Walking around the hotel at 4am and wondering if I'm still sane. I am comforted by a huge black man--he kind of looks like a preacher--and I walk by him and see he's surfing porn on his phone. So there's that, I think to myself, as my bare feet pad along the carpeted floor. There's a certain breezing motion you get in a hotel hallway; lots of benchmarks, door after door, vending machine, and it feels like you're going somewhere. It's a mouse maze and you'll probably just end up at some food, as I did, trying to quietly drop quarters into the machine. It's right next to a room and I'm imagining me in there trying to sleep while some douchebag empties his piggy bank one coin at a time into a metal drawer. I get to what should be the 1.25 for the jerky but nothing happens. I push the change release and the clanking sound has me cussing louder than the coins crashing. One of them it turns out is an arcade token. Gotta do it again. And while the little turnstile spins its snack hostage to its death drop, I catch my reflection in the glass. "You can't eat this stuff forever," I think as I eye the Rice Krispie treats.
It's easy being me. In theory, it's easy being me. I wonder if that's the same for everyone. The idea of being themselves is pretty awesome. I get the clearest picture of it when I'm on an airplane or in a hotel room. None of my junk is scattered around. There's no work to do or house to fix. It's just me in this little rented space and I can feel what it would be like to shed that skin.
It's an easy thought. Get up early to write, get the kids to school, take some time to learn something new, go to work and then come home to bliss. My brain would be so free. It would, I swear, and I'm not just saying that. So I gotta do it. And I scold myself for comparing myself to the porn surfing preacher in the lobby. Taking a guy at his low point and holding him up as measuring stick is probably not the standard for achievement. But barefoot and eating some nasty processed meat before killing the Rice Krispie treat in a hotel lobby at 4am is probably a nice low place from which to look up.
So I sit down to tap out some words and a horde of people pour into the lobby. It's clearly a tour of some sort. Weary looking pretty people on bejeweled cell phones and pulling leopard print bags scatter about. A husky guy takes care of the front desk business and I get a tall black woman with natural hair and crazy eyelash extensions--some glitter and lots of makeup--sitting next to me. She asks me if I know anyone named Webbie and Lil Boosie. I run through the titles of PBS Kids but can't think of it. They're rappers it turns out, and she's the manager. Assistant manager, she stresses in a correction, like the manager is listening. This is her first major tour and she's learning a lot. She gets yelled at all the time, but she doesn't mind it. She also has three kids, one of whom is working on her doctorate in health management, and another who's on the tour with her. There are 45 people in the entourage (and for a moment I think of MC Hammer going broke toting his friends and family around the country) and she's staying up until everyone gets a place to sleep before she goes back to the bus and gets as much rest as possible. She shares with me some pictures of last night's show. Looks packed and successful. There are deejays and rappers and singers. She also tells me of her love of music, and how big and ominous the clouds are up here. Her "down there" is Atlanta. Seems hot to me. She gets my card, follows me on Twitter and drags herself back to the bus. (I want to offer her a shower...and I smile again thinking of my wife and kids waking to the noise and I'm like, "don't worry...she's with Webbie and Lil' Boosie...")
It's been two and a half hours since I woke up to get the boys to pee. The bright heat lamp in the bathroom confused Otto, and he tried to cover his eyes while spraying the bathroom down. Quin was easier, but the commotion turned my brain on just enough to keep me awake. And then my conscience kicks in and I do that thing where I obsess on needing to improve. I know a lady who just died of a heart attack. And I'm spending way too much time thinking about my work. And I'm out of shape. I need to get back on my game. So I'm in a Raddison in Colorado Springs, and I'm up and I'm thinking. And I remember how I told this rap tour manager that the clouds only look scary.