The table in our hotel room in North Little Rock had a fish.
I have a bad bobo on my finger and it hurts but I’m here because I love you.
Also because I put earplugs in because they block out the cold cruel world and calm me down and make me feel better.
I had the worst customer tonight. He was a jerk on the phone, he gave the wrong hotel room number, and then he wouldn’t answer his phone when I found out he gave the wrong room number. I know it was his fault because I was standing next to the girl who took his order, and she verified the number he said twice.
Anyway, he didn’t answer, and he didn’t give his last name so the front desk couldn’t help me. So I headed back to the store.
And when I was on my way back to the store, my manager called me because he called the store back. He threw a fit with her because she said sorry we’re closed after her greeting. Like, dude, we are closed. And you would be eating already if you weren’t so high. And then he argued about his room number, but she finally got it.
So I went back to the right room. Dude was gonna be in some serious shit if he had the number wrong again.
It was right.
Anyway, dude had a chair pulled up to his open hotel door. His butt was planted so firmly in that chair that he didn’t get up to take his drink, he didn’t get up to throw a fit about the drink he ordered, he didn’t get up to take his pizza, and he didn’t get up to sign his first name only on his credit card receipt.
And by the time I got back to the store, about four minutes, he’d already called and griped enough that my manager refunded his money.
I can’t stand people like that. Plus he was stoned! He should have been much more chill.
Today we drove to Dallas to spend half the night before getting up at 330am for our flight to Denver.
We went today. And were told the wait would be about two hours.
But while we were waiting, an old friend of mine and his family took us out to dinner at a Mediterranean buffet, which was delicious.
So that was nice.
When we got back to the hotel we went swimming for a bit, and learned that 90° is pretty chilly when you’re used to 50% humidity.
I’m going to freeze my butt off in Denver.
Which is why we brought jackets and pants.
And now for a bit of a nap before dealing with TSA and my mother in a wheelchair.
The shell collector looked around the room. It was an average hotel room: the same mass-produced artwork hanging on the same eggshell walls, the same too-soft pillows sheathed in the same white pillowcases. The same, the same, day in and day out. He had to check the notice on the back of the generic room’s door to remember what city he was in sometimes.
Memory is a fragile thing.
As are the shells he collects.
But their pearlescent beauty brought him comfort that no amount of restless nights in short-sheeted hotel beds ever did. The prides of his collection were the whole, unbroken shells, although the cracked bits and pieces he more often found held their own jagged allure.
He spent so many hours by himself, but the shells helped him feel the opposite of loneliness.
“I had the weirdest dream last night,” she announced to her roommate over their morning cups of coffee, one with sugar, one without.
“So tell me about it,” her roommate prompted.
“I’m warning you, super weird. Anyway, I was in this house, right, and it was like, just this straight shot through the house, but it was infinitely long. I mean, there wasn’t a regular hall or anything, you just had to keep going through one room after another to get to the end of the house. And every room was so different.But it was like a hotel, you know, every room was somebody’s. And I knew all their stories.
“The first room was pretty neat, actually. I knew it was a photographer’s room, dream knowledge, you know, but he wasn’t there. The walls were floor-to-ceiling puzzles of candy. There was a normal hotel bed in one corner, all made up and stuff, and it had one piece of that strawberry candy on each pillow.
“I opened the door, and I came into a room with those two little girls from The Shining. They were just standing there looking at me, and I think the wallpaper was the same as in that hotel from the movie, but I haven’t seen it in forever so I’m not really sure. The end table next to them had a cage with a monkey in it. I kept going.
“I came to a room that was an aquarium. Not full of aquariums, or fish in the walls or anything, but seriously, I was walking through a room full of water in like, this bubble that was just my size and shape. I liked that one. The sides looked like they went on for miles, so maybe I was in the ocean. I don’t know, it was a dream. But the fish acted like I wasn’t even there. Maybe I was in Aquaman’s room or something.
“Then a room with the nicest carpet ever. Like I seriously sank in the carpet up to my ankles. It was so soft, like a cat’s belly, but without the teeth. And without the shedding. There was an old woman in a rocking chair, just rocking and knitting and singing to herself. I didn’t recognize the song.
“In the next room, this guy was just sitting on a chair. Not a recliner or anything, just like a kitchen chair. The only other thing in there was some art on the wall by the far door. He had a framed portrait of Jesus giving a thumbs up, a framed poster of Ganesh some girl gave him a few years ago, and a painting his mother had done of his dog, on which, for some f-in’ reason, she’d placed a crown of flowers. Regardless, he liked to have all his bases covered. I got the weirdest vibe in there.
“Oh, and the frogs! There was a room full of frogs instead of carpet. I don’t even know what kind of floor was under the frogs. Super gross.
“There were just so many rooms. I don’t even remember all of them anymore. But it was like I was a ghost, because nobody noticed me or did or said anything to me. Weird, huh?” She looked expectantly at her roommate.
“Yeah. You wanna ditch work today and sit in those comfy chairs at the bookstore?” her roommate asked.
“Sure, whatever. It’s not like the office will burn down without me there for one day. And I haven’t skipped with you in forever. Let me get dressed, and we can go,” she agreed.