I’ve never been a fan of sleeping naked. I have difficulty slipping into otherworldly slumber without the soft cotton comfort of my nightie, not to mention my undies. But recently, on a trip to our southern sister city, the airline we traveled with lost our luggage. Apparently it was never checked in. Despite the fact that we stood in an extremely long line, for an extremely long time, waiting to do just that. Apparently, although we watched it being pushed onto the conveyor belt and into the bowels of the airport, it never made the aeroplane. Or at least not the plane we were on.
So it was with a kind of weightless wonder that we left Melbourne airport that evening and rode into the city on the Skybus, which to our relief stuck to the road. Perhaps in compensation for our bag-less state, or maybe just because the sun sets later in Victoria and storms had passed through in the late afternoon, the yellow-grassed hills that surround the Tullamarine Freeway were glistening with recent rain and the golden slant of the westering sun. On the eastern horizon, amongst the still heavy slate clouds, hung the widest tricolour rainbow I’d ever seen. And oblivious roos chomped steadily on the moist grass just outside the windows of our bus. It was a beautiful welcome to a city so familiar yet at the same time so unknown.
The baggage claim attendant at the airport had said that our luggage would be delivered at 11pm that night which with the practiced cynicism of the seasoned traveller I of course did not believe. When, after a lovely feed and a good bottle of red, we returned to the hotel and my expectations were indeed met, it put me to thinking about the chicken and the egg. But luckily it was time for bed not philosophy.
Of course the bathroom bag was in the luggage so there was no toothpaste or toothbrushes. Oh well, who hasn’t occasionally had the extremely late night and tumbled into bed without brushing their teeth? I carefully took off all my clothes and hung them in the wardrobe for re-wearing the next day. Oh well, who hasn’t occasionally worn their clothes two days in a row? But of course my jammies were also in the luggage! And clean underwear! Note to self: in future always carry spare intimate things in hand bag. I took off my underpants and carefully arranged them on a hanger for airing. They would have to do a double shift. That had certainly never happened before! Now I was ready to slip into the smooth, clean, white sheets. How is it that my sheets at home never feel this smooth or clean?
I prepared myself for a night of sleepless tossing. There’s something far too vulnerable, too open, and too strange about having absolutely no clothes on in bed. I would never be able to sleep naked. I have met people who do. You know, those relaxed types who seem to glow with inner health. It always seems far too risqué to me. After all who knows what could happen?
I was woken at 7am by the clang of tram bells. Ahh Melbourne; sure beats waking up to the profanities of the inner city ice addicts back home. That’s when I realised I’d slept the whole night through. In fact, I can’t remember having had a better night sleep since I was about three. I felt alive. I felt healthy. I felt energetic. I’d always assumed the glow those nudists had was due to all the sex but it might simply be all the sleep. What other delights had I denied myself in my nearly fifty years of life?
Just as I was contemplating how much more exciting life could be without baggage, a text arrived on my mobile. “Great News! Your luggage has arrived in Melbourne. We will contact you once it has cleared security to arrange for delivery. We estimate this will be within three hours.”
Well that was great news. I’d never slept naked before and after trying it I couldn’t feel better. Now I had the opportunity to experiment with a little more adventure in my life. What could be better than appearing in my birthday suit at the breakfast buffet? And so, I leapt out of bed, all ready for my first day in Melbourne.
Images: The Bookworm by Hermann Fenner-Behmer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; and authors own image of Melbourne at dawn.