From Lobbies to Luxuries

Kristin Wells

3:45 pm: It’s a Saturday afternoon and the Wells family is rushing to leave home. After a morning of cross country, ACT tutoring, yard work and phone calls, we left a little later than we planned. I had high expectations for this trip. I’m going to experience Chicago (more than my nine-year-old self did the last time I was in Chicago) and visit three colleges. My mind couldn’t stop focusing on the adventure I knew was awaiting me in the city. I was not to be disappointed.

8:15 pm: The first and only stop of the journey was at a Panera and then to fill up on gas. What was supposed to be a quick 15 minute stop turned into a 45 minute talk with this energetic 71-year-old. We began talking about running when she mentioned that I looked like a runner. We went from running to schools to physical therapy to medicine to nutrition to anything in between. Oddly enough, she reminded me very much of my grandma. We hadn’t even made it to Chicago yet and already this trip shows promise.

12:15 am: We drove in and waited at the front desk to be checked into our downtown Chicago hotel. Our bodies slumped in tiredness and eyes battled to stay open. Then suddenly I latch onto what is being said, they’ve overbooked the hotel and sold our reservation. Wait, what? You can only imagine the frustration.

1:00 am: Things are beginning to get a little stressful. This is not the adventure I had in mind. I’m not at all anxious, of course not, why would I be? The only good side to being stuck in a hotel lobby is that they’re giving us free food.

1:30 am: While the manager was very apologetic, she was not a fairy godmother able to create rooms out of pumpkins. The closest hotel room they found was an hour and a half away. More frustration sets in.

2:00 am: The family is beginning to get a little crazed. The sound of laughter bounces off the walls. We began to make friends with the front desk people as time goes by. I was oddly not tired, I think I hit a second wind. Ah ha, this IS an adventure, let’s test the limits of how late we can stay up.

2:15 am: I have found a new favorite pastime for the early morning hours: people watching. There must have been a wedding that night and then an entire contingent of Texas fans walks by defeatedly.  I also gather that our hotel must sit right above a club, maybe it’s even connected.

3:00 am: Not wanting to sleep in the lobby, we asked for a conference room, which was secretly provided. After getting settled on the floor there, we catch wind that someone is checking out. Do we glimpse a light at the end of the tunnel? Could this adventure have a happy ending?

3:15 am: Confirmed: a couple is checking out of a room because the beds aren’t comfortable enough. We quickly jump at the opportunity to even have a bed. My mind races at the thought of having a bed. It’s so early in the morning that anything is exciting.

3:30 am: We settle into a long-awaited room, quickly reminiscing over our night, but eager to sleep. I can’t help but examine my thoughts before I hit the pillow. Is it really an adventure if you don’t face roadblocks and challenges? We went from living in the lobby to the luxury of a room. I will never again overlook the luxury of a room and bed. The city awaits for many more adventures, but for now I am content with the adventure of the missing hotel room. Adventure really can come in any form and when we find it in the little things, it makes life worth living. Our eyes are relieved as we finally give in to sleep, dreams of the next adventure dancing in our heads.