HUMOR – Bright ideas in the dark

I’m awakened at 4 a.m. by the guest in the hotel room next to mine. I’m not sure what he’s doing, but if I had to guess, I’d say he’s practicing for a clogging competition. Or hosting one.

There’s no way I can sleep now. That’s okay. I’ll get up and work on my column and I’ll thank my neighbor when I see him in the hallway. Not really.

My husband has managed to sleep through the clogging and I don’t want to wake him. I want him to be rested so that when we’re back on the road, he can drive while I nap.

I consider my options. I could take my laptop to the lobby, but that would mean digging for my clothes in the dark or leaving the room in my pajamas. I’ve seen people do that, but the hotel would have to be on fire before I would. 

It’s times like this when I wish we’d gotten a suite. But even when we haven’t, I’m often able to create writing space. If the bathroom door swings outward at the right angle to block the bathroom light from my sleeping husband, I pull the desk chair behind the door and create a tiny office just outside the bathroom. The view isn’t great but it’s cheaper than a suite.  

            Unfortunately, the bathroom door in this hotel room swings in. I have no suite and no tiny office and I refuse to wear my pajamas to the lobby unless the fire alarm goes off. That leaves me with one option: go back to bed.

And that’s what I’d do if the clogging competition were not underway next door. I take my laptop to the only place in our room where I can turn on the light without disturbing my husband—the bathroom. It presents several options for writing but I refuse to use the most obvious one. I’m too classy for potty humor. Sorry.

I could sit in the tub, but it’s still wet from my shower last night. So I stumble back across the room in the dark until I find the desk chair. I push it to the bathroom running into the bed, the dresser and the wall on the way. The guy next door probably thinks more cloggers are arriving for the competition. My husband sleeps on.

I see the problem as soon as I have the chair in the bathroom. I can’t close the door because the chair is now in the way. So with superhuman strength I pick it up and put it in the tub. Actually I don’t have superhuman strength which explains why I bang the chair wheels on the tub as I’m putting it in.   

I could sit there to write, but the tub bottom is rounded so the chair rolls around. That might make typing difficult—and dangerous. So I close the bathroom door, turn on the light and bang the chair on the tub again as I take it back out. As I’m doing this, I’m reminded I’ll have to repeat the process when it’s time to leave my makeshift office. I hope I’m better at it then because I almost broke my back this time.

It’s now 4:30 a.m.. And here I am, in my PJs in an office chair in a hotel bathroom somewhere in the great state of Wyoming. I had planned to write about something else entirely. But as writers often are, I was inspired by my surroundings. You may not see it that way.

I do wonder if someone who can sleep through a clogging competition and an office chair being hauled across the room and in and out of a bathtub, might also be able to sleep with the lamp turned on in the corner of the room. And how inspirational would that be?  

Dorothy Rosby is the author of three books of humorous essays including Alexa’s a Spy and Other Things to Be Ticked off About, Humorous Essays on the Hassles of Our Time. Contact her at