My last hotel room was nearly a year ago. The one before that, I was pregnant with B. The one before that…still pregnant, with a smaller size of B.
I went to a writers’ conference in Boston three weeks before my most recent due date and there are days, chaotic, horrible days, when I think about that hotel room and its white sheets, its television, its bedside lamp. Its television remote control. I never think about any of the conference speakers. I couldn’t even tell you what famous writers were there. But I remember the perfect shininess of that hotel desk where my laptop spent the night. My laptop was happy. I was happy. I was alone in a teeming city. I was high above the street fray and my window looked out at other anonymous windows. I skipped the cocktail party and therefore not much was required of me for a perfect nine hours.
One thing required of me: put my room-service tray outside my door when I was finished. Which I did, responsibly, and then swore when I let the door swing shut, me on the wrong side. Irresponsibly. Without my key card.
Luckily I was still wearing my clothes.
I rode the elevator down to the lobby with a young guy who had tried plugging his computer into the phone jack in a vain attempt for internet service. I had to struggle not to smirk. I had trouble not thinking about how much stupider he was than I had been. I may have locked myself out of my room but at least if I were in my room I’d still have use of the phone. But superiority in pregnant chicks is distinctly unattractive, so I disguised my misguided contempt by commiserating over the lack of wifi.
I was barefoot and pregnant in the lobby of the Parker House. I don’t think anyone noticed.
It all worked out fine and soon I was settled comfortably in those white sheets thinking not writerly thoughts but lost in the nonexistent complexities of late night television, the glories of which I have been deprived of since we canceled our satellite service nine years ago. Contentment. I should have been revising my novel, networking with other hopefuls, getting books signed. But. I just couldn’t move.
Soon I would have to go home. Soon the baby would arrive, our family would grow nearly beyond my organizational capabilities, and my writing career would careen even further off the path I’m aiming for. But that’s all good, too. This picture is not of that oasis in Boston. This is the peak of a hotel in Massachusetts where we stayed nearly a year ago, all of us crowded into two beds, leftover Mexican food strewn over the pockmarked desk. A different kind of oasis.
This is wonderful. And it completely resonates with me. I have a just-before-childbirth memory of a hotel room to myself that I cherish. And yet… my very favorite part of any trip is when the three of us land in some un-pre-reserved no-name motel room at the end of a long day’s drive — and then I get to drift off, lulled to sleep by the sounds of my pack, giggling at stupid television shows.