Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Rock and Roll Hotel


We like going to rock concerts. One of our favorite bands is the southern rock group, Blackberry Smoke. Always a great show every time we see them and we are willing to travel see them perform. So, when my wife got tickets to see Charlie and Benji doing an acoustic two man show in Decatur, Alabama I was ready to go.

The Princess theater was a four-hour drive from our home in Tennessee, so we figured an overnight trip was in order. Driving back in the middle of the night after a show is not fun anymore. She booked a hotel overlooking the Tennessee River, the same river that our home in Tennessee is on. I am a farm boy and she is a city girl. Hence a room on the fifth floor seems like a great idea to her but not so much to me. A great view is not as important as keeping my feet on the ground.

When we checked in at the front desk a couple came in behind us. She was young, excited all and caught up in the moment. Her boyfriend was Benji Shank’s brother and they were opening for the band that night. And here were fans coming to see the show and her exuberance could hardly be contained. Her boyfriend gave her the look like she was a bad dog. Maintain your composure and don’t interact with the common folk. She suddenly looked a little downcast. After I saw their performance, I thought he should have let her have her 15 minutes. They were a long way from the level of talent required for anyone to notice or remember them.

We ate at the Magic Mushroom pizza restaurant just around the corner from the theater, saw a great show and headed back to the hotel. That is where the events got a little weird. At 2am I was jolted out of a sound sleep. And nothing to do with mushrooms, either.

I woke up to a strange popping sound and then smelled smoke. I sat up and looked at the cabinet where the television was mounted and saw smoke rolling out of the door. I looked at the hotel room door and realized it was partially open. My next epiphany was that my wife wasn’t there. I am sitting on the edge of a bed in a hotel room, alone on the fifth floor with windows that I already knew wouldn’t open. There was a burning smell, smoke rolling out of the credenza in front of me and still an occasional popping sound. The door was propped open and my wife was nowhere to be found. My mind processed the information and analyzed that she wouldn’t have fled a fire without waking me up. I hoped anyway. I opened the cabinet door to find a microwave complete with a microwave popcorn package inside way past the two minutes necessary to pop the popcorn properly. In fact, it was just about to the point where it would set a hotel room on fire.

Now I have been able to wake up out of a deep sleep to run out and chase cattle in the middle of the night. But this event was giving my brain a while to process. At the moment none of it made any sense. Fortunately, at this point my wife walked back in the door to explain the circumstances I was witness to. She wanted a snack in the middle of the night and started the popcorn, when she realized we had no drinks in the hotel room so she headed out the door to the vending machine around the corner which turned out to not be operating so she took the elevator down to the next floor to find a soda, and at that time not realizing that the microwave had been set to twenty minutes instead of two. Since hotel rooms always smell pretty funky anyway, the burned popcorn was kind of an improvement. It didn’t set off the smoke alarm so we were able to resolve the incident without anymore excitement. The popcorn was beyond edible, but there was still the leftover pizza.