To think, 10-weeks ago, I had this small part of me that envied guys who travel on business. I know, I know, they all say, “it’s hell”, but then they share stories about things they’ve seen and airports they hate and I think, “well, it’s not all bad, right?” I thought there was a certain romanticism they must be missing. Turns out, I think the reason they tell the stories is because without a good story every now and then, they’d snap. I could see it happening.
But maybe you think, “aw, Don, it can’t be all bad. You had dinner with your Uncle and cousin, you’re seeing parts of the country you’ve never seen, and you’re out selling a totally awesome and exciting product.” Yes, that’s true. However …
Ask me about Monday night? Oh, no …wait, but not before you ask me about Sunday night. Well, let’s not talk about Sunday night and my 3 a.m. refrigerator repair moment, but we’ll mention it just to illustrate that a perfectly relaxing and wonderful weekend was kinda ruined by this hour spent fixing my fridge in the middle of the night and I went off to work very tired on Monday. No worries, I thought, I’ll catch a nap on the plane and then get to bed early once I land get into New York.
Everything was going according to plan until that time of day when, oh, you should actually be going to sleep. As I laid there ready to drift off to sleep, I suddenly noticed the toilet was running. Turns out, the flapper inside doesn’t quite create a seal, so every 20 minutes it would run for 30 seconds to refill the tank to the point the “float” turns off the valve (fooooooooossssshhhhhhh). 20 minutes later …it happens again. In between the running toilets, I then noticed the shower was dripping …a nice, audible drip from the shower head that “ting’d” as it hit the faucet. A charming chime sound except for when you’re trying to sleep.
I turned on the TV and pressed the “Sleep” button for 30-minutes …I knew that I could fall asleep with the TV on. And I did.
Fast forward to 3 a.m. and queue the loudest noise I’ve ever heard …the fire alarm blast jolted me from my slumber and for 45-seconds I scrambled around my room trying to decide if, yes, there was a fire and that was an alarm, or maybe I accidentally set the alarm on my iPhone and picked a really obnoxious ring tone. I finally found a light switch, pulled on my jeans and a t-shirt and as quickly as it started …it stopped. So I peaked my head out into the hallway and a dozen or so other people were also out there all sleepily seeming to ask, “WTF?!?!?” Someone came out of their room and said the front desk said there wasn’t a fire, false alarm, and we’re OK.
I went back to bed.
Drip, drip, drip. Fooooooooooosh. Drip, drip, drip. TV …sleep timer …almost asleep and …BOOOOWAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
The loudest noiseI’ve ever heard was back. But only for 15-seconds …barely enough time to grab my jeans. Me …back in the hallway. Others …also in the hallway. Me …back in my room. Lights out. Drip, drip, drip, ting, ting, ting, foooooooosh (that’s the toilet running).
20-minutes later …the loudest noise I’ve ever heard …back again …for 30-seconds. Me …dialing zero. Front desk guy …”sorry, they’re working on the boiler and it’s setting off the fire alarm but the fire marshal is on his way to disable the alarm.”
Me …”I just wanted to make sure my life wasn’t in danger.”
I went back to bed. This happened three more times. The shower head never stopped dripping. The toilet never stopped running. And there were babies in the hotel …wanna know how I know that? Because they were crying from being woken up so many times. And, it obviously rattled some nerves because two guys decided to calm their nerves by smoking a joint just outside my window and the faint smell of marijuana filtered into my room and I was suddenly aware of their tell-tale pot-induced laughter.
Drip, drip, drip, ting. Fooooooooooosssshhhhh. Crying babies. Laughing dudes getting high. It was 4:15 a.m.
Yup …traveling is pretty exotic. The week got better. I’ll blog about that tomorrow.
Follow me at @donkowalewski.