Being inspired, maybe – 73

A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like.  For instance:

And, then, the words:

Why was it that some hotels were like cruise ships, a tangle of endless passageways that could lead you in the wrong direction, especially if the room number directions were not very clear.

And, for some reason, they were not.

I'd been given instructions to room 674.  Easy enough, it was room 74 on the 6th floor.
Take a left turn out of the elevator, go to the first passageway, turn right, follow the passage to the end, turn left, follow that passage to the end and turn right, it's the third room on the right-hand side.


At least you would think so.


I'd just got off a 17-hour flight from the other side of the world, passed through more time zones than we had snacks and meals, and suffering from forced sleep deprivation from an abnormally rough flight.

Half the planes passengers were sick in a sustained period of turbulence about two hours before the plane landed and we were all delayed getting off the plane because several of those sick p passengers had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital, including the passenger next to me.

I was still feeling the effects of the turbulence myself, just a little unsteady at times, and particularly after I stepped out of the elevator.

It was a moment of disorientation, and I had to grab the wall to stop falling over.

It passed, except for a nagging pain in my stomach.

On the opposite wall to the elevator was a sign which displayed the direction of the rooms, here telling me

That rooms 601 to 639 were to the right, and rooms 640 to 680 were to the left.

I looked left then right and took in the long passageways that seemed to go on forever.  I could just see an opening that might be the passageway I was looking for.

I turned left and started walking.

The rooms seemed quite large judging by the distance between doors, and I noted the room numbers which seemed to count back from 680.

At the T intersection, it was possible to only go right at it, I had to stop and steady myself again as a wave of nausea passed over me.

A glance further up the main passage showed there was another T intersection further along.  It seemed to me the hotel was laid out much like a city in block style.

Head clear again, I saw a sign on the wall at the start of the new passage that said rooms 666 to 680 in the direction of been directed.

It was not a long passage, but in my debilitated state, it seemed to take forever.  I reached the end and had to stop again, this time because my head was starting to spin.

Then the lights went out.

The only blackness was accompanied by a cold breath of wind.  That was impossible because we were inside a building, and my mind was trying to comprehend what was happening.

There was another puff of cold air, then the emergency lighting kicked in.

I could hardly see more than several yards in front of me.  If I remembered correctly, now I had to turn right and follow the passage to the end. 

It was not possible to see the room numbers because the lighting was at floor level, but when I came to a door, I felt for the numbers and followed their shapes like a blind person would.

Immediately I felt sorry for people who were blind, and more so if they were staying in this hotel.
In the dark, it was now disorientating, and halfway down the passage, I began to think I'd turned in the wrong direction, and stopped.  I looked for a door, and found one several steps away and felt for the numbers.

There were none.

I walked to what was the next door and did the same.  No numbers.

Where the hell was I?

I walked towards an exit sign that had a left arrow, which told me was the direction of my room.
At the end of the passage, I turned left and not far along there was an area that was better lit, an oasis in the surrounding darkness.

Forgetting about my room I walked towards it.

Then stopped as its significance hit me.

The elevator lobby.

I was back where I started from.

Luckily the lights chose to come back on at that moment, and the doors opened and a man and a woman stepped out.  They nodded in my direction, oblivious to the fact I looked like an unmade bed.

The woman looked at her key and muttered out loud 668.  The man said, "that would be this way," and pointed to the left.

They seemed to know where they were going.

I followed them.  Maybe this time I'd have more luck.

© Charles Heath 2019


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