It was 2:00 am, and I was in laying bed listening to my husband snore. Snoring so loudly that I was sure there was going to be a phone call at any minute from the front desk. A ring from a phone that would not wake my husband, but I would jolt out of bed to answer it because let’s face it; I loved him, he had been sick and worked harder than me. I would pick up that phone on the first ring, to find a Front Desk Manager grumpily say, “The people on the other side of you can’t sleep because of the noise coming from your room, they say it must be an animal.” Of course, this phone call never happens, and I get out of bed, find a coat, my phone, a method of payment, and my sneakers in the dark room, because again, loving wife, and walk out of my room quietly closing the door behind me. The first thing I notice is the quiet. That hall was so quiet I seriously contemplated getting my pillow and sleeping out there, but as quiet as it was, it was bright. Like the hallway was what powered the sun and this was where the sun comes to sleep. So, I instead trudge onto the elevator to find that front desk clerk and beg him for my own room. To understand a little why at 2:00 in the morning I was so desperate to find a room for myself, I was tired, almost dead tired and here’s why.
I am confident, as I listened to my husband snore so loudly he was vibrating the bed, that this was the day all the Gods in heaven and earth decided that I would pay for my past sins. But in order, they had to plan, you know, like all Gods. So as they all gathered in a coffee house somewhere between heaven and earth, some smart guy said: “Well, first we will have to make sure she’s exhausted”. Then, Joesph or Joe as he prefers, says, “ well just give her a case of insomnia the night before she has to fly because we all know Ottumwa is the perfect place to have someone pay for past sins.” Good idea they all shout in harmony.
So the night before I had to fly, sure enough, me, who never has any trouble falling asleep or staying asleep was up, ironically until 2:00 am. At 5:30 am, my alarm went off in my ears and I crawl out of bed to my shower. As I was walking out to meet my Uber to take me to the airport, I get a glance of my eyes, there was no white in them, but I didn’t have to see my eyes to know that, the fact that they were biting like they were on fire explained the redness.
Now as one would expect, it is not easy to get from Nashville, TN to Ottumwa, Iowa and two flights (one almost missed because of my late arrival) and an hour and a half drive from Des Moines you land in a town that is old, cold, snow-covered and empty. But it was all ok, I was tired, but hadn’t seen my husband in over a week, so we were happy. Fast forward through the day and finally landing back at our hotel room around 11:30 pm. I was exhausted having only survived on three hours of sleep and was sound asleep long before said husband. Until around 1:00 am and when Joe’s plan is in full effect.
I step out of the quiet but ever so bright elevator and am shocked that the lobby seems even brighter than the hallway upstairs and there sits Tom, the front desk guy, at a table, watching tv and drinking coffee. “I need a room,” I say. “I’m sorry we have none, we actually have minus three rooms,” says Tom. My head is screaming that makes no fucking sense, but my mouth says “not even with my 596,874 SPG points?” “Nope.” I look at him, then past him and out the doors. I could sleep on the couch in the lobby, right next to where the sun sleeps I think, when I see the red letters of a Hampton right across the parking lot. I say to Tom, “you think they have rooms next door?” and he gives me a look like lady I just work here not there. So yes, I don’t even hesitate, I walk outside across three snow drifts up to my ankles and arrive at a less bright lobby and a front desk guy named Joe. “Do you have a room?” I ask, and he says “why yes.” Which is the answer one would expect from a hotel in Ottumwa Iowa on a Tuesday evening (well technically Wednesday morning) at the beginning of January?
And then it was as if Joe from the table of Gods was watching the entire scene, this happened. I hand him my credit card and Hilton’s rewards number he says “oh wait, no, I’m sorry, but I’ve got plenty for tomorrow” with an almost sinister smile, but maybe it was my biting bloodshot eyes that made it seem like that. I book a room for Tomorrow and trudge back out into the snow. It is at this point I see our rental car and seriously think about spending the night in it. But it is, of course, parked directly under Streetlamp. I’m telling you those Gods know how to plan lessons.
I walked back into my hotel to only to hear Tom explaining to someone on the phone his whole minus three rooms theory and begin to think he just doesn’t want to work. As I get in the elevator, I wonder what kinds of sins must HE be paying off to be a night auditor for a Holiday Inn Express in Ottumwa Iowa and shudder at the thought. I finally arrive on my floor and think maybe my husband will be up wondering where I went, surely he heard me close the door. I put my key up against the lock and noticed I couldn’t hear anything. Ahh, he was awake, and I could go back to sleep. Red, this was the color was coming from the lock to my room. What?? That must be a mistake. I try again. Red. I almost sit down in the hallway and fall asleep right outside that room. Then I look at the room number. Wrong end of the hall. Wrong room. I get to the other end, my end, and put my key to the door, my door. Green. Ahhh, maybe I’ve learned the lesson the Gods needed me to. Maybe my husband was worried I was gone and didn’t know where.
Nope, here I am almost 3:00 am in the exact same spot I had started the evening, thinking maybe sleep is overrated and then it hits me. Xanax. My sleeping husband has Xanax in his bag, where was that bag? I search and search, in the dark, again because, the loving wife when Jackpot, there it was! As I crawl back into bed, I apologize to the Gods and close my eyes.