I am trapped in my hotel room as I write this. Around 5:20 this morning I stepped out of my room so I could throw away boxes of candy I had purchased at the next door Winco last night. Hot Tamales, Tootsie Rolls, Heath bars – two packages of each – needed to be disposed of. My diet can not accommodate the impulse purchase made last night, when sugar seemed to be more important than looking good for my daughter’s wedding. Lying in bed, downing handfuls of hot tamales was satiating at the time, but in the cold of morning, they had to go. Cold hearted, but necessary. The candy had to go.
I carefully took my room key for the quick stroll down the hall to the corner trash receptacle and dropped the offending sack into it, returned to my room, and found that my room key did not open the door. Sticking the rectangle of plastic into the slot time and again, trying the door handle, resulted in the same vacuous response I used to get back when I asked my kids to fulfill some chore at home. Nothing.
Just a red light blinking in the middle of three.
No problem, I thought, and I headed to the front desk, which happened to be as far away as it could be – my room was like a distant shore. Dressed in my pajamas, I walked the halls. One man emerged from his room. He had the look of a smoker who needed his fix. Down the hall, a young woman wore her Camel-back, earphones. After checking her cell phone she moved to the exit for, I supposed, her morning run.
The desk clerk re-entered the information on my key and I was off to my room, down the hall again, more people emerging from their rooms. These guys looked like construction people, ready to hit the free breakfast which started at six. But it was still only 5:30 and I assumed they, naturally active people, perhaps just needed to get out of the confines of their rooms.
At my room door, number 148, my key still did not work, so back to the front desk again. They train the folks on the desk I think to handle guests-whose-room-keys-do-not-work-at-5:30-in-the-morning and I passed, on the inside of my head, the opportunity to be grouchy with him. He sent me back to my room with the promise that someone would come to help me. Nice fella.
A tall, slender expert-looking guy with a ball cap and blue service-looking shirt was waiting for me. He had tried his key and announced that the lock battery must be dead. Inwardly, I sighed. Outwardly I watched as he used a long wire – a special tool – to go under the door, up the other side, to hook on my inner door handle and to pull it down and open the door. That was the plan and it just took some jiggling around and then it was the reality. He promised that he would notify maintenance to come fix the door when they came in at 6:00 a.m.
5:40 a.m. I could do nothing but wait. The free breakfast was not open and even if it were there was no assurance I could get back into my room. So I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, at 6:40 I called the front desk. The nice fella told me that maintenance actually comes in at 7:00. Apologized, sincerely I feel (though one doesn’t know if secretly they are laughing at people from out of town who get stuck in hallways in their pajamas or in their rooms).
“Help, I’m trapped in my room and I can’t get out!”, I think to myself.
It is 7:00. I am trapped here indeed. Only time will tell if anyone shows up to release me.
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