We drove to the Land of Cleve Tuesday to watch a 62-year-old make dozens of thousands of Ohioans look like anemic, easily exhausted old people. Bruce Springsteen puts on an impressive show, that’s all I’m saying.
We were lucky to get tickets, but it appears we were luckier to get a room.
We had splurged a bit on our scalped and excellent seats, and we fully intended to drop some cash on souvenirs (one tee apiece, plus a shirt and set of guitar picks for The Boy, who couldn’t come because, well, we didn’t get him a ticket). Plus there’d be food and, let’s be honest, beverages aplenty. We decided there was no need to pay up for an expensive room as well, so we booked at the Red Roof Inn by the airport.
So, apparently, did about a million middle aged softball players.
We hadn’t been aware of what appeared to be a tournament of every all-male fiftysomething team in the state, so it’s just blind luck that we check in prior to the show. When we saw the hand written sign taped to the door post-concert, we were glad we had.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, your reservation may not guarantee a room.
It makes you wonder how they define “reservation.”
But we didn’t care because we’d already check in, so unless they’d decided to share our room against our will with a couple of balding shortstops and a pot bellied catcher, we were fine. Except that somehow we’d lost our room key and needed a replacement.
I mentioned the beverages?
The late night line at the check in counter was lengthy and unpleasant. Another handwritten sign reminded would-be guests that “reserved” means something totally different under the Red Roof, but by now the grumbling sleepyheads understood they weren’t getting a room.
One guy, though, who was lucky enough to have a room, wanted more. He wanted a cot, and the clerk was running out of different ways to say “we don’t have any.”
“But I just need a cot.”
“Yeah, we don’t have any.”
Repeat six times.
Finally, after the clerk had resulted to puppet show and interpretive dance, the man slinked away, still cotless.
The clerk turned his attention to George.
Their eyes met. The air grew thick with anticipation as each man knew what was to come. Fate had given George a gift, and he could not refuse it. The moment was so perfect that future generations of hotel clerks will speak of it with grudging respect.
“Can I help you?”
“Do you have any cots?”
And that, kids, is how one room almost became suddenly available!