A Diary from the Night from Hell
There is an old Donald Duck cartoon in which poor Donald, weary traveling duck, stops at a motel to get a good night’s sleep. As you can imagine, his sleep is anything but restful. Advertisement signs flash into his bedroom and the bed isn’t the most comfy. But his true nemesis is the faucet. The faucet dripping, that maddening, slightly irregular sound of a drop of water falling into a porcelain sink. That distinctive ‘Drip tink, drip tink.’ In the still night, this sound resonates and grows and slowly drives him mad.
Oh Donald, I feel you, man.
Admittedly, there was a thermostat on the wall; its blazingly bright blue LED screen, a beacon in the darkness of the room, informed me it was 77 degrees in the room. I set it for 68 degrees. The thermostat was like, “Oh honey, that’s cute, you think you control me,” and proceeded to raise the temperature of the bedroom a degree per hour until it settled on a nice 80 degrees. Oh I know! The window.
I try to open the window. Why is a 6th floor window locked shut?
Are they afraid of jumpers? Is this hotel that bad?
Shift. Shift. Plump the pillow. Throw the other pillow on the ground. I look at the double bed next to mine. Where is Zeke anyway? I lost him to the drinkers earlier, but he knows we are leaving at 7:00am tomorrow morning. He’ll be back soon.
Perhaps I should read? No. Must try to sleep.
I want to sleep naked. But I don’t feel comfortable sleeping naked because of Zeke- there is a certain distance you want to keep between yourself and a male colleague. I roll up my pant legs and the cuffs of my shirt. I throw the comforter off of the bed, and curl up under the sheet. I put a cup of water on my bedside table so I can wet my brow occasionally as need be. Maybe I can cover up the bright light of the failed thermostat with paper?
Don’t have paper in the room. Where is the little pad of paper with the name of the hotel on it?
Found it! It is in the lowest drawer under the TV.
Just realized I have no method of attaching said piece of paper to the thermostat. I add ‘scotch tape’ to my mental list of future packing necessities, along with Valium.
This isn’t so bad. I can manage to fall asleep. I’m sleep deprived for god’s sake! I have slept in airplane seats! This is nothing.
Guided meditations it is then. I choose one called ‘Peace.’
And then one called ‘Mindful Breathing.’ It can’t hurt. I focus on my connectedness with otherness and the eternal truth. Whatever that is.
Yes! I am sleepy! This whole Zen malarkey is working!
Blurgh? Something wakes me up. I hear someone moving around the room. Zeke must be back. That’s good. I look at the clock. I look at the thermostat.
Zeke is deciding to take a bath. Okay. Maybe he has a weird bath fetish this is his third bath in less than two days. I hear the water running, and through my slitted eyes see a crack of light emanating under the door of the bathroom.
Zeke is talking to himself. I can hear his murmurs from behind the closed bathroom door. Why is Zeke talking to himself? Oh wait, maybe he called his sister again. That sounds right, I think I almost hear a girl’s voice on the line. He said they were close.
But he called her earlier today.
And it is almost three in the morning.
Wait a second! My sleepy self attempts to be logical. Why would he call his sister while taking a bath? In the middle of the night? As Ms. Clavel from Madeline would say “Something’s not right.”
Suddenly I hear a girl scream. And moan. And pant. And hear Zeke saying shush. There is splashing. More moans and giggles.
Well then. This… sucks.
Can’t they go to her room?
He grunts. She makes a low keening noise of pleasure. Where are my headphones?
Headphones, headphones, why did I pack everything up earlier? Must I be such a girl scout?
Much better. Let’s listen to some Nickel Creek. Yes, soothe me, ye delightful Irish chords. I can’t hear anything untoward now. Doo doo doo. La la. ‘When you come back down….’
I am totally not taking a shower tomorrow morning.
I might not even pee again until after we leave.
I can’t fall asleep. I finally see a downside to bulky headphones that prevent me from sleeping on my side. Plus, I was never good at falling asleep to music.
Damn it. I can still hear… things. I jack the volume up higher. Trying to fall asleep to loud music, even better idea.
Top volume. I’ll just listen to music until they are done, and then in the quiet of the night I will take off my headphones and go back to sleep. That’s a good plan. I like that plan.
God, it is hot up here.
I am so making him drive most of the way back tomorrow. I won’t even feel guilty.
One last scream and a masculine moan. Apparently top volume on my Iphone is not loud enough when listening to Celtic music. Should have chosen Metallica or something.
I don’t like Metallica.
Oh goody. They are coming out of the bathroom. I close my eyes almost all the way as the brightness of the bathroom light suffuses the room. Zeke is wrapped only in a towel. God, this whole thing is so gross.
Lady, just leave. There is no need to keep kissing him. Stop lingering just outside the door in the hallway talking to him. The light is hurting my eyes. Lady, if you have any mercy, please go.
Girl, I can’t hear what you are saying due to the damaging decibels of “Green and Gray” that are now ringing in my ear, but I am sure it isn’t that important.
Thank fucking God. Zeke shuts the door to the hallway. In anticipation, I take off my headphones. If I fall asleep now, I’ll get one more solid REM cycle in before we need to wake up.
Yeah, good luck buddy, fiddling with that thermostat. The bitch plays hardball.
Zeke flops down on his bed, wearing just underwear. He sleeps above the sheets. Blissful silence. Finally. I nestle down.
And then Zeke starts to snore. Not little adorable baby snores either. I am talking full blown I-have-sleep-apnea-and-may-die-any-moment snores. They increase in volume.
Maybe he will stop snoring. It could happen.
Why karma? What have I done recently that was so bad? The snoring continues, mixed now with whuffling and snorting. Kinda like a pig snuffling for truffles. Okay, what I, a city slicker, imagine a pig snuffling for truffles sounds like. Regardless, it is unpleasant.
I almost feel that I should record this, for blackmail purposes. But too tired for active malice.
With a heavy heart and hands, I put the headphones back on. I switch to Jalan Jalan, as their music is meant for meditation, sleeping, or getting high and talking about important (but not really) things. There are no lyrics. I can fall asleep to this, I have to.
I cannot fall asleep to this.
I can still hear his snores through the music.
At top volume. Should have chosen Metallica or something.
Fuck Metallica. Fuck Zeke. Never mind, Bathtub Girl had been there, done that.
Somehow the music and a pillow on top of my head doesn’t do the trick either. I could sleep out in the hallway… that probably would be frowned upon. They have a 24 hour gym! I could lie on the mats there.
This idea is alarmingly appealing. But… man sweat on the mats.
Oh no. I do need to pee. I could try to hover over the toilet. I try to tell myself not to be silly- they were in the bathtub, not on the toilet. No one has sex on the toilet. I can pee normally without getting diseases.
Man, I don’t want to do this. I could go to the lobby, find a restroom there. Wander in there in my rolled up PJs with a crazy look in my eye.
Sleep on the lobby’s couches. Probably more comfortable than the gym mat. Definitely cooler than my room.
Okay, I really, really need to pee.
I pee and try not to think about it. I don’t attempt the hover because given sleep deprived state would probably fall. The bathroom smells like… well, it is obvious what it smells like. I start to go back to my bed and then stop, and look out the window instead. Look at the skyline, the faint hazy moon, the lights illuminating the streets below. The city is still. Zeke is still snoring loud and proud. I turn and stare at the clock. I sigh. It isn’t happening.
I unpack my laptop. I open it up, on my lap, in the bed. I switch my music to Leonard Cohen’s ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’. I start.
And, just as dawn breaks, illuminating the snowy city below, I finish writing ‘Diary from the Night in Hell.’
I dedicate it to Donald Duck.