Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sleepless in Minneapolis

I travel all around the country giving workshops at various teacher conferences. After ten years of doing this, one hotel begins to look like the next and nothing exciting ever happens. Well, almost never...

I had just finished a two day conference for the Minnesota Kindergarten Association (MKA) held up in Hinckley, MN at the Grand Casino this past weekend. I gave two workshops and the Association put me up in a nice room at the hotel. The conference ended on Saturday afternoon and I headed south back to Minneapolis for my flight back home to San Diego. I was originally scheduled to take the 9:00 p.m. Delta non-stop on Saturday. However, just days after purchasing my ticket, I was sent an e-mail stating that the flight had been cancelled and that I was now booked on the 6:00 p.m. flight. I called Delta to let them know that the only reason I chose their airline in the first place was because they offered a 9:00 p.m. flight and Southwest didn't. There was no way I could make a 6:00 flight that night when the conference, two hours away, didn't end until 4:00. Now, in addition to paying $25 per suitcase (each way), I had to pay another day of rental car and an extra hotel night. I should have gone with Soutwest in the first place and saved the $50 luggage fee and the headaches that awaited me.....

I arrived back in Minneapolis and decided to stop by the Mall of America, the country's largest shopping center. I had been there on previous trips but decided I couldn't be in Minneapolis and not go there again. After a couple of hours, I decided that it was time to find a hotel. Last time I was in Minneapolis I had stayed at the Motel 6 across the freeway from the Mall of America and very close to the airport. Since it was already late and I had to wake up at 6:00 a.m., I didn't need anything fancy. I checked in and headed to the second floor.

As I neared my room, I could feel music blasting from the room next door. I went inside my room and the music was even louder. Even the t.v. at high volume didn't do much to drown out the noise. Although it was cold, I turned on the fan hoping that would help eliminate the noise. Finally, after midnight the music suddenly stopped. But the walls were so thin I could now hear the t.v. of the neighbor on my other side.

I was so tired I dropped off to sleep despite the noise.

Suddenly I heard footsteps and the creaking of the floor above me. I looked at the clock. It was 4:00 a.m. At least, I thought, I was able to get a few hours sleep. The person above me walked from their bed to their bathroom. From their bathroom to their bed. Back and forth. Back and forth. For over 15 minutes this person paced their room. I don't know if the person stopped pacing or I was again too tired to care, but I dropped off to sleep once again.

Until the woman screamed. Or was it someone's television? Off to sleep again.....

"Police! Open the door!" Were they next door? Across the hall? Upstairs? I couldn't tell, but the paper thin walls let me hear them shout their instructions to open the door at least three times. Were they here for the woman who screamed? Was the pacing man above me involved? Before I could answer, I was asleep again.

An hour later the alarm rang and I had to get ready to go to the airport. As I checked out, the manager smiled and asked how everything went. I said that I had never spent a night with so many noises and distractions. Were the police really here, or did I dream it?

Yes, they were indeed here, she told me. I could tell from the way that she answered that it wasn't the first time the police had come to this motel. But it would definitely be the last time I come.

The optomist in me reasoned that I would be able to sleep during the 3 hour flight home. And indeed as soon as I sat down in my seat I drifted off to sleep. That is until the baby in the seat behind me started crying.....

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