So I'm back. Not sure if you noticed I was away, but I've been at a conference for work. I love any chance to get away by myself, so the thought of a king sized bed in a hotel room and a stack of books on my bedside table was awesome. The conference was inspiring and helpful, but several factors led to my being extra grateful to have made it out of there in one piece.
Maybe it was pulling up to the quiet resort hotel just as the winter sky grew dark. My car was the only one in a vast parking lot on the back side of the building. During the summer this place is buzzing, but in the off-season, the pace slows to a crawl.
On the sidewalk outside my door stood an enormous bird, the size of a turkey, dismembering another bird. I had to pass by to get into my room, and when I did, a swirl of gray feathers enveloped me as I made a frantic dash to the door. I hoped no guts followed me in.
Safely inside my room I wondered, "Did that really just happen?" This was the evidence on my doorstep:
The resort complex was enormous. For 2 1/2 days when I wasn't in the conference area with other participants, I was in a alone in an empty wing of the hotel. Not sure why I was separated from the rest of the group. It could be because I was traveling alone and requested just one bed. It could be to make me easier prey.
Several times I got lost trying to find my room in the labyrinth of hallways that seemed to stretch on forever, yet I never saw another soul.
I wondered if anyone knew I was there. I wondered if anyone would hear my cries if I needed help. I wondered why I never bothered to exercise and how I could manage to get winded merely walking down long empty corridors.
Every horror movie I'd seen in the early to mid-80's came rushing back to me. Why hadn't my parents supervised what I watched? Were they just so happy with the advent of the VCR and an electronic babysitter that they didn't care that a whole generation of kids was gorging itself on Damian, Jason, and Michael Myers?
I realized as a forty-something mom I was no teenage ingenue, but I was a woman, alone, separated from the flock and that, just as much as being part of a horny make-out couple, is the kiss of death in any horror movie.
When I saw a housekeeper back in the main section of the hotel I asked her how many rooms there were. "Over 650 she replied." More like 666, I thought, as loneliness set in and a new snowstorm swirled outside my window.
Summoning up the courage to watch reality tv, finish my books, and luxuriate in this spectacular bed, I tried to shove all thoughts of "red-rum" and Jack Nicholson out of my mind. It wasn't easy, but with prayer, cable, and Diet Pepsi, I persevered. I kept a close eye on the outside (dead bird) door and the hallway door.
I was pretty much at peace.
But when I woke up on the 3rd day and found that we were "iced in," I got out my scraper, got my middle-aged rear on the nearest highway, and headed home.