Nocturnal Wanderings

I have a whole slew of sleepwalking stories for you. There was the time I tried to escape my friend’s sister’s condo in Palo Alto (good thing the sliding glass door had a tricky lock). There was the time I thought there was a toucan sleeping on the lamp next to my bed and I climbed out of bed and tiptoed out of the room because I didn’t want to share my bedroom with a toucan.

But the sleepwalking I wanted to relay today is the mother of them all. It happened in a Renaissance Hotel in New Orleans circa 2004. I was visiting the city with two of my closest friends. On our third day there, one of the friends came down with the flu. So, on the night of the sleepwalking incident, she elected to stay at the hotel rather than hit the town. The remaining two amigos, in an effort to render themselves immune to the virus that had felled their compadre, pranced out of the hotel in search of copious amounts of medicinal spirits (alcohol). I think we envisioned the evening as a bar crawl of sorts. However, we got pretty comfortable at the first bar we visited and so we (over) stayed there. We drank. I flipped my hair. I asked the bartender for the 4 digit code to unlock the bathroom and promptly forgot the numbers. My friend taught me some Spanish words and I taught her some French words. We chatted with some young men from Greece. We drank. I stumbled to the bathroom thinking that if I just tried a bunch of 4 digit combinations and maintained a patient yet determined attitude, I would crack the code and unlock the restroom door. After approximately the 10th number combination, I realized that I was going to be there a while so I knelt down in front of the bathroom door, settling in so that I was eye to eye with the keypad. I thought it would help my focus as well as giving my aching feet some relief. I truly can’t remember how that all turned out. I suppose that either I gave up or someone gave me a helping hand. But, at this point, I think I’ve painted a pretty good picture of the evening that precipitated the sleepwalking incident.

Now, at this point, I’m going to have to stop using my own memory and instead recount the event from the perspective of my flu-stricken friend.

She heard us stumble into the hotel room at lord knows what time. She drifted off to sleep only to be woken again by the ding of the hotel room’s doorbell. She climbed from bed, padded across the room and opened the door to find … me, standing in the hallway in my pajamas. At some point, I had left the room, had a bit of a wander and then made my way back to the room. I love that I rang the doorbell. I think I had been so impressed by the idea of a hotel room doorbell that, even though I forgot a lot of things during my nocturnal wandering, like the fact that a young woman in her pajamas should not leave a New Orleans hotel room in the middle of the night, I remembered that the hotel room had a doorbell and I USED IT.  

Sorry, let’s return to my flu stricken friend’s recollection.

She found me standing at the door looking straight at her with those freaky, unblinking, unseeing, sleepwalker eyes. She asked me what I was doing. I replied “We can go anywhere.” Then I strode past her and climbed into bed. My poor, flu-stricken friend; she was totally shook. But, if you think about it, they’re really good words to live by, we can go anywhere.

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