Tuesday, September 22, 2009


A 9-hour travel day. A couple weeks of training ahead. In the hotel. Room 353. Face washed. Teeth brushed. Contacts out. Pajamas on. In bed by eight. Alarm set for six.

Ten hours of sleep
banked, and I'll be on my game tomorrow.

But at 11PM I'm jerked from slumber. A soft but persistent beeping invades my sleep cycle. I bang around the unfamiliar space until I uncover the source. A fancy alarm clock. The one that had been spouting lute tunes intended to soothe when I had walked in and dropped my bags hours earlier.

Hazy in the head, in the stupor of recent sleep, I yank the clock from the wall and shove it under the pile of pillows on The Husband's side of the bed. No, he's not with me, but I sleep to one side; there's always a place for him.

The pricey down bedclothes don't mute the irritation. So I grab the clock, stumble into the bedroom doors, bonk my head, clutch at the handles and fumble to get out, and then, feet heavy, I make my way into the living/kitchen space to search for a place sufficiently far from my bed to banish the clock.

While pawing through the cushions on the sleeper sofa, I notice that the room is black. No activity lights on the DVD player or the AC temp control. The power is out. But the clock still tells the time. 11:06PM. The jarring sound persisting from its innards must be the spawn of a reserve battery.

Does the entire hotel find itself powerless?

No, for the basketball court's lights glow through the drapes, and there is a shining from the hall through the crack beneath my door. So I deposit the clock on the couch and lurch back to the bedroom, slapping flat surfaces, hands searching for my phone. Small paws close around the tool and light it up. I google the hotel and call the front desk.

The elderly gentleman that had taken my AmEx earlier zips right up to my room to flip the breaker--an act I assure him I am capable of executing if he'd just tell me where to find the box.

He arrives, and among the nocturnal mayhem, I find something to be grateful for: in the blackness of my room, the man is unable to see me in my deep-sleep glory, an image worthy of Mary Shelley's talent for grotesque description. Using light from the hall, he lifts the bulletin board from the wall to reveal the breaker box. He flips the switch. No magic. He's still protected from the shock of my vertical locks.

In a flurry of apologies he leaves me to dash downstairs. He returns with a key for room 342 and suggests that I sleep across the hallway and return to my room in the morning to slog through my AM rigmarole.

Too fatigued to question logistics or timelines, I pocket my phone and bumble across the hall to room 342. He is then assaulted by the sight of my hair.

Once woken I cannot get back to sleep. Opportunity lost. That's the true inconvenience.

So I toss and turn for the next hour, becoming more and more alert, and then recall that I have hummus and soymilk in my dead fridge across the hall. I roust myself and return the space strewn with my belongings to collect the food and bring it to the functioning fridge. At 12:30AM, I unlock the door to room 353. Where the power is back on.


Jaime Stephens said...

weird and annoying....

Jessica said...

i would have had my angry face on had that happened to me.