This past week, Dave was called out of retirement to fill in for a pitching coach in the Marlins’ organization. Yesterday, our Jacksonville, Florida, ballclub-paid-for stay at the 5-Star Hyatt ended. During those five days we were to find an apartment for the remaining four months of the baseball season. Close-to-impossible, we found out, except for one that would be available in ten days. Until then, we were on our own looking for affordable motels with kitchenettes. The key word here is “affordable.” With little choice short of living under a bridge, we took the first one available that would not eat up Dave’s entire paycheck.
So, yesterday, after saying good-bye to the Hyatt’s valet parking, rooftop lap pool, complimentary orange/cucumber water and plush, over-sized towels, I dropped Dave off at the ballpark at noon for him to leave on a six-day roadtrip where he would stay in a 4-Star hotel. I, on the other hand, could check-in at my 2-Star facility at 3:00. In the meantime, I would make the best of it and take care of important things…
like a $30 pedicure, the kind where your feet are paraffin-waxed and your legs rubbed with hot rocks. Then I checked in at our motel. Correction: I tried to check in. No one was at the front desk. (Had I been a thief I could have made off with a new laptop and several rolls of toilet paper.) Minutes passed before I walked the halls, calling out for someone to help. Juanita finally appeared from who-knows-where.
She excused herself to check to see if my room was ready. When she reappeared with beads of sweat on her forehead, I realized she must double as the maid. Juanita read me my rights. I could have the regular, free Wi-Fi which was “really slow” or pay extra for the faster speed. If I needed towels, I was to bring my used ones to the front desk to exchange them for clean ones. The maid would change my sheets in seven days. (Oh, Hyatt, where art thou?)
I asked if there was a luggage roll-cart. There was. It was right around the corner with a hand-written sign on it: “Do not use. Tire is flat.” “Jackson” appeared from a storage closet and showed me where a workable cart was, only this one, once loaded, balked at corners and left tire tread marks on my freshly-pedicured, paraffined toes. Jackson, fearing I would run over the lobby coffee table, offered to guide my contraption.
The view from my room was a dumpster supporting broken-down mattresses, the pool was the size of a Subaru, and the towels, Kleenex and toilet paper doubled as exfoliators. Jackson told me to expect my kitchen supplies in spurts, a pot today and a pan tomorrow. “You know, because we are really busy.” Which might explain why I was the only vehicle in the parking lot. You’ve gotta laugh.
Yesterday things weren’t quite so funny. Yesterday when I ran errands, I was stunned by the number of homeless people carrying “Jesus loves you” signs. This motel would be the Taj Mahal to them. Who am I to deserve what comforts it offers (like a roof and running water)?
Paul, who penned more Epistles than any author, knew the difference between a 5-Star and 2-Star existence. Born into Hyatt-style privilege, he was well-educated and held an esteemed position among the Pharisees. He lacked for nothing…until, that is, God zapped him into a life of submission. In his words, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Phil. 4:12)
And that’s the attitude I choose to have. I choose to be content.
So now, if you will excuse me, I am off for a 30-minute swim. Two-thousand, four-hundred laps should do it.
Like I said, you’ve gotta laugh.