It’s time that I apologize for insulting my husband’s cluttered nightstand

With apologies to my late husband, wherever you are: 

Several years ago I wrote a column about your messy nightstand. I compared it to my neat one, which was wordlessly poking fun at you. I heard from women all over Southern California who empathized and shared their stories of “messy husbands’ nightstand disease,” as one reader called it.

I was perhaps a little holier than thou about the clean surface of my night table, bearing only a lamp, and a small vase holding whatever flower was blooming in our yard.

These days there is no longer any room for a vase. It seems I have become very needy in the night. I have both a landline and a cell phone on a stand in easy reach. I understand that statistics are against using smartphones for distraction when you can’t sleep. However, without you to tell me interesting stories, I do it anyway.

Of course, there is a television remote control, actually the TV I have now takes two remotes to turn on. TV is another no-no when you can’t sleep, but I am sure the people who came up with these rules sleep like babies all night. These experts will be happy to know that my nightstand houses a book to read, the one thing I do that is actually on their approved list.

Also taking up space are a small notepad and pen, two pairs of glasses, one for reading and one for watching TV. My smart LED lantern stands ready on the crowded shelf, should there be an earthquake. And I keep an extra nightgown stashed on the lower shelf because I can’t seem to get through the night without becoming too warm, or too cold.

Let’s not forget the hand lotion and bottle of water to keep me hydrated during the night. Or the Google assistant you bought me so I could always call for help.

As you can see, help is something I definitely need during the night. In addition to all this stuff, there is the heavy burden of guilt for chastising you about your nightstand.

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I feel so much better now that I have publicly apologized to you that I think maybe I can sleep. It’s a chilly evening so I am going to pull out a pair of your socks that I keep next to my extra nightgown. I have finally come to understand what night tables are really for.

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