Scarlett’s Letter September 25, 2013

How alarming.

When I travel, I always use my iPhones for my morning alarm. I set two on one phone, my personal phone, an AT&T phone and two on my other phone, my work phone, a Verizon phone. I figure I have my bases covered in so doing. I never use the clock radio provided by the hotel. Ever. As a matter of fact, if there is a clock radio anywhere in my midst at bedtime, I turn it around so the time cannot be viewed. I used to be a terrible insomniac. I learned that we all wake up many, many times during the night. Most of us just don’t realize it and fall right back asleep without any issue, and so don’t remember waking and, therefore, aren’t concerned with it. If there is a timepiece visible, however, if you wake up enough to note the time, you remember waking up. You usually end up accounting for all the times you awake each night, and before long, it kind of stresses you out. The more you stress out about waking up, the more you wake up. If you turn clocks so you can’t see them, and learn to manage your stress, soon, especially if you eat healthfully and exercise regularly, you’ll sleep much better, most of the time.

Last night was my second night at this hotel in Saddle Brook, New Jersey. Yesterday morning, the clock radio alarm did not go off. The first of my four iPhone alarms did, at which point, I quickly turned off the others and got out of bed. I got ready and went to work. It wasn’t until I got to work that it occurred to me that I’d forgot to leave a tip for the housekeeper. I don’t tip a whole bunch, just a couple of bucks and a note saying “Thanks!” I’m pretty fastidious and other than a couple of long, curly hairs on the floor and a few towels that need replacing in the bathroom, things are spotless. I even make my bed. But, I forgot the tip this morning and I felt a little bad.

This morning at 5:00 am I was bludgeoned out of sleep by the loudest most obnoxious foreign noise I’ve ever experienced, the clock radio. It was turned against the wall in my dark room, so I groped for the offensive, shrieking object, unsuccessfully, had to flail my arms about until I found the light switch, try to focus, grab the clock radio and then try to figure out which buttons to slide or push or press to make the noise stop. At last I succeeded.

My alarms were set for 6:00, 6:01, 6:02 and 6:03. That gave me ample time to have breakfast, get ready and walk to my clients’ office building conveniently located immediately across the street from the hotel. As usual, I’d packed my workout gear, and, as usual, had every intention of working out every day, morning or night, however it was managed, and, as usual, didn’t. I’ve been eating out every meal for weeks and I’m beginning to fill my jeans and slacks out more than I like. I feel lousy. I have a marathon coming up. So, I’m laying there, thinking about all of this, the light again turned off, hoping for another hour of sleep. Finally, I did what the well-intended, disciplined inner me hoped I would. I threw the covers back, turned the light on, strode over to my suitcase, pulled out my gym clothes, went downstairs to the hotel gym and did a full hour of cardio. I felt amazing all day long. And I was sure to leave a tip with a nice thank you note for housekeeping.

I did not set that alarm clock. And there is no way, no how, that I slid the lever to the on position, after examining it, when I turned the clock around for the night. It would’ve taken a certain amount of force to engage the slider and move it the distance required for the alarm setting to be on. I examined all of this forensically. That’s what I do. The only person I know of that entered my room in my absence was the housekeeper. I mean, I’m the only one here, I travel alone 99.9% of the time. My daughter accompanies me to New York City, but most certainly not to New Jersey. I could account for both keys the front desk gave me, so it’s not like someone obtained one of my keys, entered my room and turned the alarm on! That would be absurd, anyway. And, certainly, if someone broke in, they would certainly want something more than to turn on the alarm on the clock radio. Like my shoes. Or my chocolate. Or my wine. I had to wonder, did housekeeping set the alarm because I didn’t leave a tip? No. That couldn’t be. Would they do that? I’ve forgotten the tip before and this kind of thing didn’t happen. But, maybe less obvious retaliation has occurred that went unnoticed. A dirty glass? Or that time the shampoo was replaced with hand lotion. Or that other time that the blue mouthwash was replaced with blue shower gel. That was gross. I buy and carry my own mouthwash now. And read labels on tiny bottles very, very, very carefully.

Come to think of it, for some reason, yesterday afternoon, my hotel room door was stuck shut. The lock disengaged, but it was physically stuck. To exit and enter I had to tug and pull and really use brute force. Today, it is fine. Had something sticky been applied to the door to make it stick? I’m not usually a suspicious person, I rarely adhere to conspiracy theories. But, these little things kind of had me bothered. So, yah, I made double darned sure I left a tip when I went to work this morning. When I returned, the door opened with ease and the alarm was off. I went ahead and turned it on. For 5:00 AM. I’m going to get up and work out again tomorrow. I reset all my phone alarms for 5:00 AM, too. I learned two lessons from my alarming morning; 1) always leave a tip and 2) it isn’t all that difficult to motivate oneself to get out of bed an extra hour early for an energizing and beneficial workout.



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