… we don’t always sleep on planes. When there’s no overnight flight, the privilege of paying inevitably buys an opportunity for brushing up on Asceticism.
Below are a few of the 119 little inconveniences I’ve experienced as a Road Warrior. This category of The Travel Is Hell (TIH) Series covers hotels. Even in the chains, no two are alike:
1. Person in front of me in coach puts seat ALL way back, necessitating balancing Mac laptop against my sternum for three hours until plane change in Atlanta.
2. Trapped in hotel in northern Norway for four days, awaiting break in weather. No pool, no bike, no walkable street.
3. Hermetically sealed Cocoa Beach Holiday Inn room. Lubrication-starved A/C motor with bad case of fan misalignment scrapes on housing, locks out caressing zephyr off Atlantic. Blue-green fluorescent walkway lights shine menacingly through sealed plate-glass window.
4. Hotel blocks 800 numbers. Use direct dial; pay extortionist fees.
5. Share last hotel room at long-gone-to-seed Cambridge HoJo with total stranger who happened to be just behind me in 45-minute-long Logan United customer (lack of) service line during freak April blizzard.
6. FYI: Seat 5A on United Dulles to Logan commuter narrower than laptop. Earplugs mandatory.
7. Mercury vapor street lamp posted virtually inside quaint Olde Englishe hotel room.
8. Drag girlfriend to beautiful spot you finally got contract in. It rains entire week.
9. The third electronic key that won’t open hotel room door.
10. Luggage turns up. At 3:00 a.m. They phone from lobby in case anything in it is urgently needed before I wake up.
author, Travels of a Thermodynamicist
(A Note to Readers: If you’ve had similarly unique and discomfiting travel experiences you’d like to share—and that have helped you toward a Buddhist appreciation of travel as inevitable suffering, from which you have returned a better, wiser person—feel free to share.)