Saturday, May 17, 2008

You're in a Hotel Lobby...

Last August I took enormous liberty with our finances and I booked a long weekend at a local resort in order to have a writing weekend. A solo retreat if you will. I went to the Scottsdale Millennium Resort because it was by a lake. Water is particularly attractive in the desert and a lake, however small, is a bonus.

The first night was like every other first night I’ve ever spent in a hotel alone. I have all these exciting plans for candlelight baths, and sitting with a cocktail over a good book, etc. As usual, I got very sleepy and went to bed early.

I woke to sunshine streaming in through dusty windows. This time, since I didn’t have anywhere to be at a certain time, I felt at loose ends. I was shy about being in the room when the housekeeper needed to do her work, so after breakfast, I packed up a writing book, paper and pen, and headed down to the lobby to wait it out.

Most lobbies have a gorgeous sitting area that are rarely used and that’s what I was counting on. In the Millennium, it is sunken and filled with overstuffed chairs and sofas that face a floor to ceiling window overlooking the pool, the lake, and the eastern mountains. If you took out the pool, it would be perfect.

So there I settled myself. After absorbing the luxury of being away from family, work, and everyone I knew that could interrupt me, after noticing the tiny remnants of wire and tape that held up their Christmas decorations and small tufts of dust bunnies peeking out over the tops of the massive drapes in this five-star resort, I turned to my writing.

I don’t remember any details of the actual writing during that session. What I do remember is the feeling of being conspicuous and odd. I remember that suddenly my ears tuned in to the sounds of the lobby. I heard one employee whistling softly as he passed by and a negotiation to exchange scheduled work hours by another employee on the phone. Guests were guided to the breakfast and I smirked to myself that they would enjoy the same overly strong, bitter cup of coffee that caused me to uncharacteristically dose it with cream and sweetener in order to drink it.

Forcing my head back down, I resumed my writing and lost myself in words. Numbness in my thumb and a strong tingling up my arm told me that I needed to take a break. I checked my watch and was surprised to see that two hours had gone by. I sat back, took a deep, peaceful breath, gathered up my belongings and returned to my room.

The housekeeper had not yet arrived.