It was a long day of travel, interviews, and a bookstore event. I get back to the hotel room I have not really seen, and I collapse into bed around 11:00. Before I know it, my phone alarm is going off. And there’s my father calling me on Skype. We try to connect, but the signal is too weak. I need to get ready, anyway.
I jump in the shower, get dressed, pack everything away. Glancing at my watch, the minute hand is at only half-past. The car is coming for me at 7 to take me to the airport. Enough time to fire off a few emails, so I sit down and do that, my brain in a fog.
I’m so exhausted that I almost feel jetlagged, even though I’ve been in this time zone for three weeks now. I could so easily go right back to sleep. But it’s time to get downstairs and head to the airport. I’ve got three flights today: Barcelona to Madrid, Madrid to Copenhagen, and Copenhagen to Helsinki. I feel like the crazy lab assistant at the end of 12 MONKEYS.
I check out of the hotel, turn in my room key, and the guy behind the front desk rushes around to get the door for me. “I can get it,” I assure him. Then he shows me the key. The front doors are locked. He has to stoop down and open them manually for me.
Outside, the car isn’t here yet. Strange. They are usually 15 minutes early. No matter, I sit down on the curb and read the paper. I wait. Taxis drive by and look at me beseechingly. Unbelievably, people are still staggering home from bars. I glance up and down the street for some place to grab a cronut, but the cafes aren’t open yet. Damn, I’m tired. I could seep on the sidewalk. The minute hand has swung around, and now the taxi is late.
Wait a minute.
It’s two o’clock in the morning.
My half-asleep brain starts piecing it together.
I went to sleep exhausted, dreading the early alarm. My father called me via Skype. I thought it was the alarm. I tried to talk to him, tried to call him back, then jumped in the shower, got dressed, packed up. The man at the front desk had looked at me strangely. The hotel had been eerily quiet. The key to open the door. People staggering home. So tired. And I’ve already checked out of my room!
I bang on the door, desperate. Thankfully, the doorman not only lets me in, he gives me a new room key. My heart is racing, and I feel that pressure to get back to sleep. Jumping in the bed, I figure the alarm will come for me quickly again. Though not as quickly as last time.
Love you, Dad. Call me back.