Friday, October 05, 2007


Chapter I
in which the Complaining is discussed and a husband gets some sleep
(After A.A. Milne)

She had been right in the midst of the Complaining, a Complaining she'd worked hard to design, build and now, execute, revised as it was at 1:45 am lying in her Unacceptably Small hotel bed, eyes moist, next to her two-year-old, Only Recently Asleep after a Hysterical Meltdown brought on, no doubt, by Utter Exhaustion, and a body away from her husband, Sleeping Reliably Well.

The Complaining was revised again at 3:05 am, and again at 5:14, 6:29, 6:50 and 7:12.

She was right in the middle of laying out the Personal Assault, aka, the Complaining, made on her by the Night Clerk when she had arrived tired and hungry in the dark and rain at just past midnight, when the Day Clerk, aka Recipient of the Complaining, had said, “I'd be happy to take care of your breakfast tomorrow to compensate for any inconvenience.”

And she looked at the Day Clerk, who in turn looked neat as a banker, and she sighed. It was a Helpless Sigh, and she thought the woman, the manicured banker posing as a hotel clerk, saw the glimmer of sorrow that must have passed over her face. And then she paused, unsure how to proceed. And this woman, this clerk/teller in her post pearls and her square, white-tipped fingernails, in her navy blazer covering a predictable red satin camisole, was somehow just like her husband, the Reliable Sleeper, as he too was always jumping to Solutions and not wanting to listen to the problem at hand (in all of its grand and careful detail). And in the next moment, the one after the sigh and the sorrow, the one after the indecision, she said, “I'd like to make one more comment about my experience...”

Afterwards, now, for example, thinking back, she was proud of the Phrase. It felt Dignified – a solid recovery from the Sorrowful Sigh of Indecision, and also quite polite.

In her room, her new room, for they had given her a new room, proving that she sometimes succumbed to Solutions, she found, very accidentally, the print out of their reservation. There it was, right there, “1 King Bed – Nt Gtd.” Naturally, it was the “Nt Gtd” part that had caused all the fuss, and so she threw it away post haste, so as not to have to look at it.

Her husband, now Awake and presumably Well-Rested, had disappeared to a conference where he would attend a series of tightly packed 20-minute sessions during which Some Soul was to explain to a room full of Other Souls things like “An Augmented Reality Architecture for the Creation of Hardware-in-the-Loop and Hybrid Simulation Test Scenarios for UUVs (070427-011).” He had kindly left her a copy of his itinerary from which she could determine at which time he'd be listening to a speech on Inductive Power Systems for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles and when, exactly, he'd be lulled to the rhythms of Time-Series Data Exchanges Using the Geography Markup Language.

Since there is no such thing as Too Much Sharing, he had also said he would update her over email about when he might have a break. But she felt pessimistic about her chances for retrieving the information. In the drawer of the hotel room desk was a cable and a book marked “Internet” and under that “User Guide/Guide l'utilisateur.” Seeing how she'd failed to operate the coffee brewer properly, she thought she might leave the cable and its storybook where it was and just lie down a bit next to her two-year-old, Recently Asleep, on the Acceptably Large hotel bed and try to get some rest, maybe review how the Complaining of the morning had gone.

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