Some of us weren’t blessed with a sense of direction. The fairy responsible for bestowing that gift on me at birth—in Sleeping Beauty like fashion—obviously got lost somewhere and never made it to my cradle.
I take heart that I’m not alone in this affliction. One of my icons, comedy writer Patrick McManus, used to write essays about his experiences getting lost camping. (Hey look! The sun is setting in the south!)
Last week when I was vacationing at Rocky Point, Mexico with my family, I left our building and walked across the sprawling pool area to talk to the concierge in the lobby. I wanted to know where I could rent ATVs for my son and husband. It turned out I couldn’t do that at my hotel, Las Palmas, but the concierge told me in broken English how I could get to one a few miles away that had them.
Well, I knew that was a doomed venture from the start, so I got a map for the concierge and he highlighted the way there. Problem solved. (As long as my husband drove and not me. The map-reading fairy similarly did not show up to bestow a gift on me as a child.)
I walked back across the pool area to my building. I took the elevator to the 7th floor and went to my room—701.
The key wouldn’t turn in the lock.
We’d had a little trouble with the dead bolt earlier, so I kept trying, but had no luck. I wondered with frustration why my children, who were all parked in the living room watching DVDs didn’t just come and open the door for me. Finally I pounded on the door.
The little ingrates. I pounded again, and then when that didn’t produce results I stood on my tiptoes to peer through the pane of glass over the door.
Not only were my children not in the room, but the room was completely different than the one I’d left.
I looked at the door. Yes, it was 701, which is what my key read.
This was one of those moments when I almost expected a black and white visage of Rod Serling to appear around the corner and with his trademark smirk say, “For your consideration—Janette thought she’d taken a get away to Mexico but now finds herself vacationing in The Twilight Zone!”
Then I noticed the key said 701 G.
As it turns out there was more than one building at Las Palmas. In fact, my husband pointed out that there were four identical buildings. He informed me of this with a sort of how-could-you-not-notice-four-identical-buildings expression on his face.
To say I’m unobservant isn’t quite accurate. I was observing the buildings. I was observing how the sunlight hit them and trying to find the right descriptive word in case I ever used this place in a novel. There are so many stretching buildings; bright, crisp, and vibrant against the sunshine. But that doesn’t really describe it. I never could find the right word.
Description, like direction, isn’t my strong point.