2 January 2012

Happy New Year, George Clooney

Not our motel

This New Year's Eve, Jim and I  stayed in a quaint motel in Cobourg Ontario. We'd come to celebrate with a long time friend who’d relocated from the mean streets of Toronto, and had kindly offered to host an olde time skating party.

Jim and I have stayed in many motels over the years, but this was Jed’s first time. (As another first, I was a New Year's baldy. Not really a big deal – but sort of). Our room had two beds, and Jed couldn’t believe his luck. He had a double all to himself, which he christened immediately, stretching his stubby little legs to their full eight or nine inches.  Though he was reluctant to leave the room, we dragged him to the skating party, which was as excellent a celebration as you can imagine, when you’re with top-notch friends in a picturesque town over the holidays.

Proper Dog Bed
Back at the motel we collapsed into our super comfortable beds and fell asleep. But only for an hour. At 2:30 we were wakened by an overhead thud, then footsteps, which was the start of a Jacuzzi party that continued well into the morning. Jim, bless his heart, could sleep soundly if he was riding the Tilt-a-Whirl at the CNE.  Jed too, as he was worn out from barking at skaters and fireworks. So I was the lone occupant of room # 2 who was wide-awake and crabby. People loudly filed by our room, thundering up the stairs, hollering at nothing in particular.

My natural inclination is to fling open the door and politely ask people to ‘Shut the f*ck up.’ But these days I can’t be that spontaneous.  Firstly, I’m almost bald (the bristles joyously persist). Secondly my pj's were covered with hundreds of brown chihuahuas wearing pink pearl necklaces. Though they were not of my own choosing, they are of excellent quality, have pink piping, and are amongst my favorite.  Still,  I didn’t want to be seen flinging open the door in dog pajamas, my head's tiny bristles silhouetted by the moon. Nor did I want to dig around for my wig, which I’d sleepily tossed in my overnight bag, where it clung loyally to my chapeau.

I thought of calling the front desk, but the motel brochure said they were closed after 11. So I lay in bed and listened to the noise. Instead of getting cross at the drunken antics, I used a few tools I mastered  last year. If I don’t like the way I see something, I change the picture. (This was particularly helpful when I visualised my tumour. When I saw it as black, a dear friend said ‘pick a different colour’. I picked pink, and this tactic has saved my sanity)

So I listened to the footsteps and created my own story. I pictured the people upstairs as carefree, happy, and goodhearted. Like elves in Santa’s workshop, but with giant hammers. Maybe missionaries, bathing the homeless and counting out bags of money.  Or George Clooney and his friends holidaying in Cabo, topless, with magnums of champagne and plates of giant lobster.

4 am, and George, Ewan McGregor, and Sting were still frolicking in the tub. In room # 2, on either side of me,  my boys were snoring peacefully, and in unison. The bed was dreamy, and twinkle lights sparkled through the window. I couldn’t sleep, but I could listen to other people being happy. And I could think about all the great moments of the last year, because there were many. I’d created strong bonds with wonderful people, and renewed bonds with those who I knew I could rely on, all along. Despite all the scary parts, I laughed a lot, and had people to laugh with me.  There was always a fridge full of homemade food, and someone to hold my hand. With their time, people were most generous. To those people I sent my thanks, and willed them happiness. Finally I slept.

First thing in the morning I raced to the front desk to complain about the noise. From the office window I could see the guilty party loading up their vehicle. Bleary eyed and sloppy, they looked like they’d just stumbled out of a perogie eating contest where the winner got an orange plaid jacket, and runner-ups got punched in the face. 

Obviously, George had left the building.

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