Monday, April 12, 2010
I've actually never seen that movie and found myself laughing at all the silly slapstick comedy.
I kept over analyzing the film because NO WAY would a hotel ever let a kid check in without a parent.
NEVER gonna happen.
I had totally forgotten about a time when I was a kid and I tried to check into a hotel in London--by myself-- and the staff wouldn't let me.
So I sat in the lobby. FOR SIX HOURS. Waiting for my parents to show up.
We went on a European vacation of sorts when I was seventeen. My sister and I flew out several days after my parents and were supposed to meet them in the airport.
Here's the first thing I would like to point out: My parents let me and my FOURTEEN year old sister fly INTERNATIONALLY by ourselves.
Let that sink in.
Seventeen and fourteen. Flying alone.
My Dad actually scared the wa-jeebers out of me when he was explaining the plane change we were going to have to make.
"You're making a plane change in Atlanta. Atlanta is a very confusing airport (true). You are going to have to take a subway to the international terminal. DO NOT LOSE YOUR SISTER. You are going to have to run the entire time. We did not allow the mandatory wait time into your layover (min 2hours). If you miss this flight, you will be stranded in Atlanta forever."
No pressure, right?
I also remember my Dad telling my sister and I to only pack a carry on. I do remember him telling us that. But, in my defense, I thought he meant each of us could have a carry on. Or two.
Apparently my sister and I WAY over packed and we didn't have enough room in our rental car (which looked something like a mini-coop) for all six of us AND our carry on (S).
We were staying outside Liverpool with some family friends and when it got time to load all of our crap into our mini to head to London -- there just wasn't enough room for everyone.
My parents then put me and my TEN YEAR OLD SISTER on a train bound for London. A two hour train ride. To London. ALONE.
My Dad gave me explicit instructions: "You are to go to the Hotel and nowhere else. I have already paid for the hotel so they will let you check in. Just ask for the key and stay in the room. Do not leave the hotel and STAY IN THE ROOM. Order as much room service as you want just STAY IN THE ROOM."
Can you say Hog Heaven?
I actually remember thinking: "I'm not staying in the room the entire two hours while we wait for you. I'm going swimming!"
My sister and I set out on what we thought was going to be a grand adventure. We sped across the English country side at breath-taking speeds and saw amazing things.
We arrived in the big city and took a cab to the hotel. Via some site seeing.
When we finally got to the hotel, we were starving. We had planned out everything we were going to order from room service. After which we planned to lounge poolside until our family arrived.
My parents assured us that they would only be two hours behind.
The hotel would NOT let us check in. No amount of begging, pleading, or CRYING could convince them otherwise.
We sat in the lobby for about an hour.
My little sister started being the devil on my left shoulder. "This is boring. Lets go sightseeing."
I actually contemplated it.
However, I KNEW that if I walked out of that hotel, my parents would show up five minutes later and I could expect to see my head on a platter.
I think it was about the only time in my teen years that I CONSCIOUSLY decided to be obedient. Don't get me wrong. I was a really good kid. But, most kids would have totally blown off their parents and gone sightseeing. I decided that I would do what they had asked me to do.
I stayed in that hotel lobby mostly because I was scared of losing my sister. She is seriously talented at getting lost in major big cities.
Two hours passed and my sister was on the verge of tears because HELLO! WE ARE STARVING TO DEATH.
Three hours passed and a giant entourage of rap-stars checked in.
We sat in the lobby and watched the rap-stars and their groupies coming and going-- eating food from the restaurant-- while we sat in the lobby starving to death. Literally.
At hour four I started thinking about all the amazing stuff we were missing in the city. We could take a taxi-- go sightsee at Trafalgar Square-- and then take a taxi back to the Hotel. I was a seasoned traveler by that age, and I knew that as long as I had the name of the hotel and a little money I could get anywhere. The problem was that I was also a giant cheapskate (still am).
I didn't want to use my hard earned money on buying us food. I didn't want to use all my money on taxi fare when I had planned down to the last penny what I was going to purchase on our European Vacation.
So. We sat through another agonizing hour.
At hour six, when my parents finally showed up, they were surprised to see us still sitting in the lobby. "Why didn't you just go out site seeing? That's what we did."
Yes they did.
They went site seeing on their way to save us from the big, bad city of London.
They toured Shakespeare's home.
And had a nice lunch on the lawn.
While we sat in the hotel lobby watching gangsters come and go. STARVING.
My Dad said "I wouldn't have been mad at you if you would have gone site seeing. Especially since they wouldn't let you check in."
I was shocked.
My sister actually punched me while she yelled I TOLD YOU SO.
The one time I decided I should be obedient and NOT go do what I wanted to do was the one time I actually could have done what I wanted?
How confusing. (I can see why my teenagers sometimes get perplexed with me).
That trip is one of my most favorite childhood memories. Life sure was different "back then."