I was on tour with the Broadway show Rent when we stopped in Austin, Texas.
The hotel was designed for extended stays, which meant that it was usually crawling with executives in suits. But not for the next two weeks. For the next two weeks, nearly every room would be occupied by singers, actors, dancers, musicians, lighting technicians, producers, and the rest of the people responsible for keeping these big productions going.
Besides having a small kitchen and a little bit of extra room, these long-term hotels also gave you normal-looking keys, so you had to remember to bolt the door when you left. Otherwise, anyone would be able to get into your room.
That’s an important detail that will come up later in the story.
The first night we were in town, we had a small get together. Nothing big. Apparently not very exciting either, because I had somehow fallen asleep in their room. And by the time I woke up, everyone was gone. So, I got up and left and was on my way back to my room. There was just one problem.
I forgot my glasses.
Now, before we go any further, there is something you should probably know about me. Without my glasses, I am practically blind. I can’t see more than about 8 inches away from my nose.
This meant having to press my face up against every door of every room as I toured the hotel hallways, searching for my room number.
And this went on as I made my way down the hall and around the corner.
Room 2…hey, wait a minute. Something doesn’t seem right.
I wasn’t at a party. I was in my room. Sleeping.
Suddenly everything became crystal clear. I had been sleepwalking this whole time. There was no party. There was only a dream of a party. A dream I was having while fast asleep in my own bed. In my own room. The same room that I left while sleepwalking.
That would explain why I left without my glasses.
It all made sense.
Feeling a little embarrassed, I turned around and started heading back towards my room. I couldn’t have taken more than two or three steps in the right direction when something seemed off. Horribly off.
I looked down and realized that I was completely naked.
Without my glasses. In a strange hotel. In Texas.
I started to panic. Now, I wasn’t even sure what my room number was. Or what direction my room was in. Or where I even was at this point.
I picked up the pace and started naked speed walking down the hall.
(Sorry for the visual)
I still had to press my face up against each door as I walked by. Only this time, I was acutely aware that I was completely naked and how that would look to anyone who happened to be passing by.
When I got to what I thought was my room, I was terrified to open the door.
What if I’m wrong? What if I’m in room 206 and not 209? What if I open the door and there are a bunch of people from the show in there hanging out?
What if I open the door and there’s one of those executives in a suit in there?
I tried the handle, and the door opened. That was a good sign. Or an awful sign. I wasn’t sure yet. It either meant that it was my room or that someone forgot to lock their door.
I snuck into the room and quietly closed the door behind me. Holding my breath. Praying that I was in the right place.
I was a few feet from the bathroom, so I quickly jumped in, closed the door, and turned on the light.
I still didn’t have my glasses on, so I began to press my face up against various items on the sink. That’s the deodorant I use. That’s a good sign. I’m pretty sure my toothbrush is blue. That’s good. I think that’s my toothpaste.
It looked as though I was in the right room.
There was just one more test to be sure.
Climb into bed.
If someone screams, I run. Hopefully, I will be smart enough to grab a towel on my way out the door. But I wouldn’t bet on it.
I slowly get into bed. No screaming. That’s a good sign. I begin to close my eyes when my mind begins to race.
What if this still isn’t my room? What if they are down the hall getting ice? Or at an actual party? I mean, there are plenty of people who have a blue toothbrush, and right now, that is about the only evidence I have.
I spent the rest of the night staring at the door. Waiting.
Nothing happened. And as it ends up, it was my room.
I never did tell anyone that story. At least not the time. It just seemed like one that was best kept to myself. And I figured I had somehow gotten away with it.
Except for one detail I had missed.
Two weeks later, we were all checking out of the hotel as we headed to our next stop. Half asleep, I handed over my credit card and waited for the final bill. And then my eyes shot open as if that double shot of espresso had just kicked in.
What is that?
I knew what it was. But I was hoping there would be another explanation. There wasn’t.
The woman behind the counter turned around as I frantically pointed towards the series of video monitors. Each containing a black and white image of a different hallway somewhere in the hotel.
“Those are the security monitors. We record every hallway in the hotel for your protection. Just in case someone breaks in or causes trouble.”
Or roams the halls naked, pressing their face against the doors.