Behind The Cushion: A Diary Of Couch Surfing.

Sofa, couch, chesterfield… there are a lot of names to describe a piece of furniture that’s been around since 2000 BC. Once used only by the very very posh, you’d be hard-pressed to find a dwelling these days that doesn’t have one. I’ve spent a lot of years sleeping on other people’s couches, so I’ve come to appreciate a long couch with deep cushions.

I spent Wednesday night at the Imperial Pub in Toronto with some of my best friends. There were pitchers of Moosehead and couches and enough laughter that I couldn’t breathe and started hiccuping. (My friends are truly fucking hilarious.) We stayed out late enough that my only option back to my apartment was the dreaded night bus, so my darling friend (and fellow writer) Carolyn offered to let me crash at her place.

She has a wonderful couch.

Being 5’9″ has its challenges when it comes to lounging about on furniture. Sleeping on a tiny couch means folding your legs up or draping them over the sides and cutting off all circulation so when you wake in the morning, your only options are amputation or an hour of that pins-and-needles feeling. Sleeping on one of those modern leatheresque dealies means any exposed skin will inevitably become molded to the fabric and any time you roll over it’s the sofa equivalent to a band aid. Not to mention it sounds like you’re ripping monstrous farts all night whenever you make the slightest movements.

No, the best couches are soft, and the cushions seem to wrap around you as you sink into them. They’re warm and reflect your own body heat back to you, keeping you cozy but not too hot.

I spent months sleeping on my sister’s couch. Her first one folded out into the world’s most uncomfortable futon, complete with a crack down the middle that longed to sever your spinal cord if you hit just the right angle. The couch she has now is fancy and expensive and every time I make the trip to Mississauga to see her I actually look forward to sleeping on it, even though it means I have to listen to EVERY SINGLE KARAOKE SONG going on at the bar downstairs. Worth it just for that couch, says I.

My mom’s couch is almost long enough to be called comfortable, but if I tuck my feet up over the arm, I can manage to sleep on my stomach. She always offers to let me sleep in her bed with her, but I’m just more comfortable when I can fling my limbs around and her couch is firmer than her bed.

Sometimes, even though I have a perfectly good bed, I will sleep on my own couch. I did the same thing when I was a teenager. When my family first moved, my mom and sister had beds but I slept on cot mattresses from my uncle’s fire station. They were thin and even with two of them I could feel the floor, so I would sometimes creep downstairs and sleep on our couch. Eventually I did get a bed, but I would still sneak out every couple nights and fall asleep in the living room with the TV on.

Having a comfy couch is important, especially when your friends drink too much and live too far away from downtown to go home.


My dream couch, clearly.
My dream couch, clearly.

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