Monday, March 10, 2008

Home Away from Home

C.L. Beck
© 2008

I don’t know whether it was the irritating noise, the cramped space, or the slip-and-fall in the bathroom that made me vow never to spend another night in a hotel.

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My husband, Russ, had a conference in Salt Lake City for a few days, and I thought it the perfect opportunity to go along, hole up in a hotel room, and write my brains out. It’s impossible to say why that thought even flew over the cuckoo’s nest, because I seldom get a lot of writing done in a hotel room. The reasons for the lack of accomplishment are varied. Mostly, they center on hours spent taking our dog, Corky Porky Pie, out for a walk fifteen times a day to insure an empty bladder (the dog’s, not mine) … and changing rooms.

Yup, I said, “Changing rooms.” It seems no matter how many years in advance we reserve our little home away from home, we end up with less-than-stellar accommodations. One time, we had a hotel room that I swear had a disease living under the bed. Another time, the lighting was so poor the cockroaches were mugging each other.

This time there were no diseases and no cockroaches. Instead, the staff put us in a closet next to the elevator. A closet with a square, chunky heater. You know the type; a heater that clunks all night long, shaking the walls and floors. The kind whose rumble prompts you—in your sleep-induced haze—to leap out of bed and jump in the bathtub fully clothed in your Big Bird pajamas, in hopes of surviving what you think is an earthquake.

However, the heater was noiseless in comparison to the elevator. Every time someone got in it, that contraption would give a, “whiiiiiiine, cheeeeese, cheeeeese” sort of squeak, followed by banging that seemed to come from the bowels of the earth. It did this every few minutes, as people moved up and down the twelve-story hotel. All night long.

Then there was the bed, crammed against the wall, with barely enough space to fit my bunny slippers on the floor next to it. When I needed to go to the little girl’s room in the middle of the night, my choice was to slither all the way to the end of the bed, or crawl over Russ and fall on the floor with a thunk.

After an entire night of whine and cheese by the elevator, I convinced Russ we needed to change rooms. He discussed it with the staff and they agreed. So it was ,while Russ attended the conference workshops, that I repacked our belongings and loaded everything onto a luggage cart that resembled Dr. Doolittle’s Pushmi-pullyu. Tossing Corky Porky Pie on top, I pushed-pulled the thing to the whining elevator and rode down to the seventh floor, where a freshly cleaned room awaited us.

Except when I got there, the room was only half-ready and the maid cleaning it spoke little English. However, that wasn’t all that was wrong. Oh, no. We were in for quite a few more surprises.

*********

Are you wondering yet where the slip-and-fall in the bathroom comes in? It seems you’ll have to stop by again next Monday to find out!


What books C.L. recommends:
Life is Like Riding a Unicycle by Shirley Bahlmann
Publishing Secrets by LDS Storymakers (BJ Rowley and others)
Writing for Story: Craft Secrets of Dramatic Nonfiction by Jon Franklin
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Rennie Browne & Dave King

C.L.’s other work:
Newspaper Column
Ensign Magazine, Dec 2007-Q&A
2007 League of Utah Writer's Award-Historical Fiction

4 comments:

Stephanie Black said...

What a nightmare! I can't wait to hear the rest of the story.

Keith Fisher said...

good story. what are you going to do at the conference? I know . . . give up sleeping and write twenty-four hours. great story can't wait for round two.

C. L. Beck said...

Stephanie,
Yes, it would have been a nightmare, but with the elevator banging and clunking all night long, I never got to sleep long enough to have a nightmare! :)

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Stephanie.

C. L. Beck said...

Keith,
Ah-ha! That's a great idea to write for 24 hours.

Oh, wait, I tried that once in college, and when it was over, I'd scribbled all my notes in a little square the size of a sugar cube. :)

Thanks for reading and commenting, Keith!