The Thing Is with Steve Canavan - September 4, 2014

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I’m not usually the jealous type. Even when I was 10 and my best friend Gary Gibbons got a new BMX for Christmas while I had to make do with a Beano annual and a stamp collectors set, I wasn’t in the slightest bit mithered.

Then again that was probably because I waited until Gary, who wasn’t the brightest, left his bike unchained outside the local newsagents a few days later, then stole it.

He cried for days, eventually had to have counselling to cope with the loss, and was never the same again, but nonetheless I like to feel I taught him an important lesson in life - namely never trust anyone, even your best mate.

But back to jealousy, for there is one thing that makes me envious to the core and that is Mrs Canavan’s sleeping prowess.

Let me paint the scene.

We go to bed in our matching green satin pyjamas at around 11pm, read for a few minutes - her some Jane Austen classic, me Gazza’s autobiography - then, when we’ve finished our hot chocolate, peck each other lightly on the cheek, say goodnight to the cat (it’s important not to leave him him out - I heard an animal psychiatrist talk about it once on television) and switch the light off.

What happens next is downright annoying because I can guarantee you - and this is no exaggeration - that within two minutes Mrs Canavan will be asleep.

For me switching the light off is where it gets tricky. It takes me ages to drop off.

For her no problem. She falls asleep in seconds and has always been the same.

In fact I remember the first full night we spent together, she fell asleep within a minute of getting in bed.

I must admit I was a little disappointed at the time, for I’d had naturally had other things in mind.

I wanted to do something wild, like eat a hob nob and discuss whose turn it was to put out the recycling bin in the morning, but her sleeping put a stop to that.

And so it has gone ever since.

Every night, while I’m still wriggling around attempting to find a vaguely comfortable position, she is gently snoring and every night I look at her in utter amazement and envy.

Oh to be a good sleeper.

On the flipside, however, what I’m not envious about is the manner in which Mrs Canavan sleeps.

Never – and I’ve not run this next bit past her but I’m sure she’ll be OK with it – has there been a more unattractive sleeper.

She sleeps on her back and within moments of nodding off, her mouth has opened wide, her tongue lolls out like a thirsty dog, and she begins to dribble slightly from the side of her mouth.

If I’d known when we met that this was what I’d have to share a bed with for the rest of my life I’m not so sure I’d have been as keen to go through with things.

She also has an odd habit, in the first hour after going to sleep, of suddenly, and with absolutely no warning at all, letting out a loud and prolonged howl, a little like the sound you make when you very forcefully stub your toe or sustain a particularly nasty paper-cut.

Now as you can imagine, with the light off and all apparently calm, it is rather disturbing to suddenly hear this sound. Even after all these years together, I still leap from the bed in a blind panic each time she emits this noise and frantically punch the air to ward off whichever intruders have burst into the room.

As I’m doing this, she peacefully slumbers on unaware of the havoc she’s wreaked.

And that, while I’m in moaning mode, is another thing. Short of holding an airhorn six inches from her ear, it is impossible to wake her.

I can read a book or watch TV and she will not wake. I’ve even played my guitar in the same room and she has not stirred.

I am happy, of course, that the love of my life is able to enjoy her sleep so much. But it doesn’t half annoy me that I can’t do the same.

Open your eyes and mind your head

A highly embarrassing thing happened to me the other day.

I was driving out of the multi-storey car park close to where I work when I noticed a large 4 by 4 vehicle on the opposite side, about to come into the car park.

As I approached, I realised he had come to a halt under a metal sign hanging down that read ‘your car must be under this height to enter this building’.

He had halted on the other side of this sign because he obviously wasn’t sure if he was going to make it under without hitting it.

I made eye contact with him as I approached in my car and he mouthed the words ‘Am I OK to get through?’ at me.

To me it looked like he would get under the sign by a couple of good inches, so I mouthed back ‘yes, you’re absolutely fine’ and confidently gestured at him with my hand to continue.

Now with hindsight, I perhaps should have taken more care with my visual assessment for he, trusting the judgment of this kind stranger he had chanced upon, accelerated his car forward.

What happened next was unfortunate.

It turned out his vehicle was in fact too high, for as he moved forward he hit the the metal sign which made a horrific scraping noise along the roof of his shiny motor.

He stopped abruptly and turned in my direction, fixing me with what I would describe as a slightly icy stare.

I waved apologetically and then, doing what any decent man worth his salt would do, quickly drove off.

Sir, if you’re reading, I whole-heartedly apologise and, if it’s any consolation, have since booked in at the opticians for an eyesight check.