I know a person, who will for the present purposes remain nameless, who sleeps like this: she sleeps with her head cocked back and mouth open. From the opened mouth come perfectly timed snore sounds, sometimes interrupted by a scratchy throat sound.
Look, for all I know I sleep with my mouth open. Hopefully I don’t. But regardless, I am aware that I could manifest this extremely unflattering position when zonked out, and so I take precautions to try not to nap in front of anyone. As John Stuart Mill said, what you do in your own bedroom is your own business, and if my mouth sleep-opens, then it will only open there.
But let us return to this anonymous acquaintance of mine who naps, open-mouthed, when several people are in a room. Out of politeness, the room’s inhabitants will pretend not to notice, and not talk about the elephant in the room that is the snorer’s open mouth. But that doesn’t stop people from sneaking peeks at it, and peeks lead to thoughts. I thought, for example, the other day that the opened snore-mouth seems to change shapes depending on how loud the snoring is. When the snoring is mild, her mouth is open slightly, frozen in the barely-open mould of the face people make when they realize they have just forgotten something. When the snoring is louder, though, her mouth assumes the shape of the protagonist in Edvard Munch’s The Scream.
The other day, the snorer was specially Scream mouthed, and the sounds coming from the living painting were too much. I decided that it was time to do something about it. That is, it was time to stick something inside that open, snoring, distracting, sleeping, Scream mouth.
My first candidate was a piece of lint. I stuck it in the snorer’s mouth, only to become disheartened when it just stuck to her bottom lip for a second and then blue away during the ‘exhale’ portion of the snore. Bummer. Perhaps something bigger would work?
I next stuck a piece of lettuce from the fridge-just small enough to look normal-sized on a fork-into the open, violent-looking Munch mouth. “This should do the trick” I thought. Well, like the piece of lint, the lettuce leaf stuck to the snorer’s mouth, only it was too heavy to blow off. The snorer grunted a little but didn’t wake up. The leaf then began moving up and down on the bottom lip, timed perfectly with the snores that were blowing the leaf almost off the lip each exhale.
This plan was quickly backfiring. Now I was even more distracted! The snoring was still loud, the snorer was still Scream faced, and I couldn’t stop staring at the fluttering chunk of lettuce.
I decided finally to wake the snorer and let her find the lettuce leaf herself, which I figured would be hard for her to miss, as she was almost sleep-eating it.
“Well, (snorer’s name), are you going to wake up?” I asked really loudly. The snorer buried her head into a double chin and twisted her snoring Scream face around a little, causing the lettuce leaf to fall inside. “(Name)!” I yelled. Her eyes opened, and then she began spitting up and hacking furiously, until the lettuce leaf slimed out and stuck to her chin. She picked it off.
I ended up getting cursed at for about five minutes, and instructed never to (blank) with her again while she was sleeping. I actually felt kind of bad when she told me about her allergies and mild narcolepsy. But don’t worry, next time, I’ll try it with a piece of string that I can pull away quickly. Maybe I’ll tie an olive or something to the end as a tease? I’ll be in touch.