As you guys know, I like to provide examples of everyday life things that let us practice flexibility. And, you know extra I like to provide examples of when I myself have to walk the walk (just in case anyone out there still worries that they're the only one who has to work on this!).
So... this past Friday i flew to Las Vegas for a conference. I had arranged to be there Friday through Sunday. Las Vegas isn't a place I feel particularly at home in the first place. If I got to choose I'd divide my time equally between San Francisco, New York City and Yosemite probably- and you can see that none of those are desert... The air in the desert is darn dry for me, and there isn't a lot of water (ya think?!!)- and I really need to be around water... (as an aside, I did an unscientific study this weekend where I asked people- my cab driver, hotel people, people I ran into on the street- what they liked about living in/near Las Vegas, and it was neat to hear all the things they said. They like the openness of the desert, the endlessness; they like the dry quality of the air; they find the geography beautiful... there were lots of things people said, and I was glad that those people were living in a place that for them was just right)
Anyway, I flew into Las Vegas Friday morning, took a cab to my hotel, which was in a place 20 miles or so outside of the city (so, pretty much in the middle of the desert as far as I could tell...) and said goodbye to my cab driver, who had also been a terrific tour guide- I learned all kinds of things about the Las Vegas area. I entered the hotel, looking forward to putting my stuff in my room, and gave the reception lady my confirmation email.
By this time I've been through the Las Vegas airport (which is probably an awesome place for people who like slot machines and neon lights and whatnot, but I find just a tad overstimulating- and this is from a girl who loves Manhattan), in a cab for over 30 minutes, and I'm feeling like a fish out of water geographically. I really want to get my room and have a few moments of quiet.
The reception lady keeps looking through her computer. This is not usually a good sign. After a few minutes she says I don't exist in their records. This is definitely not usually a good sign...
They can't find me anywhere, even with my confirmation. AND, the hotel is totally booked. And there's only one other hotel out in this part of the desert- and it's totally booked also!
So, I think, well, this is a good time to practice all those skills that I'm always yakking about...
I had to laugh- here I am, in what feels like the middle of a desert to me and I'm going to be sleeping by a cactus. How perfect is that?! Then I thought, ok, what are my options here? Worst case scenario, I just take a cab back to the airport and fly home. If that's the worst case scenario it's not all that bad. It's not like I really was in the middle of nowhere- you can get a flight out of Las Vegas any time of any day- especially back to the SF bay area.
Once I thought of the absolute worst case I could think about other options: I could crash on a friend's hotel room floor. I could stay for just friday of the conference and fly out that night without staying overnight. I could have the hotel call the other hotel again and beg for a closet I could stay in...
I opted for having the hotel call the other hotel back and ask them again if there was a room that had opened up. Turned out that in the few minutes between calls from the first hotel to the second a room had opened up- for both nights!
So, I made a reservation over the phone and took a shuttle over (about a mile) to the second hotel. When I got there they said they had no record of a reservation for me. I just laughed. Of course they didn't have a record of it! The universe really seemed to want me to sleep by a cactus. They said sometimes it took half an hour or so for the reservation to show up. I told them I needed to be back over at the conference and could I leave my suitcase with them and come back that evening to check in. They said sure and took my bag. I took the shuttle back over to the first hotel where the conference was, figuring, again, that worst case scenario I'd go back to the other hotel, they'd still not have a record of me (or a room!) and I'd just fly out that night.
It all worked out fine. I got my room- a huge room with a big king size bed, and a fabulous bathroom that was big enough to practically live in if you wanted to.
Now I'm back at home, and I'm very glad I didn't fly back out of Las Vegas Friday night.
A few things helped me in the hotel not having my records situation. First, I could see the big picture. I knew that there were options and that I had power to choose option/s and make them work. I knew I wasn't helpless- I had real power to do what I needed and wanted to do. Second, once I thought about the worst case it provided me with a foundation- a "bottom" or a "floor" if that makes sense. The worst case is as bad as it can get, and once I saw it couldn't be all that bad even at its worst I felt calmer and not as if I could fall into a black hole of chaos or nothingness.
And third (because you know I have to get this in there somewhere...) I was honest with myself about my situation. Fact: there was a glitch in my hotel reservation. Fact: it wasn't my fault, I didn't screw up anything- in fact, who knows what actually did happen- but the situation was what it was. Fact: there were things to be done to make it all ok. Fact: I may not be thrilled about all of the options, but they did exist and I could be helped.
The truth is, it turned out perhaps better this way. Since the hotel I stayed at was about a mile away from the one where the conference was being held, I could go back to my room and get some quiet time- being a little removed from the conference turned out to be just fine. I could be there when I wanted, and be a mile away when I wanted also. Go figure, right? Sometimes things that look like a glitch or mistake on first glance actually turn out to be for the best...