I was in San Francisco on Friday for an important meeting. Although I wasn’t doing any of the presenting, I couldn’t help but feel a little nervous. All the usual things started racing through my mind on Thursday night: Please don’t sleep through the alarm! Don’t forget your badge! Be ready in case you’re put on the spot! With so many potential pitfalls running through my head, it was a miracle that I made it to sleep at all.
My alarm went off at 7:00 a.m. Friday morning as planned. I figured that I was off to a good start. I got out of bed, showered, got dressed, gussied up, and poured the first cup of coffee—the first of an inevitable many—to get my juices flowing.
My nerves started to kick in as the clock moved ever so close to 8:00 a.m., or maybe it was just the caffeine. I couldn’t really tell for sure. I did the mental checklist that we all do to assure ourselves that we’re not forgetting anything:
- Do I have my wallet? Check.
- Do I have my badge? Check.
- Did I brush my teeth? Check.
- Am I on time? Check.
- Do I have my room key? Check.
- Do I have everything that I need before I step outside the hotel room? Check.
I stood in the doorway, propping it open with the toe of my boot as I looked back into the room to double-check that I hadn’t left anything important behind. Everything appeared as it should be, but I still couldn’t shake the sensation that I had forgotten something.
I always get like that when I travel, and it drives me nuts! Deep down I know that I haven’t forgotten anything, but somewhere within the contours of my brain, I convince myself that I have. It’s frustrating because it is purely psychological, but I can’t seem to overcome my doubt.
As expected, the work day came and went, and I was thrilled to discover that I hadn’t really forgotten anything. All that useless worry and stress over nothing. I breathed a sigh of relief, said goodbye to my co-workers, and headed back to the hotel.
As I walked down the sidewalk, watching the gorgeous orange sun set behind the hills of San Francisco, I laughed to myself. What an idiot! I’d gotten myself all worked up over nothing, as per usual. My nerves may have gotten the better of me at the start of my day, but in the end, everything went off without a hitch.
I rode the elevator up to my floor, put my key in the door, and threw my laptop bag down on the couch. The room was immaculate, tidied up by the service staff while I was at work. The bed was made, the trash had been emptied, and the thermostat had been reset to a temperature slightly warmer than I like it.
I entered the bathroom, admiring the fresh set of towels that had been neatly folded and put away on a counter above the toilet, when I something caught my eye. It turned out, much to my chagrin, that I actually had forgotten something after all… my dirty underwear, still wadded up next to the tub where I had left them prior to my morning shower.
Slightly embarrassed and apologetic to the cleaning staff at the Sofitel Hotel, the moral to this story is simple: Don’t let your co-workers catch you with your pants down, but definitely don’t make the hotel staff have to clean around your balled up undies.
A ten dollar bill was left behind on the dresser…