Last night, I was sitting in my car at a red light. It was dark, cold and raining, and the end of a long day. I stared blankly at my windshield wipers swishing back and forth and then zeroed in on a car pulling into the Hampton Inn & Suites across the street. Ugh, lucky, I thought.
I have irrational hotel envy at least once a week. Whenever I see someone walking into a hotel, I can’t help but wonder what they’re up to. What’s their reason for checking in?
Vacation? (Maybe not so likely here in Albany.) Business trip? Rendezvous with an online lover? Termites? Doesn’t matter. I’m jealous.
I’ve always been obsessed with hotels. I love everything about them. I love hurling myself onto the bed and getting under the covers even if I’m only in the room for a few minutes. I love hoarding the little travel-sized lotions in the bathroom for my purse. I love the ice machine.
It’s not an issue of luxury – a hotel need only be clean and comfortable to become the object of my passionate love. And it’s not about being on vacation – I frequently have to talk myself out of checking into hotels in my own town for no reason other than I’m craving a fix.
It’s just that something about staying in a hotel is so comforting to me. It feels like a suspension of real life, like everything can just be placed on hold while you’re within the walls of that clean, peaceful, benignly-decorated room.
I think this love stems from my childhood, which I for some reason feel contained a lot of hotels – and I guess it sort of did. There were family vacations, of course. But we also moved a lot, which a couple of times involved living in a hotel until a house was ready or after one had sold. (Fun fact: we lived in the hotel where Caddyshack was filmed – but I’ve still never seen it.)
And as much of a pain as I imagine it was for my parents to be confined to a hotel room with little kids and all our stuff, I loved it. I loved going to sleep with my whole family where I could see them. I loved that my teenage sister, normally busy with her own friends, had nothing to do but sit on the bed and play Guess Who? with me for hours. I loved taking the nightly walk to the ice machine with my mom (the root of my ice obsession is still unknown). Everything was happy, contained, and right.
And to this day, hotels always give me that exact same feeling. Comfort, happiness, and a childish sense of delight. Which is probably why one of my ultimate fantasies involves gathering up some essentials (snacks, books, gossip mags) and checking into a hotel, by myself, for no reason at all. Maybe ordering, like, a turkey burger and an ice cream sundae from room service if I want to get crazy. And that’s it.
The ultimate mental health day (slash night). Someday, I will do it.