Nearly three years ago I was getting settled in to a Nashville hotel after a long flight. I had a LOT of work to do that night to get ready for a large class I was teaching the next day. I was exhausted mentally and physically from the early morning, layovers and in anticipation of the late night that I knew I still had ahead of me. My assistant and I decided that we’d get unpacked, change our clothes, and then meet up in about an hour.
My hotel room was a bit “different.” The hotel was in the midst of doing some renovation. In order to create more of a “suite” environment they had essentially combined two regular hotel rooms together in the corner of the hotel. In one of the rooms there was a huge screened TV, a sink area, a large refrigerator, sofas, dining table and some guest chairs. The other room was converted into a nice sleeping area. As a result of these renovations, there was a main door that led out to the hallway of the hotel, and then behind that door there were the two original room doors set at a right angle to each other. Essentially this created a little tiny 3 feet by 3 feet space between the two right angled hotel room doors, and the main door that went out to the hotel hallway. Since both room doors were essentially IN my room, it never occurred to me that I couldn’t move freely from one room to the other without needing a room key.
I gradually changed my clothes as I was unpacking. You know, you’ve got to unpack enough to be able to change, right? Besides, I couldn’t wait to get out of my stuffy business attire and change into some comfortable jeans and a sweater. As I was unpacking, I came across something that needed to be refrigerated, and as an easily distracted person will do, I stopped unpacking so that I could go to the other room and put my item in the refrigerator. As I tried to get into the other room I heard the door to the sleeping room behind me close. It was LOCKED. Unfortunately, the door to the room which contained the refrigerator was also locked. So, here I am standing in nothing but my underwear and my black half slip. Given that I was so scantily clad, it wasn’t likely that I would have any pockets which contained a cell phone, a room key, or hey, maybe something with which to create a smoke signal—you know—something USEFUL for such a moment. Besides, this was a non-smoking room, so the smoke signal option was definitely out. I hadn’t learned Morse code yet, so getting someone to hear me without revealing my unmentionables wasn’t a viable solution.
I carefully opened the door to the hallway and just poked my head out. No one was in sight. No passing patron or hotel staff that I could beg to help me and provide me with a new room key. I look up toward the hallway ceiling. Yup. Sure enough there was a security camera that pointed right at my doorway. I did NOT want me to be the next YouTube video courtesy of some underpaid, bored hotel staff member. I was essentially trapped in a 3 foot by 3 foot space with nowhere that I could possibly go but OUT—out into the public hallway of the hotel on the 5th floor. It’s not like I was going to just hop on the elevator and go down to registration and ask for another key. And I certainly didn’t want to be knocking door to door to use someone’s phone. Yup. Of COURSE I panicked. (Did I mention that I’m a tad claustrophobic as well?) This was certainly a fine mess! Sure I can take down a big burly brute without flinching, but protecting my modesty from the public and a security camera wasn’t exactly something I was trained for. I remember thinking specifically that this is one of the worst situations I’ve ever got myself in. Realizing that I was panicking, I decided to stop, calm down, and say a sincere prayer. So I did. I managed to miss hearing the snickers that inevitably were coming from the heavens as they watched me play out this mess.
After I was finished praying I stopped to think for a moment. I literally found myself asking myself, “Ok. What are my assets?” (Yes, I asked that question without laughing either.) I had underwear and a black slip. That was it. I knew that my assistant was in a room just a few doors down from me. But I couldn’t get to her without going out into the hall. So, I decided that I would use my height of 5’ 2 ½ inches combined with my half-slip as an asset. Being vertically challenged most of my life, it’s common for me to have pants or skirts that are a bit on the long side. So I hiked up that half slip to cover my hoo-hahs, and checked to make sure it covered my fanny. Whew. It did. I had a chance. Knowing full well that if I left the “safety” of that 3 x 3 foot space I would be STUCK outside in front of the dang camera, I decided that I had no choice but to give it a shot. So I poked my head out of the door. I didn’t see anyone else in the hallway. So I scurried out to make a run for my assistant’s room. As I heard my hotel room door slam behind me, it sounded so condemning. So final. So humiliating! If my assistant wasn’t in her room I would indeed be forced to go door to door to get access to a phone…all the while the camera rolled.
Fortunately, in a mere second or two I was at the door of my assistant’s room. I banged on her door frantically, yelling through the door to let me in QUICK. I have to say that the look on her face was one I had never seen on her before. To be frank, I’m not exactly known for being frazzled, frantic, and half naked. I’m sure she was shocked…maybe even scarred for life! She quickly let me in, gave me a robe, and we took care of things with the front desk from there. Ahhh… peace—finally—and an experience I will never forget.
So why in the world am I sharing this experience with you today? You tell me! What can YOU learn from the parable of the black slip? What am I possibly trying to teach you? The lesson is in YOUR hands today folks.
PS: Now you can see why today's blog has no pictures! :)
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