Day 1 of My Luxury Exile

I hate going to a writers’ conference unprepared, and there really is no hope that I could be prepared at this time of year, what with wrapping up my classes for the school year and looking forward to two graduations, a road trip, a wedding, and teaching summer classes! Last year, when this conference was held in July, it worked a lot better for me. Having it now also means that Walter could not get away from work to come with me.

So anyway, I spent the morning frantically preparing to drive to Fort Worth. I had to pack and run errands and get my hair done by my in-house hair professional. I had hoped to leave by 1:00 in order to beat the worst of rush hour traffic, but alas I did not get away until 2:15, which meant that I got to enjoy the full rush hour experience.

Fort Worth is farther away from us than Dallas. Nigel, my lying troll of a GPS, said it would take 3 hours. Following his explicit instructions, it actually took 4 hours and 15 minutes to reach my hotel. Once I got here, I was faced with a conundrum. My choices were an expensive “self park” garage at some distance from the hotel, or even more expensive valet parking. Given that I had just a little too much stuff to carry by myself, I resigned myself to valet parking.

That’s when I realized just how out of my league this place is. It’s one of those hotels where they don’t allow you to do anything for yourself. Instead they insist on being paid to do it all for you. I asked for a cart for my luggage (I have my electric cooler with me because insulin). They happily provided one, but I was not allowed to touch it. An attendant loaded my stuff onto the cart, and sniffed disapprovingly when I tried to help. Then we walked into the lobby and he parked the cart and stood guard over it while I went to get my key (I had checked in online).

As soon as I had my key card in hand, a bell man swooped in and took the cart from the other guy and then guided me to my room on the sixth floor. He set my suitcase on the stand for me and unloaded the other items. I knew I had to tip him. I have no idea if my tip was appropriate because I almost never move in these rarified circles. Apparently I can feel free to call on him if I need help at any time. Ha!

I was so glad I had bought a salad at Buc-ee’s when I stopped to put gas in the car on the way here. By the time I got to my room, I did not want to go out again, let alone get my car from the valet parking or worse yet, pay the sky high prices in one of the hotel restaurants.

I know what you’re thinking. Why didn’t I just stay somewhere cheaper, somewhere that might actually have free breakfast and free wi-fi? Well, because this is the official conference hotel and it’s right across the street from the convention center where the conference will be held. I have learned from experience that it is really worth it to stay in the designated hotel. For one thing, you get a huge discount, which is how I can even be here at all. And usually, it is either hosting the event or is right next to it, which means that you don’t have to navigate downtown in a big city. Plus, of course, everybody else will be there too, which means you might actually meet some new friends if you are brave enough to leave your room!

But meanwhile, I’m in this classy joint worried that they’ll find a way to charge me for breathing the air here . . .

Now to practice my pitch a few hundred times before trying to sleep. You’ll be reading all of this after I get home, because I’m too cheap to pay $15 a day for wi-fi . . .

Edit: You’re reading it just a day late because the events of the day made it worth my while to pay for the hotel wi-fi . . .

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