Secure, Alight and Confused
I swear silently at the door to the walkway which should lead to my plane. The inbound flight was delayed and despite my sprint across most of Madrid’s sumptuous Barajas airport, I arrived at my gate only to find it closed, with my airplane cheekily winking its lights at me as it backs away from the terminal.
I close my eyes and start to control my breathing as the blood pumps through my veins. It takes a few minutes and then I start my search for the nearest Iberia service desk. A patient clerk listens to my story and prods at her computer’s keyboard to confirm the details. Satisfied with what she sees, she hands me a few sheets of paper and explains how to get to the hotel that they chose for me and how to get dinner to keep me going until the next morning, when my next flight is due.
I nod, thank her and slowly walk through the terminal, watching travellers go by, enclosed in their little worlds and also on their way to their own corner of the world.
I rifle through a book store, knowing that my current book will soon draw its merry tale to an end and then go for the hotel shuttle. Together with six other sombre looking passengers, we lurch through dark Spanish streets. The lights from oncoming traffic illuminate a road that could be anywhere, the lights in buildings show off scenes of people caught in a snapshot of their own little lives. They do not see me, as I rest my forehead against the glass of the bus’ window and stare at them through the glass that is foggy with my breath. I blink and see another building, another light, another family, another set of people. It is the end of a long day for me, with an ending that I had not planned for. I wonder what their evenings are like and if they too are having an unexpected close to the day.
The bus pulls into a hotel’s drive and we all get off, clutching our bags and murmuring our thanks to the driver who grimaces at the Italian lady who did not tip him. We wait in line until there is someone to handle our request for a room for the night and then, magnetic key in hand, follow the instructions given to us by a heavy Spanish accent and go to poke at the buttons beside the door to the elevator.
I step into my room, place the room’s key into the socket provided to turn the electricity on, and pronounce it to be comfortable and adequate for the night. I place my luggage on the bed and withdraw my laptop, passport and a few other things that I would rather keep in the safe while I’m downstairs having dinner. I kneel beside the safe that squats at the bottom of the wardrobe and quickly read the instructions.
The safe is modern one that can be opened using the room’s key card as well as a personalised code:
The problem is that I currently have my card here:
So I can either have the light on and see where the safe is, or I can lock the safe after finding it by bumping my shins into it.
Why don’t they just give you two keys in the first place – since you need them, obviously.
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~ by unexpectedtraveller on September 19, 2011.