John and I went to Vienna in 2000 He called one day and said, "I have a meeting in Vienna. Are you all right if I go?" I said, "Of course. But you have to bring me with you." I was only half kidding. I have a friend there, a woman I've been writing to since I was 15, and I thought it would be fun to meet her. Little did I know that I would fall in love with, of all things, a city. But that is not the point of this story.
He went ahead for a meeting and I met him there. (I used Frequent Flier miles and my entire airfare cost was something like $85. Cool.) On the way, I had an overnight in London. I had never been out of the country alone, and he was nervous for me. (I was actually OK, until I got there…) He booked a room at the Radisson near Heathrow, thinking it would be good and close and there was a shuttle and it would be worth the money, since he wouldn’t have to worry about me.
I was a baby in my younger years. Needed a nightlight ALL THE TIME. Couldn’t sleep alone; when he’d travel, the kids came into bed with me, AND my grandma would stay for a few nights.
I was so proud of myself that night, shutting off all the lights and going to sleep all alone in a foreign country.
You know what’s coming, don’t you?
I got up around 3am, headed for the potty, and turned the bathroom light on. A flock, a herd, a myriad of cockroaches, scuttled for the dark. I screamed. I mean, I could hear their little feet clicking on the tile! In a Radisson? Wasn't this supposed to be a nice hotel?I knew, knew, knew, I should go downstairs and complain and ask for alternate arrangements. But I was exhausted, had a 6am wakeup call for my next flight to Vienna, and, against my better judgment, I went back to bed…with every light in the room on. I even turned on the TV for light, although I muted it.
I checked out in the morning without saying a word. I was foolish. I paid $285 for a night with a colony of cockroaches. But it makes a good story, right?