My wife is in Portland. She is speaking at a conference of educators.
After putting our daughter to bed, I attempt to call her. The idiot at the desk has been drinking, I suspect. He answers the phone with such a rush of air and mangled verbiage that I suspect I have caught him sleeping off his binge.
He sets the phone down and turns on the TV. I can hear the TV. I can hear him blowing his nose. He starts singing an old Gloria Gaynor song. I manage to read over about a dozen emails while I wait. I can hear the TV moaning in the telephone receiver and the occasional honk followed by "I will survive!" in a cracked falsetto.
I am forced to call back. Again and again I call back and am greeted with the rushing air and mangled verbiage. I am connected to random rooms, awaking strangers who are not pleased at my asking, "Um, is my wife there?"
I call again. The desk attendant asks, "Why do you keep calling?"
"You keep connecting me to strangers. They don't like being woken up."
He laughs. "I connected you to room 214 that time, didn't I? That's not the room you want! I apologize."
I listen to an advertisement while I hold.
A groggy man answers the phone. "Who is this? Why do you keep calling?"
I hang up, feeling not the least bit guilty. I am not the one who is disturbing his sleep. It is the desk clerk who has failed us both. My concsience is clear.
I call the hotel again.
I am still hoping to be connected to room 134. My resolve is tested and unshaken. At least until the rush of air fills my ear for the seventh time.
I ask for room 134. I still have faith that I may someday get through to my wife. I will persevere. I endure the hold music for a brief moment before someone in one of the rooms picks up the phone.
I hold my breath.