Thursday, February 11, 2010

Party at the Hilton

I feel like I'm in Groundhog Day. I remember the last time I felt this way - I had gone to the airport to pick up my daughter and her dad and I was with my then two year old son. We arrived early, and John was restless. I entertained him by riding up and down the escalator. Over and over. Ad nauseum.

I upgraded to the Hilton, not because I was disappointed with the Hampton Inn rooms a couple of weeks ago, but because the fitness room sucked. It was a small room with one ancient treadmill and an Exercycle. The room temperature wall unit was cranked up to 80 degrees - not really conducive to a brisk morning run. The treadmill was one step up from a unit that has no power - the one that is kind of like a hamster wheel, you just hop on and run. I had forgotten to pack my inano, so I just turned on my phone ipod as loud as it would go. The good news was that there was no one in the room to compete with for the machines, or to become annoyed with my music, but the treadmill motor was so loud I couldn't hear the music. When I first turned on the treadmill, the display was like a primitive Atari game that had lost half of it's juice, so you couldn't really see what was going on.

There was an automatic program on the treadmill that was stubbornly resistant to manual override. I cranked up the speed to 6.5, but every minute it dropped me down to 2, necessitating a brisk re-negotiation of the speed with the up arrow. Not only was I on a treadmill that moved across the floor with me while I ran, it also resisted all logical button manipulation (there were only four, it couldn't be that hard) to gain control. I tried random, illogical pressing, to no avail. I even noticed that the manual was connected to the treadmill by a silver ring (I wasn't the only one who was frustrated), and I sat down to read it, but it offered no new insights into getting rid of the ridiculous stair-step program, so I had to admit defeat and work the buttons with my fingers during each workout in attempt to simulate my normal run.

So when I learned today at work, in between doing CME (continuing medical education), finishing tough cases, getting new passwords for remote connection to the main Baptist system for sign out and plugging my CME into a national website, reading paps, doing frozens, etc. - that it might (gasp) snow, again, I surfed around for a different hotel. Even though the chances are slighter, and it is so ironic that my second planned day in Conway in three months is on the eve of possible bad weather, I decided it would be easier to get overnight child care and be in Conway than face a sleepless night worrying about a crazy, slippery interstate commute to work. I mocked my remembered thoughts from two weeks ago that I would not have to stay in a hotel for work again for at least a few years. Here I am again.

A couple of the guys made fun of me. One - a partner, two - a gross room supervisor. So what? I'll admit it. I am an OCD, white-knuckled bad weather driver who would rather face a twenty minute commute than a possible many hour one. Give me a break. Both of these guys won't even go on an airplane due to their own fears - both taking long, cross-country drives to Disney World with small children to avoid flying. We've all got fears. They are just different.

I wondered, when I ate dinner at the hotel restaurant tonight while I was reading my book (there is a restaurant here!), whether there is some sort of universal signaling for hooking up in hotels. Kind of like the ones that were published in the New York Times when that legislator, I forget his name, was caught soliciting sex from a male in an airport. Not that I would want to - random hotel tail is kind of gross to think about - but I remembered being naturally friendly to this guy in the Hampton Inn lobby a couple of weeks ago, a guy that could have easily passed as my father, and he invited me to smoke pot with him in his room. I politely declined, and steered the conversation back toward the twenty-something year-old daughter he had told me about, then quickly exited. How did I get there, in our chat? I wondered, as I walked back to my room. What did I do or say to make him think it was OK to proposition me? I resolved never to be friendly to any random strange guy, ever again, knowing it wouldn't hold very long. I can't help it. Never in hotels, I decided.

Tonight I listened in on a conversation at the bar, between two fifty plus year old strangers. Him trying to impress her with his history of travel and business savvy. Her obviously annoyed by her inability to get a word in edgewise, ultimately begging off to her room for sleep. His frustration, declining a third whiskey to head to his room. No matter how we try to disguise it, we are all just animals.

Groundhogs. I checked out the workout facilities, for the morning. I haven't run all week - all the crazy weather, valentine projects, work, and kids kept me too busy. Not to mention my treadmill at home is in the basement, where the weather is not much warmer than the below-freezing temperatures outside, at 5 a.m. The treadmills here look nice. I remembered my inano, this time. Looking forward to a nice long run before work.

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