In my last post about BlogHer I warned you that I had at least one more story to share. This is it. And it’s definitely a good one, if you enjoy the chance to have a hearty laugh at someone else’s expense – in this case, mine.
As I’ve mentioned before, there are a number of “official” parties at the BlogHer conference. These are the parties that everyone can get into with their conference pass, and which are held in big ballrooms in the same place as the conference itself. And while they’re all fun, for me the highlight is definitely Sparklecorn. Imagine a big high school dance, but with free-flowing alcohol, a giant unicorn cake, and 90% women. Last year at Sparklecorn I learned how to dance with abandon. I was looking forward to repeating the experience this year, and for the most part I did. I danced. I danced my heart out. I had a great time.
In order to tell my story, though, I need to back things up a bit. Last year I brought a big bag to Sparklecorn, and it was cumbersome. This year I decided to do things differently. I decided to leave all my gear in my room. I tucked my room key and my drink tickets into my lanyard behind my conference pass, so that I would could dance unencumbered. And that’s exactly what I did – until some point in the evening when I realized that my room key had fallen out. I guess that all that jumping I did when they played “Shout!” shook it loose. But fate smiled on me – or so I thought – because when I looked down at my feet I saw a room key on the floor. Phew.
Fast forward an hour and another drink, and I was danced out. I headed back up to my room, where I thought that I would find my husband Jon waiting for me. I put my key in the door and … nothing. Nada. I tried again, from the other direction, still nada. One more time, and it became apparent that this was not my room key. No worries, though, because my husband was inside, right? Wrong. I knocked. I knocked again. It was after midnight, where could he be? I didn’t know, and since my phone and all of my other possessions were in my room there was no way to find out. It was down to the lobby with me, in search of a new key.
Now, I should probably back the story up even further to explain that this wasn’t the first hotel key card I had lost. I misplaced the first one wandering around Central Park on my first morning in NYC. On that occasion I had my purse, my ID and my husband with me, so it was no big deal. When we arrived back at the hotel I asked for a replacement key. The person at the desk asked to see my ID, I complied, and two room keys were re-issued, because apparently they reset both when one gets lost. Following this experience, as I headed down to the lobby after Sparklecorn, I was worried for two reasons: (1) I didn’t have any ID with me, and (2) I knew that my husband’s key would stop working as soon as I got a new one.
When I arrived downstairs I discovered that I was not the only person to suffer this fate. I met the lovely Annie from Kansas, who was holding her shoes in her hand and waiting patiently for her turn. We talked about New York (it was the first time for both of us) and swapped stories of how we’d lost our room keys at Sparklecorn. Neither of us had ID. I gave her the key I found, thinking it might be hers. She expressed concern about one family who had been talking to the guy at the desk for quite some time. Was something wrong? How terrible would it be to arrive in New York with your kids at midnight and run into an issue?
Me and my friend Marilyn earlier in the evening, taken by Allison
There were two people working the desk that night. There was a younger woman, who had been the one to check Jon and I in when we arrived. She was lovely and very friendly. There was also an older man, who was speaking with the family we were concerned about. I was silently hoping that I would get to speak to the lovely woman. I was not so lucky. At around the same time, both the younger woman and the older man opened up. The woman beckoned to Annie, and I waited for the man to gesture to me. Now, I don’t know what happened with Annie, but she was at the desk a very short time – under a minute – before she happily headed off. Maybe the key I gave her was the right one. Maybe the woman was flexible. I don’t know. All I know is that my journey back to my room took a little longer.
I explained my predicament to the man at the desk. He asked for my name, and I showed him my conference pass. He asked for my room number, I gave it. He asked to see my ID, and I explained that it was in my room. He asked about the other person in my room, and I explained that he wasn’t in there and I didn’t have my phone with me so I wasn’t able to contact him. At this point, he called security. I asked if he would be giving me a replacement key, because I didn’t want to have to come back down. He grudgingly made one. I asked about a card for my husband, knowing his would no longer work. He sighed and made another one. He held on to them until the security guard arrived, and then he handed the keys over to the guard.
The security guard was a large man, wearing a bright white shirt and a shiny gold badge. He looked very official. Together, we headed towards the elevators. In my head, I thought, “This is my walk of shame.” I got on, he got on, and then another conference attendee got on. She looked at me with a questioning sort of expression. I explained that I was locked out of my room, and that I didn’t have any ID on me. She said that she never leaves her room without her key card or her ID. I explained that I had my key card, but that I lost it when I was dancing at the party. She said, “Oh, you were having too much fun.”
This is where the experience redeems itself. Because the large, slightly intimidating, mostly silent security guard turned to her and said, “There’s no such thing as too much fun.” Score one for the security guard.
Back at my room I showed the security guard my ID, and he handed over the keys. I picked up my phone to find that Jon had been up to our room a few minutes before, and hadn’t been able to get in. He was down in the lobby, and I texted him to come back up. He had been at a baseball game, and headed out for a midnight snack. He entered the hotel through the back, so he’d bypassed the lobby, or he would have not only seen me, but probably witnessed my walk of shame. Maybe it’s best that he didn’t.
I was a very well-behaved teenager. Too well-behaved, maybe. But I made up for it that night, when slightly drunk and sweaty from dancing, I got to ride the hotel elevator with a security guard. Better late than never?
Care to share your walk of shame story? I could use a little commiseration!