The universe continues to conspire against my sleep. The culprits are mostly mundane disruptors like a chirping smoke detector, a 2 a.m. storm or a moment of soul-punching existential angst.
A few weekends ago I learned this sleep deprivation conspiracy is also a reliable travel companion. Trip Advisor and all the other tools at my fingertips could not have prepared me for this one.
My husband had a social event in New York, of all places. I’m frequently going there for family reasons, but this time it would be just the two of us in the big city. We’d do all the tourist stuff that I normally skip. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. A romantic stroll through Central Park. Delicious Italian food. Selfies with the Naked Cowboy.
I was strategic about finding the right hotel for this long weekend getaway. I obsessed over maps and reviews before I decided on Midtown. I wanted a place walking distance to our favorite destinations.
Never miss a local story.
The moment the heavy brass revolving doors deposited us into the lobby, I knew I had made the right choice. I could feel it. That mood continued when we swiped our key card and rolled our spinner luggage across our threshold. A perfect room. More spacious than our expectations. A great locale. And so quiet. It was a solid, peaceful refuge centered in the most electric place on earth.
That evening we were still a little tired from flying and busting out of LaGuardia. We rallied, though. We bopped around a chilly, windy Rockefeller Center and then went out to dinner at another ideal place I painstakingly researched.
Was I Travel Planner of the Century or what?
By the time we returned to our hotel, we were officially wiped out. As soon our heads hit the cool, smooth thread counts and our eyes fluttered shut, we heard talking.
“What is that? A cocktail party in the hallway?”
I got up and walked over to the fisheye peephole. Not a soul in sight.
But we still heard distinct chatter. I followed the sound to the other door across our bed, the one designed for when families book connecting rooms. (I hate these weird double portals with the wimpy looking locks.)
I stood about 6 inches from the door. A woman’s voice. I heard a full, distinct sentence as if I were standing right next to her: “Oh, he’s trying to get into a study abroad program.”
I didn’t even have to do that 1940’s movie thing where you put your ear on a highball glass and plunk it against the door’s surface. It was such clear, enthusiastic yakking.
This was around 11 p.m. We didn’t want to be complain-o jerks the first several hours of our trip. We decided the chatter would stop soon enough.
It didn’t. Somehow, though, we both fell asleep, thanks to travel day exhaustion.
But not long after, I tossed and turned.
“Nanner nanner nanner.” She was still at it even two hours later. I heard only one distinct voice, so I presumed Lady Longwind was on her cell. My husband remained asleep. I eventually dozed off some more.
But by 3 a.m., I was fully awake. The voice on the other side of the door was still in rapid fire mode. Sentence after sentence after sentence. I wondered, how much can one person talk? Were her vocal cords made of Teflon-coated bridge cables? And what idiot was uh-huh-ing on the receiving end?
What to do? A call to the front desk would awaken my husband. Then we’d both be staring at the ceiling, waiting for the yakker’s room phone to ring with a scolding from the manager. And I’d be fired up even more with “official complaint” rage.
There was no winning. I eventually dozed again.
The next day I experienced that miraculous New York-infused energy, with puffy eyes. They had never been puffier. My Naked Cowboy selfies were ruined.
Here’s some five star trip advice: Always pack earplugs.
Reach Denise Snodell firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Denisesnodell