As we ascend the staircase, it’s remarkable just how ordinary this house appears. The stairs are carpeted in a nondescript shade of mauve. The walls are lined with the usual family photos and school pictures. Sandra, the mother of this household, wears an inoffensive cream sweater and black leggings. There’s absolutely nothing abnormal about her.
As we reach the bedroom, she opens the door for us whispering “he’s in here”. We politely scoot around her and into the shaded bedroom. The curtains are drawn, but a singular ray of light illuminates a figure laid between the sheets of their marital bed. Roused by our cameraman taking snapshots, the figure pulls back the bedspread to reveal a perfectly ordinary middle aged man. He’s only wearing navy blue pyjama bottoms, but his lack of squint and neatly combed hair suggest that he hasn’t been asleep.
This is Kevin. Up until two months ago, Kevin was a perfectly average functioning member of society. For all intents and purposes, he still is. He pays his taxes, kisses his children goodbye when they leave for school, and gets angry at the government when they fail to cater to his individual needs. However, Kevin is part of a subsection of society which many people are not even aware of. Kevin is a Person Who Stays In Bed.
For you and me, we wake up when our alarms go off and, after much cursing, we get out bed and start the day. We take this for granted. The whole getting out of bed experience is a natural and normal part of our daily routine. However, Kevin goes against the fundamental laws of nature by not getting out of bed. As a Person Who Stays In Bed, he simply just stays in bed, not beholden to breakfast radio nor the call of the cockerel.
“It all started a couple of months ago” Explains Kevin. “I felt dissatisfied with life. I felt there had to be more to life than just getting up in the morning. I looked it up on the Internet and found there were thousands of people just like me, who just didn’t get up.”
Sandra places a loving hand on her husband. She is surprisingly accepting of Kevin’s subversion, and is keen to show that a Person Who Stays In Bed can be as regular as you or me.
“Many people wouldn’t be as understanding, but I know that Kevin was born this way. This isn’t a lifestyle choice; this is who he is on the inside. It’d be like asking him to change his sexual preferences or stop liking his favourite breakfast cereal.”
It’s a difficult point to argue against. Whilst this may seem slobbish to the point of eeriness, how can you force this man to get out of bed, without squashing his freedom of expression?
“I don’t want to be discriminated against” States Kevin as Sandra tenderly strokes his arm. “Last week some children came by the house and started throwing stones at my window. I could hear them chanting ‘We’re peeing in your fish pond, and there’s nothing you can do about it’. That’s why I agreed to do the interview, to be understood. To raise awareness.”
I ask him if other People Who Stay In Bed have suffered from similar prejudices. Kevin informs me of a man in Toronto who has been burgled three times in a week. This is because the robbers know that he won’t leave his bed to stop them.
At this point, Kevin begins to feel emotional as a solitary tear rolls down his cheek. He feels that being a Person Who Stays In Bed might make his family an easy target.
We break for tea and biscuits. Kevin and Sandra are very accommodating, inviting us to tuck into their custard creams. As we enjoy the downtime, it’s remarkable to see this husband and wife laughing and joking together after all that has changed recently. These two are a natural fit; two people who are so effortlessly still in love with each other.
Once finished, I ask Kevin about how his new routine has affected his children. He is a father to two young girls, Jasmine and Keira, both of which are in junior school. How do they feel that their father no longer walks them to school?
“It was tough at first, but they both know that I love them. I still give them a kiss goodbye in the morning and we sometimes do homework on the bed. I have an active social life with my kids”
And what about the effects it has on them?
“Keira once spent three days sat on the couch without moving. I suspect she could also be a Person Who Stays In Bed, but she hasn’t found a way to articulate it yet.”
“And if she is, we couldn’t be more proud” chimes in Sandra.
It’s at this point we wrap up our interview with this charming family. As we head out to leave, we notice Jasmine has firmly planted herself on a beanbag in the living room. You can’t help but wonder if she will take after her father. Who knows what the future may hold for the next generation of People Who Stay In Bed.