To the sleeping woman sharing this bunk bed with me,

I thought we could have been friends. I really did. When you came into the room after midnight and harrumphed your bag down on the bunk above mine, your warmth and grace had me all but ready to introduce myself. You only continued to charm when, having watched me— clad in but my boxers, flip-flops, and a towel—leave the bathroom to grab my bottle of shampoo, you stood up, looked me in the eyes, walked to the bathroom, and locked the door for the next 10 minutes. The period of public almost-nudity offered me a special moment of relaxation and reflection, and I know the other four people in the room were happy to share it with me. Thank you.

But for all of your early attempts at friendship, my 30-something hostel bunkmate, I can’t say I will miss you. You see, after what happened later that night, I’m not sure you are really cut out for sleeping in hostels—or even sleeping around other people at all.

When I did, eventually, climb into bed and began to get comfortable, you confused me. You began thrashing and tossing around in your bed above me, but I gave you the benefit of the doubt. You probably had an itch somewhere, and I know how those itches can be.

My confusion turned to terror, though, when you began to yell at me. As I drifted softly into that good night, turning ever so slightly onto my stomach from lying on my side, you reared your head down at me. As I was about to ask you about your itch, you started speaking, in a voice much too loud for use in a room filled with sleeping people at 2 A.M.

“Stop stop stop stop stop stop. Stop doing that,” you said.

To be honest, my highly confrontational bunkmate, you scared me. Between the violent bed shaking and late night yelling, I began to question your emotional and psychological stability. After you shook the frame of our bunk bed again as you returned to the sleeping position—presumably to further intimidate me— my heart rate went up, and I lay as still as possible as to not disturb you again. I scanned my brains for memories of fairy tales about avoiding the wrath of sleeping dragon and giants, hoping to glean some wisdom. I didn’t forget to notice, bunkmate, that you were doing much more to disturb my and the rest of the room’s sleep than any amount of my torso-rotation could ever accomplish.

Minutes passed, bunkmate of the Shaking and Darkness. I was still and silent and scared. When your breathing began to slow, I thought, maybe, I was in the clear. I could move from lying on my side to lying on my back.

But when I tried to execute this very basic sleeping maneuver, you had none none of it. You began shaking the bed again and climbed down the rungs of the bunk bed. I really wasn’t sure what to expect.  

I certainly did not expect you to tear off all the sheets from the mattress feet above me, rattling the frame of the bed and generally being a nuisance. I did not expect you to steal another person’s bed in this six person room, after having unmade their bed and moving many of their possessions. And I did not expect that my turning onto my back as I tried to fall asleep would push you—or anyone—over the edge.

Maybe I did expect, and maybe even relish, one thing, though. When the woman who would now attempt to sleep beneath you in your adopted bunk bed returned home, I waited expectantly. I questioned why you had, again, chosen a top bunk.

It was not without a little vindication that I watched as the woman, a little confused as to why she now had you as a bunkmate, climbed into bed. Sliding into the covers with more grace than even I can claim, the woman was decidedly unobtrusive and loud. This made no difference to you, the psychotic terror of room 301. You accosted her as well, asking her to stop. Just what your expectations were for me, for your new bunkmate, and for a night spent in a hostel dorm are unclear.

All of this is to say: you do not seem to be cut out for the hostel life. Your sleeping preferences suggest you would best be served sleeping in a hypobaric, pressure-controlled chamber, and not a room filled with breathing, snoring, and—god forbid—tossing human beings.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your travels,

The terrified kid in the bunk below you.  

To My Crazy Bunkmate, An Open Letter was last modified: July 7th, 2016 by Andy Duehren