It’s 3AM, I Must Be Lonely

- by Michael

For the record, I hate Matchbox 20, but the song title fits.

Joanie and I recently acquired a new humidifier.

Our apartment is, like many older New York City apartments, unbearably arid. I personally always wake up with an epic level of thirstiness, so it doesn’t really bother me any more than I’m already going to be bothered, but it does tend to wear on Joanie. You know, the whole singer thing. So we’d talked about getting one for a while, picked out one meant for travel, and picked it up at WalGreen’s while at my parents’ house for Christmas – the bedroom there isn’t quite as desiccating as our home, but it’s close.

Right away, we noticed Problem #1. Namely, that instead of just converting liquid water into breathable water, our little champ had decided to double-major in Luminescence, undoubtedly trying to be all it could be. In other words, we had acquired a humidifier-slash-nightlight. In the same way that an interrogation lamp could be called a “night-light.”

There are two sources of light involved here. One is a little green spear of a bulb that informs you, with a ruthless sort of cheer, that your humidifier is indeed on! You’re welcome! I know you’re trying to sleep, but since you rolled over I thought you should know – it’s on!

The second is – I kid you not – a backlight tucked away within the transparent water chamber itself. Our humidifier not only insists that we know that it is turned on, but that we retain the capacity to actually see the water itself at all times.


Neither of these lights has an “off” possibility, by the way.

We put some books in front of the light (and by “we” I mean “Joanie nagged and pushed me until I, grumbling, shambled across the room”) and went to sleep.

The next night, we were introduced to Problem #2 – namely, that the humidifier doesn’t actuallywant to convert liquid to vapor. Or, rather, it only chooses to do so when inspired by The Muse. When this inspiration runs dry, our humidifier simply stops its puffing.

Which, in turn, allows the water to build up in the chamber until it leaks all over the dresser in your old room at your parents’ house.

(Sorry, Mom.)

We have tried to help our poor little humidifier out by surrounding it with towels, by propping it up first one direction then another to encourage the steam to come out, by turning it off in exhausted frustration while mumbling what would be profanity if we were up to it. (OK, that last one really just helps us.) But we’ve discovered that only one thing actually encourages our little humidifier to do its job properly and consistently:

It needs to be held.

I’m being completely serious right now, my friends. If you pick it up and hold it – at any angle – it will happily spout vapor ad nauseum. I would imagine that, if we were to snuggle up to the humidifier and maybe watch some Thursday-night comedy, or perhaps Downton, it might solve the national deficit. Or not. I could be exaggerating.
The point is, we have here an appliance that appears to require oxytocin in order to function properly. So we’ve decided that, from here on out, one of us (probably me) must cuddle the humidifier each night so that the other wakes up properly hydrated.
At least I won't be lonely.