By Arlo Mudgett
I blame it on poor vision. Growing up in the 50s and 60s I would watch our black and white television lying on the floor less than six feet away. The poor vision I found out was from my mother's side of the family. All my aunts and my one uncle wear eyeglasses. My father, however, is nearly 83 and still does not wear glasses except to read. He was one of those lucky fellows that had eyesight good enough to get him chosen for pilot training while he was in the Air Force. By the time I was in first grade, I had eyeglasses. As stated, I also had a habit of watching television while lying on the floor. When I learned to read, I preferred that activity in the same position. I still do to this day. For some reason, it takes a great deal of effort to sit in a chair and read a book or watch a movie. The best movie theater experience I ever had was in France. The seating is luxurious and the seats have some reclining ability. It was heaven.
My fiance is not impressed by watching television while lying down. She suffers stiff neck muscles whenever she watches television in bed. She has a DVD player and TV set in her sewing room, along with a hard, upright wooden chair. Does this make her a better person than me? Probably. At the very least it makes her more upright. She looks down on my television viewing position with disapproval. When we were making the bed the other day she noted that the mattress cover on my side of the bed is worn. Her side is not worn. She said that it was no wonder that my side is worn because I spend so much time there. She said it very disapprovingly. I countered with an obscene gesture. I am also less mature than she.
I use a laptop computer for almost everything these days. I have installed design software on it and I have a small wireless drawing tablet. This allows me to work while lying down. I also write this column lying down. I've learned that I like writing in this position, but I do not enjoy the design work lying down. That's OK because the wireless drawing tablet beside my desktop computer is larger and allows more freedom of movement and a bit more accuracy. The desktop monitor is also bigger, and that helps my visual acuity while designing. You can't do everything lying down, but you can do more with the right equipment.
I tend to put a lot of hours in every day with all the things that I do. As I've aged, I find it possible to keep going for longer periods of time by simply doing some of the work lying down. You're probably wondering, isn't it also a little easier to fall asleep while working in that position? Yes, it is. I've also learned to cat nap. A 15 to 30-minute nap can really mess some folks up. For me, it is energizing. I bounce back from a nap very quickly, and it allows me to attack projects with renewed vigor. Of course, a lot of this lifestyle goes away completely during the summer months, so I don't feel so bad about it. In fact, I'd like to be able to do this kind of work outdoors.
While perusing an army surplus catalog I noted a hammock with a mosquito net. Perfect for outdoor summer reading with no annoying mosquito bites and the risk of Triple E or Zika virus. While I have not yet ordered this special hammock, I have been giving a lot of thought to safely mounting it. Yes, the age-old practice of mounting a hammock between two trees is one of the most natural and restful things I can imagine. However, the huge oak and maple tree in my yard are too far apart for mounting a hammock. Now the plan is to use a four by four pressure treated post mounted in cement just far enough away from the house to mount the hammock between the two.
Yes, this summer I am going to be able to lie down and read in the great outdoors. A pillow and a Kindle tablet never looked so good. Warm breezes, no bugs, and great literature can be enjoyed without the stress of beach traffic and the chance of getting sand kicked in your face, or having to listen to the cacophony of sun worshipping hordes. Yes indeed, there's nothing like supine.
Arlo Mudgett's Morning Almanac has been heard over multiple radio stations in Vermont for nearly 30 years, and can be tuned in at 92.7 WKVT Monday through Saturday mornings at 8:35 a.m.