As I sit here typing, I am in a hotel room. I’m someone who doesn’t generally travel much, but I have been living out of a lot of suitcases lately.
It’s not that I’m opposed to travel. The idea appeals to me greatly. There are a lot of places in the world I’d like to go. Unfortunately, all my travel time (and budget) gets spent visiting my out of town parents, attending work-related seminars and conferences, and chaperoning band trips. It’s only the 5th weekend of 2017, and I’m chaperoning my second band trip of the year at the moment. Long before spring comes, that number will be up to four.
Probably because of a lack of experience, I’m not a very good traveler. I don’t ever pack the right clothes. I usually forget something important. I’m forever losing my keys and my wallet, because they don’t get put in the place I usually put them, because that place does not exist in a hotel room. It’s hard to be a creature of habit in an unfamiliar place.
Hotel rooms themselves creep me out a little. I have to force myself not to think about the dozens of people before me who have breathed and drooled into the same pillow and dried themselves with the same towels. The mattress, even if comfortable, is just different, as are all the ambient sounds like elevator noises, which makes it hard to sleep
Remember being a kid? Whoever you are, wherever you grew up, I’m sure you played some variation on the game “lava.” You can only step on the white tiles – the black ones are lava. You can only cross the living room by hopping from couch to chair to table. If you touch the floor, you get burned up in the lava.
Hotel carpeting is all lava. The only thing that can save me from doom is a pair of flip flops (unless I forget them.) I have to hop from the flip flops into the bed, and manage to put on my socks and shoes without my feet ever touching the floor. The flip flops have to be positioned right outside the shower so I don’t have to touch the same tile hundreds of bare feet before me have touched.
I get that much of this is completely irrational. If you’ve so much as driven by my house, you know I’m not a neat freak or a germophobe under normal circumstances. It has been a long time since I’ve stayed in a hotel that wasn’t at least three stars. I am blessedly well employed enough not to have to stay in suspect hotels. The blindingly white sheets and towels where I stay always smell vaguely of bleach – a clean and reassuring smell. There is nothing rational to fear.
Fear is a strong word, and probably the wrong one. It’s more that I feel off-kilter. My stuff isn’t where it is supposed to be. I’m not afraid of cooties, and I know I’m unlikely to get anything that can’t be cured with an antifungal crème or penicillin. I just prefer the cooties and funk to be my own, I guess.
I’m going back to my cootie infested and funk filled home tomorrow. It will be nice to be back in my own bed where all the pillow drool is my own, but it will still take a couple of days before everything gets back to its rightful place and I can find my keys with regularity. Until Friday, that is, when I chaperone another band trip and pack my suitcase yet again.
With all this practice, you’d think I’d be good at it.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.