Sometimes the universe wants to be our friend. But the truth is, too often, we don’t want to be friends. It is a human instinct to feel put upon, to feel ripped off, to feel slighted. But self-pity is a poor travel companion and besides, the universe doesn’t give a shit how we feel.
Recently, I was on a ski trip for which I had paid a large sum of money – in advance – for a hotel room. But when I arrived at the hotel it was overbooked and there was no room for me; no worries though, they had another hotel for me. Now, of course, I could have made the point that I had pre-paid for the hotel and I am a life time elite member. They would not have known this last bit because I waited until I arrived to give them my number. No matter, I had some ammo on my side. I never threw it down. I sensed a gift disguised as a problem. I asked the manager what he had in mind.
“We have a room for you in a hotel over at Kimball junction.” he said hopefully.
“That’s too far, my friend is staying here and I have no car.” I thought he had other options and it turned out he did.
He parried with “Okay, how about such and such a place? It’s a few blocks away and our shuttle driver will take you there.”
“Do they have a shuttle that will take me to the slopes and to Main Street?”
“They do. And I will eat the cost of your room…the stay will be free.”
I nodded “Okay, it’s hard to be too mad about a free stay.”
The manager’s shuttle driver had been eavesdropping on the unfolding situation and chimed in “I’ll take care of you. If you want to hang out here with your friend in the evenings I’ll take you back to your hotel afterward.”
I am not going to say how much money I saved, but it was a hotel catering to skiers in peak ski season. These were not Super 8 rates. On top of that, my new hotel was a little less fancy, but just as nice with excellent service. In fact, they had some things the original did not have. Like a large gathering space with game tables, a huge fireplace and an arrangement that encouraged lounging in the common area.
It is funny how one thing leads to another. All week, I met fun people. Bar tenders, lift attendants, waiters and fellow hotel guests and skiers. When you choose to be in a good mood you seem more approachable and everyone else does too. And, a few encounters were special and would not have happened had I not stayed at the new hotel. Like the father and son who came from an area of New York I was familiar with. I enjoyed sharing memories of the area with them each morning on the ski shuttle, and the dad and I commiserated about trying to keep up with younger skiers. Or the ski club members from Connecticut and Northern Indiana, or the lady from Hungary who I was able to introduce to my Hungarian skiing companion.
But the best people I met in the hotel were fellow guests I met sitting around the fireplace. At one point, a few people came and sat down around me. One of the women asked what I was doing with my laptop. I told her I was writing, just like I am now, and after a discussion of what I write she informed me that her name was “Trish” and that I needed to have a story with a character named Trish. I assured her I would and indeed I will. (I mean, its a great name for fiction, not sure why I haven’t used it already.) Shortly after, more of her friends came and they informed me that they were going to the hotel bar and that I was coming with them. It turned out they were friends and family there for a wedding and you would have thought I was going to the wedding as well. I got to know all of them, they refused to let me pay for my drinks and as more of their group showed up they introduced me as an honorary member. To boot, I met some important employees from a well known electric vehicle company and got some great insights on how their famous boss operates. As the evening broke up, Trish followed up with me to make sure I did not forget my promise about using Trish in a story. No way I will forget.
Just to prove that the universe was determined to reward me, after asking for a collector pin at the ski resort shop and being told they had none, I was collecting my skis and heading to the shuttle bus. That is until one of the international H2 visa employees that are so ubiquitous at ski resorts, came running out of the shop. Mister! Mister! I found a pin for you! He pressed it into my palm, and with a gesture, told me it was a gift.
Financial gain, a gift, and meeting awesome people every day I was there. This is what happens, when you let your walls down, and see what happens. Some people call it “rolling with the punches” or “going with the flow.” I call it “letting the universe be your friend.”
© Glenn R Keller 2022, All Rights Reserved