So I’m in Nashville.
Michael can only stay a few days and I want to stay longer so we decided to drive there separately. I had an appointment at 3:00 yesterday and couldn’t leave till after that. Jeff says he can’t comfortably put someone up in his apartment so he booked a Hilton hotel room for me.
My trip was uneventful up until I actually arrived in the city.
I had printed out instructions from Michael’s address to Nashville, and once I got there I used my iPhone to look up the address of the Hilton and tell me how to get there. I noticed the battery had dipped into the red. I have no car charger; I lost it when I accidentally left it in my old car before they junked it.
That was the first problem. Fast on its heels came another: the phone told me to turn left at a “no left turn” intersection. I turned right and then attempted to go around the block but wasn’t able to and became lost. It was almost eleven and, needless to say, quite dark, and I was very tired.
I finally got un-lost and arrived at the hotel, dragged my stuff inside and asked where the elevators were. They asked what room I wanted and I said, “229.”
“Um, we have no Room 229.”
Confused, I asked them to look up Jeff in their computer. He said he’d booked the room in his name. It turned out there was no such person staying at the hotel.
I called him, hoping the battery didn’t wear out mid conversation, and it turned out he was at another Hilton across town. I hadn’t known there were two. The nice man at the desk printed out directions for me and I sighed and went on my way.
Of course it was hard to navigate, in the dark, struggling to both watch the road and read the paper in my lap. I ran into another situation where I was supposed to make a left turn and couldn’t (couldn’t get in the correct lane in time), got lost again and wandered the streets of Nashville for nearly an hour. I was afraid to call Jeff or use the phone’s navigation in case the battery died on me. By then I was crying.
I finally found the second hotel and pulled into the garage, only to find the way blocked by a security gate with a numeric keypad. There was very little room to turn around and remember, I drive a Buick. I managed with some difficulty and went looking for another place to park. There was another parking garage next door and I pulled into there. Then I saw a sign saying this was an apartment building garage for residents only and violators would be towed.
Again, there was very little room in which to turn around. I could only manage by pulling into an empty parking space and backing out.
Even on the best days I suck at parking. I entered the space at an angle and tried to straighten out, then realized I couldn’t get out again. There was a support pillar next to the parking space and when I tried to back out, my driver’s side mirror clipped it and would have snapped off if I’d kept going. I kept moving forward and then backward and then forward trying to fix the problem, but if anything I was making it worse.
I was frustrated, exhausted, mortified by the position I’d found myself in, and stuck in a parking space where I had no right to be. I gave up on the car for the meantime, got out and walked to the hotel. I was crying pretty hard and embarrassed at what Jeff would think when he saw me.
I reached the hotel and knocked on the glass doors to get their attention; it was nearly midnight and the doors were locked at that hour. They seemed to debate among themselves as to whether to let me in. Finally they did, and the night manager asked what was going on. I was a bit hysterical by then and my face was all covered in tears and snot and I was hyperventilating.
I tried to explain as best I could. They looked up Jeff’s name in the computer and said he wasn’t there. There was another Hilton across town; perhaps he was there? I had just come from there. Well, was I sure he was in Nashville and not, say, Memphis? Yes, I was sure, and I explained my car was stuck and I couldn’t go anywhere anyway. I wondered if I would have to spend the night in the car.
It was now midnight. The manager said she was under no obligation to help me because I was not a hotel guest, Jeff wasn’t there, and if I didn’t stop making a scene she would call the police.
Finally I called Jeff. He WAS there after all. I don’t know why they thought he wasn’t. He came downstairs immediately, have me a huge hug, brushed aside my apologies and said the whole thing was his fault for not telling me there were two Hiltons. He then went to the car with me, was able to get it out of the parking space without damaging it, and showed me how to get into the hotel parking garage. We spent two hours talking before going to sleep (in separate beds of course).
Tomorrow night Michael is going to have dinner with us and meet Jeff for the first time. I can only hope things improve from here.