Tuesday, July 12, 2011

He showed us the way to go

We're heading South, be back in a while. Hope this year's vacation starts out better than the one a few years ago. True story. Leave comments, I will "check in" once in a while.

We reared four children with the mantra, plan ahead and always be prepared. But the year we officially received the senior discount, we decided to chuck it all and travel without an itinerary. The only preparation was packing our suitcases. We agreed to be free old spirits wending our way South, the same direction our bodies and minds are heading.

While the sun was still teetering in the west, and before evening traffic died down on our busy four lane street, my husband drew the curtains, set the alarm and we settled in for a good night’s sleep in anticipation of our fifteen-hour drive to surf and sand and turquoise water. He began to snore soon after his head hit the pillow. I lay awake for hours thinking about our week-long Florida vacation.

The alarm blared like a fog horn and stirred me from my barely hour-long snooze. Oh well, I figured that I would sleep in the car. We sat in the living room and drank a cup of strong coffee, a caffeine kick to keep us awake, and then we were on our way.

Before my honey even started the engine, I realized I had forgotten something. Bill offered to go back inside and get the camera. When he returned he had a sarcastic tone to his voice.

“Were you going to leave the house unlocked the entire week? The back door was unlatched.”

Getting old has its discounts and advantages, but something as serious as forgetting to lock up the house is seriously a disadvantage. I apologized sleepily and we were on our way. As we backed out of our long driveway and turned onto the street, I shouted, “Stop!”

“Why’d you do that? I saw that rabbit!”

“Did you see our front door standing wide open?” I asked, finally wide-eyed. That is the door that YOU forgot to close and lock.”

After a hearty laugh we turned onto the interstate. I propped my pillow behind my head and fell into a fitful sleep. Every trucker’s air brakes blasted me awake.
The slightest swerve of the car caused my arms to flail like a newborn with startle reflex. My head swayed like a flag in the breeze and I finally gave up on sleeping.

We stopped briefly for meals and fuel, because hubby is driven to drive. We arrived in Clearwater, Florida late that evening. We both needed to stretch our locked-tight muscles, I was loopy from lack of sleep and Bill was exhausted from the long drive. We trailed a trolley making its way through the quaint little town.

Towering hotels dwarfed little retro Mom and Pop motels nestled up and down the strip. Marquees read “No Vacancy”. We located a two-story hotel sandwiched between high rise, big name hotels. The peeling pink exterior was as pale as the interior of a sea shell, and the trim was a muted mold-green. The only thing that attracted us was the neon sign in the window flashing, “Vacancy”. A hand-painted sign read: Eight Efficiency Apartments. There was no covered drive to wind through like those monster chain hotels. We pulled into the sandy parking area alongside a hitching post fence and gulped at the sight of the old building and turquoise water. We agreed it didn’t matter where we stayed, as long as we had the lapping ocean in our backyard and the beds were clean.

As we exited the car, we noticed two men ahead of us. One man had his open wallet in hand and the other toted a suitcase. We watched as they entered the sliding glass doors. The office appeared small, so we waited outside on the weathered wooden porch and gazed at the gulf waters as we waited our turn to register.

The salty ocean breeze and evening air enticed me, but I knew if I plopped down, I wouldn’t get back up. I watched the sun dip slowly towards the sea.

“What’s taking those guys so long?” my husband asked as he paced restlessly.

“Let’s just squeeze into the office.” I said and tugged on the door. It wouldn’t budge. The setting sun reflected off the glass. Bill cupped his hands and peered into the office. The door slowly slid open and one of the gentleman peered at us.

“Can I help you?”

“We would like a room too; been driving all day.”

“Did you want first floor?” the man asked.

“No,” I piped up. “We would like an upstairs apartment with a balcony

overlooking the water.”

“Well, you’ll need to register.”

“Okay, that’s what we’ve been waiting here to do.” Bill’s voice registered tired

and aggravated.

“At the reception desk,” the man said politely. We stepped forward to enter. The

man blocked the door. Bill took a step back and said, “Excuse me, sir; go right

ahead.” He waved his arm indicating that the man should exit.

“Sir, ma’am, uhm," he looked pained, "this is our apartment. You’re standing on

our deck. You’ll need to register at the office on the... other... side of the building.”

Then he showed us the way to go.

This stuff only happens to ME! I don't make it up; my life is a comedy or a tragedy.


Val said...

I can imagine how those guys were watching you through the doors, wondering what you were up to. And that description of trying to sleep in the car was spot-on. Have a good time. I'm sure you'll bring back some good tales.

Sioux Roslawski said...

What a funny story. Have you spun that into a submission? If not, why not?

Have a mavelous trip. Write things down (using a pen and paper, if needed) so you have lots of writing fodder when you get back.

BECKY said...

Have a safe trip, Linda! So funny we're both headin' South...but won't see each other!

Bookie said...

Oh, I hope you find it cooler where you are going!

Refrigerator today?

Unknown said...

What an awkward situation. Funny after you think about it but I am sure at the time no one was laughing. Have a wonderful time.

Karen Lange said...

Oops. Oh well, at least you had an exciting start to the vacation! Have a wonderful time! :)

Kim said...

I can imagine how frightened I'd feel if I were one of those men...who the heck are these crazy, grumpy people who won't leave?

I hope your trip is filled with sun and fun, and that you any check-in desks and lobbies are well-marked!

Take care!

Debora said...

We want to do an unplanned trip to Yellowstone. I don't know if you've made me feel encouraged to do it, or discouraged! Have a blast!

Reflections said...

Enjoy your trip... hopefully a little less eventful than the other one.

Pat Wahler said...

Ahhhh, vacation. Lucky you! Have fun and stay safe!


Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Funny! When all three of my kids lived at home we were heading to the airport for a flight to Jacksonville and then off on a cruise. We pulled out of the drive and were nearly at the stop sign before we realized we'd left all of our luggage sitting in the driveway!