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Students in a long tail boat in Indonesia. Photo by Aaron Slosberg, Indonesia Semester.

Guerilla Warfare

These days I go to sleep ready for battle. I know I will not sleep through the night. If it is not cockroaches crawling up my legs, rats scurrying in the ceiling, or mosquitoes flying by my ear, I can always count on one sure thing to wake me up: Dimas.

Dimas is a distant relative of my host parents. He is 18 and lives in the house as he studies at a local university. I love Dimas, during the day. Once the sun sets, the white flags of our unspoken war are lowered. You see, I share a bed with Dimas. Dimas is a squirmer, a toucher, and a slapper. There is no question I will wake up at least a few times to the sound of intense rustling, a hand placed (and left) delicately over my face, or a quick hit to the back of the head.

The room we sleep in is extremely hot. We have one box fan for the two of us. Every night I align the fan to the center of the bed. I never figured this would be a problem as it seems perfectly fair. That was until about a week ago…

I woke up in a pool of sweat. I knew the room was hot at night, not this hot. I looked toward my feet and saw the fan had been adjusted to favor his side of the bed. What a rascal! That was an act of war. I responded.

I reached down and adjusted the fan to heavily favor my side. Dimas also happened to be sleeping in the very center of the bed. I could have done a sensible thing like waken him up or just slept in the space I had. Guerrilla warfare seemed like the better option. I laid extremely close and slowly inched against him until he rolled over. I claimed the middle of the bed for the rest of the night. We slept the following night with peace and without sweat, I figured our dispute had been settled… It wasn’t.

The next night, I woke up burning hot. I looked down to my feet to see the fan had not been adjusted. I was not feeling air, yet the fan was on. I was confused but too tired to figure it out. I slept in a puddle that night. The next morning I found that he had adjusted the inner rudders of the box fan to point towards him, cheeky. Now the fan appeared to pointed to the middle while the air actually went to his side. I could not figure out how to adjust them back. The rudders bent but would not stay and I did not want to break the fan. Well played Dimas.

For a few nights, I adjusted the fan so that the air went down the middle. Even though the air was in the middle, the fan was pointed towards my side. This solved nothing, he would just adjust the fan again in the middle of the night, every night. Then, I made the winning move. Instead of going to the air, I made the air come to me. I have a long, cylindrical, tootsie roll-like pillow. Once the fan had been moved to his side at night, which I could rely on, I placed the long pillow across part of the bed at an angle. This way, the air would hit the pillow and be directed to me. This method was non-detectable. Before Dimas wakes up, I simply move the pillow so he doesn’t know about the air funnel directing air away from him as he sleeps.

This morning, my host family lined up to send me off. The parents wished me farewell and I said goodbye to Dimas. He wore a triumphant smirk. Dimas thought he won… if only he knew.