The last time I spent the night in somebody’s guest room, there were nine pillows on the bed.
That bed was ready for any contingency. If a princess suddenly appeared on the doorstep in a downpour, she could sleep on a stack of pillows 8 feet high.
If four people needed to sleep in the bed, head-to-toe like the grandparents in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” they could each have two pillows, with one to spare.
I was sharing the bed with only one other person. I did not, however, need 4.5 pillows.
I had to dig down through 3.5 pillows encased in pretty, ruffled shams to find the one practical pillow I was supposed to sleep on.
I tried stacking the extra pillows on the foot of the bed, on top of the pretty, ruffled comforter. They fell off.
I thought about piling the extra pillows on the floor, but that seemed unhygienic. I suppose I could have put the comforter on the floor underneath the pillows, because the comforter always winds up on the floor by morning, anyway. I swear, it’s like trying to sleep underneath a polar bear.
I want my own bedroom to look decorative and trendy, I really do. But I only have two minutes to make up the bed every morning.
I don’t know why I even bother to make up the bed. No magazine is ever going to come to my house and photograph my bedding ensemble.
There are only four pillows on my bed. They are not encased in decorative pillow shams. They are in washable pillowcases. (Although I have figured out how to do a pretty envelope fold with the ends of the pillowcases, so that the pillows don’t show.)
I realize that I am breaking most of the Rules of Decorative Bedding. I know there are rules because I saw them once.
It was at a bed-and-breakfast in a small desert town in Texas. The owner had posted this message in the room:
“Please be careful with shams and bedspread. They are a lot of trouble to wash and iron. They are really just bed covers — to look pretty! I turn down everyone’s bed every evening and put shams and pillows and spread on quilt rack. If you wish a “prop” pillow — ask — we have plenty. Kindly do not sleep on top of or under bedspread.”
The owner had written these words in permanent marker. On the backs of the pillow shams.