But maybe there’s another way.
I gesture that if they move the mattress 90 degrees, push up one end by about 30 degrees, shove it a foot horizontally, then raise it exactly vertically, it could work.
They try. All goes well through the first manoeuvre, then they stop. It’s now six inches too big. A vast improvement over two feet, but not enough. It’s not going anywhere in the upward direction. The only way is down (TOWID). They wordlessly yank it back out of the stairwell and there’s nothing else I can do or suggest.
But other people around this country, with its abundance of small cottages and narrow staircases, must be able to have their mattresses on the floor with the bedrooms, I reason.
Do your other customers have this problem? I ask.
He didn’t even pause: Yes.
All of them.
What do they do? Hoist the mattress on a crane? Cut a hole in their wall? Teleport it upstairs? Or do they permanently sleep on the ground floor?
His answer: No. They bend the mattress.
But these guys—professional mattress deliverymen–are refusing to do the only thing that will work, something that thousands—nay, millions—of Brits have done to get a good night’s sleep on their mattress in their bedroom.
Nevertheless, they persisted in refusing to bend the mattress.
So now I have a bloody great big mattress taking up half my sitting room. And no possibility of getting it moved in the near, or even distant, future.
The painter will just have to paint round it. And I’ll be sleeping in my sitting room.