Four mattresses placed on the ground, a few suitcases, flip flops… and 1,000 euros (nearly $1,500) for the one who stays lying down the longest: welcome to the lazy competition organized in a small village in Montenegro, where the four finalists have been in bed for more than 800 hours.
“I have been here for 34 days. I will get up when I get bored – I don’t really know when that will happen,” Lidija Markovic told AFP. It’s not so easy to stay in bed, adds this young beautician, “it’s mentally difficult. We had three psychologists with us who couldn’t hold on.
For more than a month, like her last three idle companions, she has been taking part in the “izlezavanje” – “staying down for a long time” competition, organized for the 12th time by the tourist village of Brezna.
At the origin of the competition, explains the owner of the place, Radonja Blagojevic, “the joke that Montenegrins are lazy. The idea was therefore to create a competition which does not exist anywhere other than here. Among the 21 initial candidates, Montenegrins but also Russians, Ukrainians and Serbs, he adds.
This year, he is impressed by his candidates: they are trampling on the last record which was 117 hours, or 5 days.
From their bed, Lidija, 23, Jovan, 33, Filip, 23, and Gordana, 36, hope to win the 1,000 euros promised to the winner. Even if it means making family, work or studies wait again.
Everyone had money as their main motivation, but the lure of profit gave way to the desire to exceed one’s limits.
“I’m proud of myself for holding on. I am happy here, I am also proud of my family who supports me, of my husband who has been with the children for a month. He said to me: ‘You’re on vacation, lie down and make the most of it!’ says Gordana Filipovic, who works in a restaurant nearby.
Their perseverance has earned them the support of their friends and families, but also great success on social networks. They also have the right to keep their phones or tablets with them in bed – like to read books or receive visitors.
Sitting down or standing up, on the other hand, is equivalent to elimination. With the exception of 15-minute breaks granted every 8 hours – a new feature in the regulations: breaks were shorter, or even non-existent, in previous editions.
Jovan Crncanin, 33, came from Serbia for the second time. Attracted by the price, he has since found in his bed a certain philosophy of laziness.
“I tell myself that if I can here, with the strength of mind, get to the end, then I will be able to transpose this into real life, to face more serious problems and situations.”