Room 666: Be Afraid, Be Very Chicken
My tenth wedding anniversary sorpresa, in Hawaii
After being married for almost ten years, my husband decided that it was time we checked out the Hawaiian Islands. We had honeymooned in Acapulco (gracias, Mami y Papa!), returning to various parts of Mexico on several occasions...like when I was the Madrina to my cousin at her quincea??era and ended up a little tipsy, carrying my tacones down the streets of Guadalajara...but let us skip over that part, quickly. I do not remember so much of that story.
Published on LatinoLA: July 12, 2011
Anyway, my querido says, "Hey, let's go to the Big Island and stay there for ten days!"
Other than my (mis)adventures in Mexico, the farthest I had been from home was San Francisco and Vegas. In Vegas, my friend and I made our grand entrance into the old Desert Inn gift shop by grabbing at the "Playgirl" magazines. Unfortunately, we tipped over almost the entire four foot stack of mags. In our defense, however, we had been plied with watered-down drinks by really tall, skinny girls in the casino.
My friend and I apologized profusely before running to our rooms. Safely in mi camita, I watched the big Silver Slipper in the sky go around, and around and, well, you got la idea.
So, back to the tropics. This all happened before the trauma/drama that accompanies a plane trip today. We took our spacious seats, primarily because my hips were not as wide as today--or maybe they have made the seats smaller to accommodate more people? ?íESO ES!
During our five-hour flight, my querido and I held hands, holding our bebidas in the other, looking longingly into each others' eyes. (Except for the few times I thought we were going to crash and I said a little snippet of the Rosary.) Arriving at the hotel safely, we were served orange juice as mi querido signed our lives away. Our luggage, which I had not seen since it was loaded into the hotel limo, was taken to our room in a SEPARATE ELEVATOR! Where were Ricardo Montalban and Herve Villechaize, dressed in their white suits?
Escorted to our room by a lovely Hawaiian young lady, she demurely described the beautiful location of the room and the extra big patio. Wow, impressive!
Laughing and feeling so warm and fuzzy toward our new-found slice of Heaven, she announced, "Here we are!" and opened the door to reveal a stunningly decorated room with leis on the pillows and a basket of fruit on the table. And then, I saw the room number. 666.
??QUE PASO AQUI?
Imagine you are at a really cool party, DJ playing a great set, everyone is movin' and groovin' and all of a sudden: eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
That tremendous scratching sound that can mean only one thing: We gotta problem here.
No more laughing. Silence, until I said, "Excuse me, may I speak to my husband for just a moment before you leave?" The young lady stepped into the hall and I went into my "No way, no way, no way..." rant. I do not believe I threw myself onto the floor, pulled at anyone's hair or threw any chanclas. I was the epitome of ladylike behavior, except it was clear I was having a major hissy.
After all, what good is sixteen years of Catholic education (Clarification: No, I was not forced to repeat grades, I went to a Catholic grammar, high school and university), if I cannot draw the line at THAT NUMBER?
My husband spoke to me in cool, calming tones, telling me it was all okay. A tad less Catholic than I, he just wanted to get into the room and do what people in rooms do. (Have a scotch.) Finally, he talked me into staying. "Okay, but if I cannot take it, I am going to make them move us!" Happy to just get into the room, any room, he agreed.
But then, IT started happening. At first, it was subtle. We went to look around and get our bearings. Sitting in the beautiful atrium lobby, lush with foliage, we ordered drinks and snacks. (I say "snacks" because the words "hors d'ourves" scare me. Sound so uppity for "algo de comer.")
Sitting and relaxing, we watched as people began to come in from the pool and beach, admired the sun, setting with a fantastic mai tai sky, and decided it would soon be time to get to our dinner reservation. We asked for the check and a young Hawaiian man who brought the tab asked for the room number and I noticed his hand shook when he wrote down the number, handing my husband the bill. I thought, "Maybe it is his first day here and he's a little skittish."
Between besitos and sips of champagne, we changed and went down to the best restaurant in the hotel, where we had a great time, talking and enjoying la comida sabrosa. When my husband gave the room number for the bill, another young man asked my husband to repeat it....Odd....But, no matter, we were celebrating ten years of wedded bliss. Well, almost the whole ten years...
The next morning, my husband tore out of the room to play golf, to get sun, to have fun. I slept in, apenitas making the brunch scene. I sat out on a patio, watching the little river meander by, listening to the pajaritos--just like in a Disney movie--checking out the pool and the waves of the ocean beyond that.
My bill arrived as I set my napkin aside. I signed my name and filed in the room number, thanking the server for the yummy breakfast and prompt Kona coffee refills. She used my name as she opened the folder to check that it was properly filled out. That is when she gasped.
Not just a little hiccup, not a tiny cough or clearing of her throat, but a sharp, deep, raspy intake of breath. I mean, if she had been in an emergency room, somebody would have yelled out, "CLEAR!" and those twin paddles would have gone right onto her ample chest. Let me put it this way, I think she flatlined when she saw the room number.
That did it! I managed to get up, walk out of the restaurant without running (plus, I had eaten too much for that) and went upstairs to THAT ROOM to get us out of there. I called the front desk and told them what was going on, it was no one's fault but we had to move rooms.
They must have encountered this problemita before, as they were understanding and within minutes a bellman with a knowing look was at the door, ready for the move. I checked out the substitute room and, finding no issues with numbers or hidden meanings, said, "Let's go!" I left messages for my husband at the golf shop and at the front desk, telling him that we had moved rooms.
"Ay, que Lupe..." was the only thing he said when he walked in, sunbaked and thirsty. "Let's go get some lunch." He had known all along I could not take it in THAT ROOM.
Mi querido knew me, and that is why we will be celebrating our thirty-second aniversario soon. Me comprende, y todavia, me quiere. (He understands me, and still, he loves me.)
Los Angeles attorney, writer, shopper extraordinaire and miedosa