I feel that I need to share this experience. It has been on my heart for the past couple days but I think it is time to actually share this with a larger group of people.
I registered a couple weeks ago to attend a writing conference in NY. Everything looked lovely on paper.
I had been having a very tough time at work and just really needed a break from the environment I was in. So I was happy to finally be getting off campus for a few days.
3.5 hours. It took three and a half hours for me to drive from Braintree MA to Saratoga NY to attend this hyped writers conference. My goals for the conference were as follows:
1. Share some of my writing.
2. Listen to other writers.
3. Have a chance to meet new people.
4. Create new material.
I arrived at the hotel (that was least to be desired) and checked in. I had about an hour before the event would start at a college nearby.
The hotel room was nice but something was off about it. Upon entering, the light switch didn’t turn anything on or off. It was supposed to be linked to all the lamps…one click, everything would turn on…a downward flip of the switch, everything would turn off.
I inquired at the front desk why I had a large “old timer” desk but no actual desk chair. The manager kindly found me a desk chair. The desk was so low…I basically had the laptop sitting on my…lap.
I spoke to him about the light switch and the water that seemed to be running dirty. We didn’t have the best weather when I arrived so it was understandable when I had to run the bath for about 25-30mn in order to get clear bath water.
The nice old white man apologized for the inconvenience.
That night, I prepped for the over hyped 6 course dinner that was actually a buffet with about 5 items, dessert which consisted of chocolate mousse and some pastry, wine options that cost 5 dollars and free water, coffee, tea and lemonade.
Being one of the first to arrive that night, though it was scheduled for 6, and I arrived at about 6:45, I didn’t complain. I had had a long drive and that was that. I was tired, I just wanted to eat, chat and get home.
As people continued to arrive, I realized I was the only black person there. The rest of the women were in their late 60s and white. It’s a women’s writers conference, so there were only women.
At my table, I felt like the token. I was asked to do a directional reading, and then once we ate and other activities came up, I was asked to summarize what our table had shared. I was fine with that. That worked for me. Getting involved and participating right away helped me not fall asleep after the long drive.
Once the Kumbaya hand-holding circle was completed, I looked at the schedule for the following day. I was already tired and knew I would not be making the morning meditation, nor would I make anything before 9:30am. I decided to leave.
I got back to the hotel and had a lovely conversation with my wife. I got into the bathtub (I think that was the order of events) and then dressed for the Casino. My wife had put a nice sum of money into my purse so that I could experience the casino and possible winnings.
I took a Lyft to the casino at around 10:30pm and my goal was to be back at the hotel an hour later. The hotel was only 5 minutes from the casino. Everything was close and in walking distance but since it was night time, no walking was going to be done by me.
The Casino was nice…I played…and you know that feeling when you have won more than you spent…but still think you will win more….yep…that was me for about 2.5 hours before I called it quits minus 100 dollars.
Once I called a lyft and got back to the hotel, I realized it was freezing cold in my room. In my lovely dollar-tree socks, I sauntered to the main desk (room key in hand) and inquired about why my thermostat in my room was broken. The nice lady offered a portable heater and at the same time, filled the container I had in my hand with ice and got me a pitcher of water.
The portable heater was great but I could smell the heat all night…even with a cold I had agreed to contract from my students a few days before, I could still smell that offer smell.
Before shutting my heavy eyes, I went around the room to turn off the what-seemed-like 15 lamps that should have just turned off with one switch. I think I was skipping, I was so delirious. I felt like Matilda when she first discovered she could turn things on and off with a point of her finger…except….that was not happening at all.
Once the lights were off, I remembered I had to plug in my phone….and to my luck….the outlets on the bedside were not in functioning mode. So i left my phone on the “old-people’s desk” and plugged it into my laptop which meant, in order for it to charge overnight….my laptop had to be on….so bed time was pitch black like my beautiful skin….with a firefly glow of my laptop a few inches from the foot of my bed.
It made for interesting dreams that night, I will tell you that much…thinking i’m going “Towards the light” constantly….was scary but also relieving….a sense of peace washed over me…knowing that maybe…just maybe, moving toward the light could not be the worst thing in the world.
So thanks to the status of the room, I was in a constant state of life and death….though the cold temps kept my body well preserved like Mr. Walt Disney, the smell of the heat from the heater reminded me that there was indeed a part of me that would be warmed…maybe my heart?
I slept that night, and awakened about 25 mn before my alarm would “boing”. Not sure why i chose boing…but that is what my alarm was set for….maybe the idea of tiger from Winnie the Pooh gave me some hope that this day would bring joy.
I stretched my arms as far as I could and pulled the blankets off me. As I crawled out of bed I noticed something brown at the foot of the sheets…I approached the light brown specimen and based on the positioning, the trail and its oddly shaped circumference, I deduced that this thing at the foot of my bed….where my toes probably touched….was shit from either an animal or a baby….or a grown person’s asshole.
As if someone couldn’t get to the toilet fast enough….or, they laid their baby down and upon picking up the child, a bit of mierda was left behind. But it was a small smear….it didn’t take up too much space otherwise, housekeeping would have found it…right?
That was the last straw for me, but before deciding to be done, i went for breakfast in hopes of finding ketchup for my scrambled or over easy eggs.
I found neither.
So I kindly smiled at the nice lady who thought she was doing me a favor by holding the hot food top open while at the same time, talking with a mouth filled with cookie crumble muffins and explaining to me how good the eggs were…I could have sworn I saw some eggs and crumble fall back into the hot eggs I was getting ready to add to my thumbalina-sized plate. Why we didn’t have regular sized plates, I do not know.
I thanked her and told her “I got it”. She shrugged and walked away, ironically in the wrong direction because she caught herself and turned around. I wondered for a second if she had gotten into my Oxycodone and lorazapam. But she hadn’t because my Oxy was in MA and my lorazapam was in my room…and I had locked the door. She was just crazy and a little bit old.
Potatoes and scrambled eggs occupied about half my miniature plate. I wanted to take advantage of the food that was being offered because the reviews said the place was great and the food was lovely.
I reached over and grabbed a box of cereal I would save for later, and added some coffee cake to the other 25% of my plate. I had a whole quarter left to fill, what would I put on that side? There was really nothing I was craving more than some ketchup packets for these eggs that included grandma’s spittle of crumbs and pre-chewed chicken babies.
Alas, I found no ketchup packets. How would I down these items topped with grandma spit? Inside I was about to burst, but on the outside, I had to look like one of the “happy” black women who appreciates everything the Massa had given her even though he sold her baby to the highest bidder. And, unbeknownst to him, the baby was also his.
I held in the frustration and anger and found a fork to begin the conversation between my breakfast and me. It’s sorta like praying. I do thank something higher than myself for the provisions I have. But then I delve in….no regret….until….my teeth meet the white outer later of the baby chicken.
Yep! Shells in the scrambled eggs. I got to eat grandma drool, pre-chewed muffins, and chalk-like outer baby chick.
At that point, I had had enough. No functioning light switches, broken thermostat, dead outlets, brown water…..poopy smear on the sheets, missing chair in the room to utilize the desk, burning smell from portable heater, ……could things get worse?
Yes. Yes they could!
At about 10:25 am that Saturday morning, I began to pack up my stuff because I was not planning to stay a second night. We had paid for 2 nights but that was not going to happen this time around. At 10:45 am I checked out and the manager gave me half off of the previous night and no charge for the 2nd night (as it should be).
By that time, I was about 3 hours late to the writing conference. So, I packed up the Rav 4 and headed the 8 minutes to the writing conference. It was about 11:00am when I left. I got to the college and could not find the location of where the conference was happening. It was different from the dining area I went to the night before for dinner and kumbaya.
I drove around for over 25 minutes looking for the building and rooms. Eventually my wife got on the phone to help me find the place. The directions were so unclear and confusing. By this point, I was in tears: the huff and puff tears that children do when they have not learned yet how to regulate their breathing. I was that child. I was 3…ok, three and a half.
I was angry and tired and hotel-less. I had yet found a place for that night but I wanted to just get to the conference with the hope that it would calm me down.
I could do some writing, silk scarf printing, and be surrounded by people who worshiped me because I was the anomaly in the group.
After several minutes which felt like hours, I found it. I found the building (my wife guided me), but I could not find the room. My fitbit buzzed and the stars went to the sky. I had reached my steps….in such a short amount of time. It was cold. The weather was not my friend on that day, or the entire weekend. My fingers were frozen from going in and out of buildings looking for that one building where all my problems would be solved; for even just a short amount of time.
But it was already almost lunch time and I had yet to find the actual room. Finally, I find one of the rooms that are listed on the extremely confusing schedule and I walk inside, find a chair and sit and breathe. I text my wife that I have “arrived” and that I would be taking this silent time to find another hotel.
I used my friend google to help me find hotels near the college and it found a hotel called Stay Saratoga. It looked good, it looked interesting. And for the low price of 88 dollars, I could book it, receive free breakfast that was in my freezer, get almost broken into, and listen to the sound of the fridge running all night. It ran so fast, I couldn’t catch it.
Yes! had I known all these things, I would not have booked it but hindsight is ALWAYS 50/50 or…20/20….I say 50/50 because I believe there is always a feeling that allows us to turn back and change the course of our present which in seconds becomes history.
Sitting in that one room I found that corresponded with the schedule gave me a second to breathe but now it was 11:52. The schedule said that we would be in the dining hall at 12. So I waited til about 11:57 to drive back around to the dining hall. At least I knew where that was. I was sad I had not found the group but was happy to begin shoving food down my worn out exhausted face and mouth-I didn’t even care if I had a napkin.
I arrived at the dinning hall thinking something was set up and organized for the writers group and to my “non” surprise, no one was there. It was after 12 and not one writer lady was there. I went upstairs to where we had eaten the night before and the room looked different…like something that been turned around, changed…more tables….more space. I thought to myself excitedly “OMG! There are going to be more black people joining us”…but no one showed.
I asked a manager from the cafeteria if he knew what was going on and he said they had nothing planned for the writers group and that he suggested I return to the main building and see if I can find anyone there.
I was determined to wait a bit to see if miraculously, someone would show up.
NO ONE DID.
I waited until about 12:17pm and headed back to the building that took me forever to find. I was happy to be back at the building with the hopes of finally locating some of my writing partners. I ran into the lady who was teaching how to make silkscarfs and she pointed me in some kind of direction….closer to where I was the first time.
I finally went downstairs and to the right (directions from silk scarf lady) and found the Tarot lady. She was going to read our palms and tell us our future….past…or maybe even present. She took some time to express her frustrations with finding this place also. She couldn’t find it and she felt as though she wasted 40 mn to an hour looking for it.
Finally we both find the leader of the group and I spewed my grievances with the force of vomit exiting from the rear after eating something that didn’t agree with my stomach. After all, I did just have my gallbladder taken out and not much was agreeing with me.
The lady reassured me that I was in the right place and she also profusely apologized for the confusing schedule.
Finally found some of my writing buddies/friends.
So I inquired about the schedule and she told me the class got out about 15/20 minutes late and that they were headed to lunch that moment. Well, I was not going to head back that way because I had already spent a good amount of time there.
My new plan was to find a bite to eat and then return to take some of the classes at around 2pm or so.
I asked her about the sellers market and how that would be set up. She showed me the room where the market would be and it was extremely messy but artists are usually a bit messier in general so I didn’t hold it against anyone.
Then I asked her what tables would we be using to showcase our stuff. She pointed to school-aged seat and table combos and my mouth about dropped.
I had brought a table cloth for a regular sized craft table about 60 by 18 inches and was so excited to lay out my items. After the difficult morning, I thought for sure this sellers time would give me some peace knowing I could showcase some of the lovely art I enjoy doing and sharing with others.
i had larimar jewelry (about 100 pieces or so) and self-published books to sell at that table. But the space she had provided was a complete joke.
At first glance I thought for sure she was joking. But she reassured me that if I needed more space, she could give me a corner of another table on the other side of the room.
That feeling inside me started again and I wished I had my lorazapam. Anxiety was starting up fresh and I didn’t really know how to politely decline this invitation to be a part of the “tiny furniture” co-op selling club. The table she provided for me could fit my left butt cheek on one side and the right butt cheek on the other. It was not suitable for an actual market. I was not going to just squish all of my carefully crafted items onto two elementary school desks. It was not going to happen.
I lifted my head up to the Holy one and whispered “What the fuck have I done to you today to have me go through all this mess this morning?” I took off my glasses to allow me to refocus ( I know, ironic) and I could see way up on the ceiling something like a finger. Something was shaped like a middle finger and I thought for sure this was a sign that it was time to go hydrate myself and fill my belly. The all powerful one flipped me off and I took it as a sign to get-the-fuck out of there.
Too much was just happening at one time, I needed to get to the new hotel and relax.
I kindly thanked the lady for showing me the itty bitty marketing room we would be in and she practically begged me to return for the evening activities. I told her there was no guarantee but that I would try.
The new place was about 11 minutes away and on the same street as the Poopy Sheet Inn. Upon leaving that Inn I put my large brown, ashy hands into the glass container containing candy. I stretched created-for-piano fingers and pulled out about 13 nice looking candies all while staring at the nice white manager guy. The stare was dead on…no blinking…just squinting, and trying to decipher that mark on his shirt. The mark was on the far left side, under his breast….it was to my left, so his right…..as I scraped the last 3 candies into my purple coat pocket my eyes went into focus…..”Sir…” I said.
“What’s that on your shirt?”
He innocently looked down and said “hmmm…not sure…”
I told him that I had a picture of the bum smear that I found on my bed there and I asked him if he wanted to see if the smear matched his shirt.
His face dropped, inside I was dying with laughter but i couldn’t really show him that. On the outside I made sure to not break contact because I needed to have the full 13 candies in my hand.
“Hmmm….” was all he could muster.
Day 2 of Naam was spent consentually taking candies in a nonconsensual manner while forcing a grown man to wonder if the spot on his shirt was made by the same thing that left a poopy butt mark on my bed.
I wheeled my craft wagon with all my belongings out of that hotel and into the car. I took a deep breath and headed to the writers conference.
Upon reaching the new location, it was about 1pm, close to check-in and the room…you guessed it…was not ready. Check in was at 1:00pm and check out is at 11:00am. The Inn was old fashioned….similar to the poopy sheet inn down the road.
But this was nicer, I actually had a kitchenette.
I stepped into the office and the man was frazzled. I mean….a beautiful black woman approaching his office….who speaks….flawlessly….he didn’t know really what to do…couldn’t find my booking, and didn’t know what to really say. I told him I had booked on travelocity and I gave him my last name.
His face demonstrated that I should not have that last name….maybe a Jackson or a Williams was more like what he was looking for.
“Can you repeat your last name please?”
I repeated it for him.
“Can you spell it?”
“Yes!” I said to him with a smile.
“For me….can you spell it for me?” he said knowing that he fucked up badly.
I spelled my last name for him and just for kicks, I added an extra L to the end. I threw him for a loop.
“Hmm…I can’t seem to find you…”
“It’s the extra L” I told him. “How often to do you run into someone with three consonants right next to each other? Take off the extra L. I was just giving you a hard time. ” I smiled.
He lowered his shoulders that were clearly tense and confused.
“Ah, there you are!” he said as he snapped his fingers.
He went from a scared puppy who had just piddle on himself to the chimney man in Mary Poppins except without black face.
He called his cleaner and asked if room 15 was ready. She said it was not. Then, she said 14 would be ready in 10 minutes. I told him that was fine and that I would just go to the library down the road and come back once the room was ready.
He was now excited to have me as a guest even though he had a black man waiting in the office with questions about rates.
He gave me the key to # 14….an actual key you all. It was heavy and big…it was a regular key key.
I left with the key and my stuff to find the library…on broadway, because in Saratoga, EVERYTHING was on broadway. The drive to the library took about 4 minutes.. I got there and I found zero parking. It was a Saturday, after 1:00pm, and there was no parking and I had to take a shit.
So I did. I took a shit…
But not in the car….eventually I waited for a car to leave and parked in a 15 minutes spot. I originally wanted to check and see what books were thee and whether I could get some of my Harvard course done so that I didn’t have to waste time doing it later but Jonny was waiting for me….on the spot.
I walked into the library with asshole crowning and needing to pee like a dog who’s owner was 3 hours late taking him out.
I may have piddled in the car. But I didn’t poop in the car…I promise!
I found the bathroom and used the bigger stall because I was still recovering from surgery and by this point I was so exhausted I wanted to have enough space to fall if I were to faint.
I fell on johnny like a tired maiden who had done too much laundry and it all came out.
Not just poop, but frustration, fatigue, anger…all of it just came flowing out of the arse. and the vag.
My body is not processing certain things right now due to a member being displaced. Due to a mix of exercise and surgery, I went from 189 pounds in May 2019 to 163.5 pounds in November. My goal weight is 154 by January. I think I can do it!
As the river (on both ends) of life came out of me, I prayed. I prayed about my next steps and I prayed about where my life was headed.
I have some pretty deep convos with the spirit when i’m shitting.
I pulled up my pants and realized that the piddling feeling was not a fun one so I took off my shoes and pants, removed my underwear and tossed it into the trash in the bathroom. I felt free for a bit. This was not my first pair of underwear I left behind over the weekend. I tossed a pair at Poopy Sheets Inn too because I didn’t want to re-open my backpack and try and stuff it in. Plus, they were used and I didn’t have a dollar tree bag to wrap them up…so…they got tossed.
By this point, I had left my DNA in several location.
I pulled my pants back up, put my shoes back on and headed to the door that boldly says “Door opens quickly…please pull slowly.”
My immediate thoughts about the door were many…and quite humorous. As I went to open it, a lady pushed it towards me…i quickly backed away….she apologized saying “oh, that’s what the sign meant.”
Leaving the bathroom I saw that the sign on her side said “please push door slowly…it opens quickly.
I headed back to the car and had my fingers crossed that I didn’t get a ticket because the car was only supposed to be there for 15 minutes and I had clearly consumed about 20 minutes chatting with Jonny and the woman who almost killed my face all because she had to go to the bathroom.
No ticket. Phew!
I drove back to the hotel but decided to stop for gas because the car was on E and I also wanted to go to the dollar tree. After filling up the car, I made my way to the dollar tree and purchased a few things including coffee. I wanted the teller to double bag the cold coffee in a glass bottle and her response was “we are not allowed to do that anymore.” So I took the other shitty bag she gave me, and in front of her, I double bagged the damn coffee.
Not today Satan!
I then headed over to get some chicken and items i’m not really supposed to eat because I no longer have a gallbladder. You best believe the day of the operation, I still ate shit I was not supposed to eat. And it was so yummy.
I finally drive out of the dollar tree and get to the hotel and it is about 2:20pm. I had made a note that I was going to “go live” with the moderator of our adoption group on facebook. I already had the key to the room so all I really needed was to park, get my shit out of the car, and get in the apartment.
And I did all those things…in that exact order.
After the live feed with Bake, I hear a key go into the door knob. Yep…i’m by myself, checked in, paid up, and someone is trying to get into my room. There was no knocking…just a key wiggling in and out of the door knob. Thankfully I had secured the bolt but had I not, there would be a white man, a white lady and a kid looking at me….i could have been completely naked. I could have been doing things…..you get what I mean!
I approached the door and said in a loud angry black woman’s voice EXCUSE ME?
The owner of the hotel apologized and said he thought he put me in a different room. Room 15. I told him that either way, kNOCKING is usually protocol for homosapiens in 2019.
Two minutes later I get a call from the same guy asking if I had checked in. I told him that i would not be INSIDE the apartment if I had not checked in. I reminded him that he gave me a key…blah blah blah.
I swear to FUCKING G that this was not my weekend!
He again apologized profusely but I was over it. I was so tired all I wanted to do was take a nap but before that, I wanted to see a movie at the movie theatre so I purchased a ticket online that was for 7:20 and set my alarm to wake up at 7:20…because…..commercials and previews take up the first 15/20mn at the theatre and the theatre was about 4 minutes away from my hotel.
So I passed the fuck out. It was a great short nap and when I woke up, I had a headache but still filled my purse with stuff im not supposed to bring into a movie theatre.
I drove to the theatre in my PJs. Parked across the street at a shady gas station and crossed my fingers that I would not get towed or a ticket..cuz…who knows…and I just wanted to see Harriet.
I walk into the theatre and this white guy who is trying to be super helpful is actually not that helpful in helping me find the theatre but dismissing me by saying “I love your pjs.”
I get into the theater and it is packed….and dark….me…the only person of color….as far as I could see.
Watched all 2 hours of it…it was good and I could relate to a lot regarding emancipation. Other things were problematic as per Hollywood’s MO.
I leave the theatre and the same guy compliments my PJs. I get to the car, no ticket…no towing—headed to the hotel room with a mini kitchen.
I get into bed because i’m already in my pjs and I call my wife to wish her a good night. 5 games of chess later and 1 lorazapam, i’m off to sleep to be woken up by my own body thinking it was 9:30am but the day had saved some light.
I work on my Harvard course for the first couple of hours while corresponding with the writers group letting them know I would not be joining them for the rest of the trip. They try and convince me to go and I don’t cow tow…I stand my ground and complete the Module 3 of the Harvard course.
After grabbing some coffee, I begin packing up. I have everything packed up and ready to go and head to the office to turn in my key.
I call the number that is on the door….NO ANSWER
I call 3 more times…on the 4th time, I leave a semi angry black lady message about how he treated me.
I eventually tell him I won’t wait for him and that I would leave the key in the room. Which I did and headed off.
2 hours into my drive, he calls me back and we have a pleasant conversation.
And then I get home and my coworker was a classic jerk. So my new week began with jerkism. But ended with a man saying Sorry….and no “buts”.