Last week, while out of town and staying in a hotel, I had a most exasperating experience. I was snoozing away in my fluffy rented bed, and when it came time to wake up, I didn’t quite make it all the way. I woke just enough to see a little bit of sunlight, and a glimpse of the walls, but nothing looked familiar, so my brain stayed closed for business. That’s when I had the notorious, “Where am I?” experience. I didn’t know where I was. I didn’t know the state, the country, the day, the year, anything. And since I was totally confused about my location in space and time, my still-dreaming brain played its favorite guessing game: “Oh! I know where you are!”
“Hey, that wall looks like one we saw in Italy. You must be in Rome!” Suddenly, I’m in a Roman cafe eating and drinking and speaking what little Italian I know. I’m watching Vespas motor-scooters zip by, and I’m smelling fresh-roasted Illy espresso, and my snoozing brain is happy. “Ah, Rome, Italy!” But then the financial part of my brain remembers something: “Hey! I didn’t buy an airplane ticket to Rome!” and I’m lost again, as is Italy and my espresso. So, my brain tries another guess.
“You’re in college, and this is a wall in your dorm!” My brain can be a real jerk sometimes. For a minute, I’m terrified of missing calculus class and worried that I might have a polyester disco shirt in my dorm room closet. “No... this isn’t college. This bed is much fluffier than a dorm bed.” And so it goes. And so it went, that morning in the hotel bed, as my brain tried every decade and every city and every building it had ever seen. “Library? No... libraries don’t have beds. Vermont? No... We’ve never been there.” Finally, enough light and noise entered my brain, and it realized the truth: “Oh. That’s right. You’re in a hotel on a workday on an out of town trip. Get up and shower!” And I got up, and the dream was over, and though I was once again sure of where I was, I was sad. “Italy? I was drinking espresso in Italy and you sent me back to my freshman year in college?” Sleepy brains are really mean when they play games.
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.