Tuesday, September 8, 2009

URBAN SPRAWL


I have the best boss. He’s easy to have on a ride along, coaches through encouragement, and flew me to a meeting location on Wednesday evening so that I wouldn’t have to get up at 3AM on Thursday to catch a flight out of Reno and make a connection in Vegas or Phoenix in order to be in San Diego for the 9AM start.

Godlike.

Both he and I were scheduled to fly in on Wednesday, so he used his concierge bitches to book my hotel stay at the same time they did his so that my room was billed at his primo I-travel-way-too-often rate. Once reserved, he changed the room from his name to show up as booked under mine.

Seeing as I’m very busy and important, before traveling to San Diego I had to make Wednesday count. Thus I got up early, tortured myself on the treadmill, did shower and such, snagged a granola bar and zipped out the door to hit the streets. I drove down to Carson City, visited two offices, and then made my way (quite like the proverbial bat out of Hell) back to Reno for a lunch appointment.

I did the lunch song and dance, hit two more offices, and then zoomed back home to meet The Husband so that he could drop me off at the airport. (When I am doing a multi-day out-of-towner I prefer to have my dude retrieve me from the airport when I return rather than parking at long-term before I depart and ferrying myself home; makes me feel less isolated that way.)

Already feeling the effects of the day-to-day part of my day, I nestled in at the gate to wait to board and to phone tech support for a belated installation that didn’t get it all the way done before boarding. Once on the cattle car, I selected an aisle chair and started shuffling through my previously neglected prework materials. From Lindbergh Field I took a taxi to my hotel, and during the 20 minute ride fantasized about the soft white beds at the Marriott Gaslamp.

I clacked and rolled up to a front desk strewn with enormous candy dishes and lit with colorful bulbs. Making eye contact with an unoccupied clerk, I made my way forward, saying, Romo. Checking in.

She tapped at her keyboard. And tapped some more. And couldn’t locate my reservation.

First name?

Megan. Megan Romo.

More tapping. No finding.

Could it be under another name? she inquired.

From the fog of fatigue I remembered our initial booking arrangement and said, Oh! Yes, it could. I’m so beat that I forgot. Check under Will Madsen.

Click. Clack. Tap tap.

Ah. Here it is . . .

She ran my card and asked how many card keys I wanted.

Two, I told her. The stay was only for a night but I invariably get a dud key that won’t open the door and have to handle the inconvenience of calling down for a new door-opener. Preventative measures born of experience dictate a back up key for expediency.

You’re in room 1923, she said, gesturing towards the elevator bank, You’ll need to use your keycard to get up there.

I boarded the lift alone and once the doors were closed, I sighed. I allowed my mind to luxuriate in the thought of opening my door, rolling a few feet, dropping my bag, and collapsing onto the bed.

To a jarring, ding!, I arrived on the 19th floor and wheeled my way to my room. Key card in. Door open.

There, on the bed, set out neatly on top of a suitcase, I saw a man’s casual shirt and jeans. A shirt and jeans of which I recognized the taste.

OhmygoshOhmygoshOhmygoshOhmygosh! She gave me the keys to my bosses room!

My eyes bugged out of my head, my heart started to bounce back and forth in my chest, and as fast as I could—before my manager could do something terrible like immerge from the bathroom in a towel, or worse, not in a towel—I backed out of the room.

I jerked back so quickly that I stumbled back onto my bag, snagged my heel in the dangling strap, hopped a couple times to try to catch my balance and untangle, lost my that balance, and tumbled over the top of my bag, falling onto my stomach on the hallway floor. Fortunate, I pulled the door shut with me.

Unfortunately, a bellboy a few feet down the hall was a spectator to the discovery and subsequent dance.

I’m so sorry. I told him, doing what I do—apologizing when there’s nothing to apologize for, I’m really very sorry.

The cute twenty-something surfer-by-sunrise-bellboy-by-night avoided laughing at the exhibition and smiled, asking, Are you okay?

Oh, yes, I replied, now on my hands and knees and still held hostage by my luggage, I’m sorry.

I found my feet, again got my heel caught in the strap of my bag, tripped over it, but this time managing to remain upright, and made for the elevator where the bellboy was holding the door for me.

Inside and on our way down, he asked, So how’s your day so far?

Trying to untangle my carry-on from my mean-spirited bag I said, Uh, a little harried so far.

He didn’t know what to say back, apparently, for he kept his tan, attractive face from emitting sound or changing expression.

Returned to the lobby, I rushed back to the front desk, seeing the huge bowl of salt water taffy and considering burying my face in it, and nearly threw the two keycards to room 1923 in the clerk's face. (Not unkindly; I just wanted to get rid of the things.) You gave me the keys to his room! I exclaimed. Throw them a-way! Far away.

The little clerk displayed mortification and went digging for my real reservation which she finally located under my own name.

Promise me that no one else is in that room, I said.

I promise. It’s all yours.

And though when I arrived in room 903 I opened the door slowly and walked in with trepidation, thankfully, it was.

4 comments:

Michele said...

Reminds me of a time when my husband went away for work and although thought separate room had been booked ended up having to share a room with his boss. Now boss = a strange man (Asperger-ish tendencies, probably high functioning, definitely on the spectrum. Some odd behaviours, no real social skills, inability to read non verbals etc.) His boss persisted in walking around in his jocks majority of time. Not. Something. You. Want. To. See.

Jessica said...

this post was especially spectacular. your writing allowed me to actually visualize the horror, imagine myself tripping in my heals, and apologizing profusely to the bell boy (apologizing profusely is a terrible habit of mine as well). did you tell your boss what happened?

Jessica said...

that should of course say "heels" not "heals". goodness, someone needs to proofread while commenting on blogs in the middle of class!

cat+tadd said...

The things you endure in your life. This is me being stunned