Flying Over I-40 N. Apple-Pie-In-A-Jar and Ordinary Moments of Kindness.

It worked.

For four consecutive nights, two baby blue Advil PM pills worked their magic.  7 1/2 to 8 1/2 hours of deep, dreamy sleep. Wake fresh, and refreshed.

And then, it didn’t.

Last night.

6:00 p.m.

Early dinner at Hotel restaurant. Delicious pan seared halibut, its light, ivory flesh falling away from the buttery crusted filet with the touch of my fork. Creamy Mac & Cheese as a side. Two cocktails to chase it down. And, a deconstructed “apple-pie-in-a-jar” for a night cap. Spoon to jar to mouth, a pendulum, without pause, a sugar addict’s fix. God, I love dessert.  Delectable in the moment. Regrettable the moment I set the spoon down, scraping the last of the thick sugary cream from the jar. And I thought of grabbing this jar in a vice grip with two hands, lifting it to my face and licking it clean with my tongue. Oh, yes I did.

I sat, restless, waiting for the check – – and tucked my thumb down the front of my pants to let some air in.

8:45 p.m.

Cued up Michael Barbaro’s Podcast The Daily.

And it was lights out.

12:30 a.m.

Overheated. Turning, and turning, and turning. I jerk the covers off. 

Room temperature is 68 F, body temperature much more than that. Hot and cold flashes. Need to use facilities (hate this middle aged sh*t), but refuse to get up. Will not get up.

Devices (yes, plural) are to my left on the night stand. Both are upside down, sleeping peacefully in darkness.

I stare.

A notification lights up the glass top. I resist. 5 minutes. 10 minutes.  Conclude that I have abstained as long as tolerable, I get up and feel my way in the darkness to the toilet, and feel my way back…pleased with the accomplishment.

Another notification lights up the table top. I cave and grab the device. The device is warm in my hands, my body temperature has lowered, the fix is in.

3:00 a.m.

I finish the morning papers. Digest all my RSS feeds. Flip through a few work emails.  Read two chapters of The Magus.  Set up a few podcasts in a cue.  Hit play. Lay flat on my back. And listen. And turn. And turn. And Turn.

5:30 a.m.

Alarm goes off. Can’t be! Shower, shave, dress, pack up, take one look around the room and head to the front desk.

6:15 a.m.

It’s the same young man at check-out, on night shift, for the last two months that I’ve travelled to this city, this hotel.

~26 yrs old.  Tight tight crew cut. An undersized navy blue sport coat, with the top button straining. He reaches for my room key, his nails uniformly trimmed.

Business travelers want speed, not idle chatter. Be pleasant. Expedite the bill review process. Ask them how was their stay. Offer to hail a cab.  Wish them a safe trip.  And tell them that you hope to see them again soon.  He mastered the customer service manual.

He nails it on the screws.

6:30 am

I’m in an Uber and the hotel bill pops up on email. And behind that, a survey from the Hotel.  I scan the bill, and then move to the survey. “What made your stay enjoyable?”

Not the greeters as you pull up. Friendly. Welcome! Hungry to help you with your bags. No Thanks. Don’t need you dragging my bag up to my room 30 minutes after check-in, with one hand in my pocket. I need them NOW.

Not the room service. Adequate. Fully meeting expectations of being grossly overpriced. And coincidentally, a few coins short of the daily meal per diem expense reimbursement.

Not the cleanliness of the room. Quite good actually but only notable when it’s not.

Not the hugest gym that I have ever seen, big even when compared to Texas sized Big. Or the perky attendants who would offer ice chilled wash cloths to you cool down while you work the treadmill.  Nice, impressive, but no, not that.  And I did note that they always started with me. Walking by all these others in the gym to get to me. Cool down the old Man, quickly before there’s an incident.

It was this…

The cleaning lady noticed my tooth paste in the trash bin, compressed down to an inch, rolled over and over and over to squeeze out the last few drops. I returned to my room later that day to find a travel sized box of Colgate on the counter next to my tooth brush.  Same Brand!

And, it was really this…

That young man at the desk.  The one working night shift. The one that can’t afford a well fitting sport coat, never mind another to wear on alternate days. So courteous. So determined to please the guests.

It was him.

He didn’t miss one opportunity.

Not one time in two months.

Not one pause or stumble in pronunciation.

For two months.

“Good Morning Mr. Kanigan. Did you have a nice stay?”



  1. The old man gets the cold cloth first?

    Rank has its privileges.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I thought you were going to say the apple pie in the jar, be honest.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s honor in a job well done, no matter how humble. This young man’s story brought to mind your cab ride of a few weeks back. Many good, hardworking folks out there who aren’t always acknowledged for the fine work they do. I’m sure you’ll find a way to recognize that young man’s commitment next time you stay with them..I suspect it would mean a lot to him to know that people do notice….

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I agree with Lori. Everyone wants to be recognised. A great post to remind us all, and honestly, are you really surprised you didn’t sleep after eating all that ha! 🙄😏

    Liked by 1 person

  5. so the sugar plum fairy had trouble sleeping ? i know how horrible that is. at least you had a series of sleeps leading up to it, and disappointing when that ends. i’m so glad that you noticed the people who went out of their way to do their best no matter their life circumstances. makes all the difference.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Mary Ann Gessner says:

    I’m sorry for your discomfort and know your pain….and the staff you speak of….these folks can save your spirit. The Marriott in Polanco, Mexico City was like that for me. It was like coming home…and the staff were there year after year.

    Via con Dios.


    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kudos on the customer service tips for business travelers…very specific and spot on. Glad you noticed the staff who got it right. Advil PM…just a temporary lapse? Fingers crossed.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post; did you complete the survey? If so, I hope the hotel shares it with everyone that works there to let them know that people notice the small things, and it makes a big difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. lovely post. Receiving pleasant customer service definitely should be mentioned!
    And I guess next time, you’ll just have to order that delicious dessert for room service. That way, no one, will see you grab the bowl and get every last bit 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Loved it. Full stop. Sugar Plum Fairy and all.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. roseanne333 says:

    I, too, thought of that wonderful post you wrote about the cabbie. You always notice the ordinary, David, thus elevating them to grace moments. I love that. Keep on…it’s heartening. Happy weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Antonym37 says:

    Bonjour David,
    Ça l’air délicieux ☺
    Bon weekend

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Had to laugh out loud at the visual of nubile attendants staving off an inconvenient Old Man Moment with chilled towels.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. When I used to go to the gym I would exit the treadmill by letting it throw me off the back. I’d stick the landing kind of Hang Ten style. They didn’t like that much, and no one, not one, ever brought me a cold towel.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I told you those drugs would bite you in the butt!! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Nice!

    Liked by 1 person

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