For a long time, I used to go to bed early. That’s not really true; that’s the first line from A Remembrance of Things Past, actually. I don’t really go to bed early. But I do sleep a lot. All of my friends are insomniacs, which sounds artsy and cool to me (in theory). But I can sleep always. Someone gave me a quarter of an Ambien once and I did not need it, and in fact fell asleep while standing up, while talking in mid-sentence, and I crashed into a chair.
Anyway, when I sleep, I often have recurring dreams. I have one where I’m being attacked by 3-D numbers in space (I don’t know what this is about, but I’ve always been bad at math, so maybe I hate numbers). I have one where I’m standing in a field with a beautiful Asian girl and I’m happy. I have one that I’m not going to tell you about. And I have one where I’m sleeping on a bed made of cats, and I’m happy.
I always thought that this was a charming — if somewhat twee — kind of dream. Cuddled by kittens! A bed made of cats! So comforting. It would be such a great way to fall asleep. Cats, cats; everywhere cats — here a cat, there a cat, everywhere a cat cat. But I mentioned this to my girlfriend at the time, and she said, “That’s awful. Structurally speaking, even the middle section of the bed would be made of cats. They’d be suffocating. There’d be cats clawing their way through other cats — clawing their way through you — trying to get out.” Which really was a major bring-down. Thanks, girlfriend.
ANYway. I had the odd sensation the other day that I had matured and would be magically good at drawing things. Which is exactly why I can’t draw; you don’t become magically good at it for no reason. So I attempted to draw my dream, and had all my friends draw it too. Please to enjoy. Here they are in no particular order, except for mine, which sucks.
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A BED MADE OF CATS
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Oliver Miller, freelance writer/editor:
I really could not be more disappointed in myself. This is not what I dreamed at all! The problem is I just can’t draw very well, and moreover, I rush and panic when I draw, because I know it’s going to be bad. And this isn’t even a bed made of cats. It’s a bed with cats on top of it — which is specifically what I asked all my friends not to draw. And it looks suspiciously like a ‘West Elm’ brand bed that I used to own. It’s just a NYC apartment loft bed with a bunch of f-cking cats on top. So unimaginative; just a lot of fail all around.
Zoe Young, college student/‘Forever 21’ salesgirl:
Zoe definitely gets the concept a lot better than I did. Mega-cat! Mega-cat with little cats; it makes me think of ‘Transformer’ brand toys, like you could combine all the cats together to make the mega-cat, or it could shoot little cat missiles out of its paws or something. Zoe’s cats are also smiling, which is a key component that I missed. My cats just look grim and resigned. Zoe also has that I’m-hot-but-I’m-wearing-glasses thing going on in her real life, which has nothing to do with anything. Anyway; moving on…
Nicole Susan Phillis, attorney:
Nicole’s is terrible. Reassuringly terrible! It’s a bed with cats on it; even more so than mine was. Though it’s a little Pop Art-seeming, what with its use of text, and it’s good that she wrote “CATS” everywhere, lest we fail to get the point. But much like Zoe, Nicole is hot, and that makes it hard for me to rip apart her drawing too much. In art, as in so many other things, the hot are often unfairly forgiven.
Laurie Burgdorff, painter:
Our one professional artist does an expectedly good job with her bed o’ cats. Though I never envisioned a canopy bed, per se. And I don’t think I’d want a bunch of cats above me while I was asleep like that. I really don’t think I would.
Mandy Elizabeth Rivella, librarian:
Mandy gets props for actually turning her drawing in on time, unlike evvvvveryone else, who handed theirs in months late, or today. Also her mega-cat looks appalled — or bemused — with the whole situation, which is good.
Larissa Pham, student, Yale University (art history/psych major):
Larissa’s rendering likewise incorporates text; the pleading text that I sent her today. And she did her drawing in under five minutes! Nice. Hers has the happiest cats of all, which I respect. Also, I called her drawing “Asian-y,” and lo and behold, Lars is Asian. Go figure. By the way, she agreed with the “Asian-y” thing, but feel free to leave comments in the comment section calling me racist again, because why the hell not?
Steve Peterson, special education teacher:
Steve was the only guy to actually agree to do this! Which begs the question: could most guys suck any worse? No. They could not. Anyway, this is a solid, workmanlike rendering. I find no flaws here. I’m running out of stuff to say about cat beds.
Carolyn Moore, Information Technology executive:
Carolyn used to be my fianceé. I know, I can’t believe I had a fianceé either! Anyway, I took her out to dinner once to meet my friends Brian and Tiffany, and before she got there, I said to Brian, “Okay, signal to me during the dinner if I should actually marry this girl. If ‘yes,’ then point your fork and knife down towards you. If ‘no,’ then leave your fork and knife pointing up.” And then he ended up… turning his fork and knife… 360 degrees to the side. …Anyway, Carolyn also did a cat drawing! It features cross-hatching and cats being squished to death in the middle, sort of like my old girlfriend pointed out about my original dream. Great girlfriends/fianceés all think alike, I guess.
Nichole Jackson, actress/groupie:
I used to live with Nichole and she was kind of a dick and would kick me out a lot, but I forgive her. Also, she wins a place in my heart for having a complete nervous breakdown after finishing her drawing, which is what I did too. Here are some of her texts about the drawing:
- “brb have to go kill myself. feel like i have nothing to contribute to the world creatively”
- “my cats are touching btu not cuddling”
- “it reflects my commitment issues”
- “it’s weirdly sexual”
- “but in an artisic way, too literal”
- “way too literall”
- “i hate myself right now”
And so-oooo on. Way to go, Nichole! By the way, everyone except for Laurie hated their drawings too. I just forgot to save the texts. Moving on…
Tiffany Christian, attorney:
Tiffany’s is my favorite, maybe because Tiffany is my best friend, so I automatically approve of everything she does. Also, she just. Can’t. Draw. At all. But she tried so hard, and it kills me. And her drawing is oddly beautiful, in a starkly minimalist way. A geometrical flood of cats. …She tried so hard! And “trying is the only thing that matters,” and we know that this is true, because T.S. Eliot said it. …And so, since trying is so important — maybe you should try to draw one too, and leave your own cat bed drawing in the comment section, why not? That was a terrible segue. I don’t know how to end this column. Anyway, cats! Cats cats CATS cats cats.