Why is it that so many people love to travel? They talk about “getting away from it all,” as though their everyday life is something to escape from. For me, that “getting away from it all” means getting away from a comfortable home, quiet surroundings, and a decent night’s sleep. Why in hell would I want to spend money to subject myself to the trials of travel only to have to survive the anxiety of wondering what fresh torture awaits me at bedtime in some hostile hotel?
Join me now for a walk down motel/hotel memory lane as we revisit lodging experiences we are all so familiar with. I call it the insomnia hall of fame.
Sweet Little Night Terror
It was supposed to be a relaxing vacation to Arizona for my wife and me. After an enjoyable day of Grand Canyon sightseeing, we checked into a nice motel in Flagstaff. It seemed quiet and comfortable. Little did we know what was in store.
About the time we turned off the lights and settled in for some sleep, it started. From the next room came a god-awful scream of a child running across the room. We tried to dismiss it as a bedtime tantrum. Boy, were we ever wrong.
Like clockwork, every half hour for the rest of the night the walls would vibrate with the sound of, “aaaaaaaa, aaaaaaa, aaaaa” as the manic monster stomped from one end of the room to the other and back again. Then, just as we were close to falling asleep after twenty minutes of quiet, it started again.
When pounding on the wall didn’t help I started formulating a plan that included tranquilizer guns or small weapons of mass destruction.
By morning my wife and I both looked like Wiley Coyote after an encounter with Mr. Roadrunner and a ticking time bomb.
Under the nocturnal musician
Jumping ahead in time ten years or so, we traveled to Oregon to enjoy one of those river run excursions where the boat is flying through water hardly deep enough to bathe in. Back at our room that evening we settled in for some rest, giving little thought to the top floor above our room in the rather old hotel.
Around 11:30 pm it started. Could it be that the little brat from Arizona had grown up and found us once again?
Creak, creak, creak across our ceiling the overhead tormentor paced. Not just once, but every friggin thirty minutes. Then a little silence, followed by some guitar playing, some more pacing/squeaking, then some rest before the next round.
Who the hell plays the guitar in a hotel room that late at night? Holy rat crap! Has all awareness of other people evaporated from the minds of hotel guests in this country?
This was not some isolated incident, but a pattern that repeated for at least four hours. Then, to add outrage to injury I had to avoid strangling this moron when in my total frustration we left the hotel at 3 AM to head home and there in the parking lot is see him leaving his room too. I guess he got bored with pacing and playing his guitar so decided to check out. Hell, for all I know he wanted to follow us so that he could keep in touch.
Oh, how I wanted to do a deep space probe with his guitar, then watch to see how he managed to get in his car without playing a G-cord with his butt cheeks.
I am sure he would have taken the encounter out of context and involved the police, the paramedics, and the jaws of life, all at my expense. It would have almost been worth it.
Room at the end of the hall
The reviews said the hotel was quiet and clean. I should have realized that its afford-ability would conceal some tortuous slumber killer.
Learning my lesson from past experiences I told the desk clerk that we wanted a quiet room on the top floor. It should have raised a big red flag when the desk clerk said that the elevator was down for repairs. Reluctantly, I chose a room on the bottom floor since I cannot navigate stairs well, especially with luggage.
We were optimistic when told that we could have a room at the end of the hall, which was away from the majority of guest traffic. What we didn’t realize was that the outside door, right outside our room was suffering from chronic dry hinge syndrome, brought about by excessive use while the elevator was out.
Well, you can no doubt guess where this is going. Yep, the rest of the night, almost every fifteen minutes between 10:30 PM and 2:30 AM we were treated to a symphony of “creeeeeek…kaboom” as the door was used by every nocturnal numb-nuts and hyperactive ass-bite within a five-block radius.
I mean, really. Don’t people use hotels to sleep in anymore? And, if they do, why the hell can’t they consider the light sleepers in rooms nearby?
By now I was convinced that demanding a new room would only get us placed in a room next to an ice machine set on overdrive.
A Hard Night’s Night
As we checked into the classy hotel and followed the friendly bellhop to our suite, I felt that we had finally discovered true vacation bliss. The resort was amazing, the staff incredibly friendly, the amenities abundant, and the price wonderful. This would be our favorite destination for years to come.
Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be. I didn’t know what lurked in the bedroom.
After our long drive, we did what most people do, we flopped down on the spacious bed. It was heavenly. What I failed to consider was that my travel abused body was not in any shape to be objective about bed comfort so soon after sitting in the car for hours.
Later that night, as I climbed into bed I discovered that something had changed. Someone had injected granite into the mattress of the bed. Not just ordinary granite, but that foam type granite that comes out of the dispenser soft as a feather but grows harder over time.
Each hour I spent tossing and turning made the mattress harder. I got up and tried to sleep on the couch in the living room. That gave me enough relief to get a few hours sleep, but its welcome softness bit me in the ass the next morning when I tried to stand up I discovered that I had a major case of, (HBS), “hunch-butt-syndrome.”
After a long history of such out-of-town ordeals, I now find myself-envying people like the couple I saw yesterday. She was pushing their belonging in a shopping cart and he had a foam mattress on top of his head. Maybe they knew something that I needed to learn;
Bring your stuff when you travel.
But, then… why travel?