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A Car and Mattress Story – What Were You Thinking?

We have all seen it at least once: a driver and his copilot tooling down the road while attempting to hold a mattress to the roof of the car. Maybe the mattress is being held down by a single piece of twine, but that’s about it. Either the two occupants will have to demonstrate superhuman strength until they reach their destination, or they can expect to lose the mattress at some point. What were they thinking?

That’s what runs through my mind whenever I see this sort of thing. And for some reason, I see it a lot. There must be something peculiar about where I live because mattresses on the tops of undersized sedans are commonplace here. In fact, let me tell you a little story.

I Need to Get Out of the Way

I was recently riding with a friend of mine in her SUV. We were heading home early on a Sunday afternoon. Traffic was pretty normal for that day. As we were moving along, we eventually came upon a pack of slower moving cars. We couldn’t figure out what was going on until enough cars had passed the obstruction to allow us to see what was holding up traffic.

You guessed it. The obstruction was a small sedan with a mattress on top. If you also guessed that a single piece of rope was holding the mattress down, congratulations. You are two-for-two. You are batting a thousand if you also assumed that both driver and passenger had their hands out the windows, holding on to the mattress for dear life.

This isn’t so unusual where I live, as I said. But what was alarming was the speed. This wasn’t a two-lane residential street where the speed limit is 25 mph. We were driving down a busy, six-line commercial strip with a speed limit of 55 mph. Few people abide by the speed limit, by the way. Traveling at 60+ mph is normal on this particular road.

At any rate, we were gradually approaching the offending vehicle when my friend turned to me in said, “I need to get out of the way.” Although not the best way to express what she was thinking, I got the point. She needed to get around the sedan as quickly as possible just in case the hands holding the mattress suddenly went limp.

It’s Not Rocket Science

As we are passing by the low-slung sedan with the improvised windsock on top, I could not help thinking to myself how dumb all of this was. Securing a mattress is not rocket science. Neither is understanding that an improperly secured mattress becomes a sail on the top of a car.

The driver could have easily eliminated all safety concerns with a couple of links of rope. Two perpendicular and two parallel passes would have done the trick. He could have secured the mattress with some buckle straps. Heck, you can buy Rollercam cam buckle straps at all sorts of hardware and department stores. Even cheap twine would have worked had they used enough of it.

“What were you thinking?”

That was the thought running through my mind as we passed the car and went on our way. Needless to say we made it safely to our destination. I don’t know what happened to the mattress car and its occupants. But I do know this: it’s so easy to tie down a mattress with rope or buckle straps that I’m forced to assume laziness is the only reason people don’t do it. What else could it be?

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