My sister Bec is leaving later this week to spend some time in Washington D.C. and NYC. She loves both cities, and given that she lived in the D.C. area for 30 years, she has lots of friends to visit. This time, instead of getting a hotel room, she decided to go the VRBO route. She has rented what appears to be a cute little apartment near the Dupont Circle area, an area with which she is both fond and familiar.
The other day she told me that she received a call from the landlord of the apartment. He explained that he would not be around when she checked in (which will be in the neighborhood of 10 o’clock p.m.). He told her when she arrives (with nearly two weeks worth of luggage) she will need to take the stairs down and retrieve her key from where it will be hanging on the wall. She must then go upstairs (with nearly two weeks worth of luggage) a few floors to the apartment.
“I’m not crazy about the fact that the key is hanging where it is accessible to anyone who has diabolical intentions,” she said. (Well, she might not have used the word diabolical because that seems more like something I would say than she, but you get the point.).
And then we began talking about whether or not we were getting too old for this kind of business. Perhaps, she speculated, she should just do as she’s done in the past — have a cab or Lyft driver drop her off at the front door of a hotel where a doorman would handle her luggage and she would get a key from the front desk which would open the door to her predictable room.
“And I would have clean sheets every day and wouldn’t have to make my own bed,” she added.
VRBOs seem like such good ideas at the time, when you are sitting in your recliner and dinner is in the crock pot.
Bill and I have often talked about how we are so grateful that we did our three-month European excursion in 2008 instead of waiting until now. Because our experience wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun. If I checked into VRBO in Barcelona today and the second floor apartment in which we were going to spend our next couple of days was literally sinking onto the floor below (and that’s a true story), I wouldn’t have laughed about it as I did during those first few days of our trip. Instead, I would have turned around and walked to the nearest Holiday Inn Barcelona and spent a few boring days there, looking at beige walls without a single story to tell.
I can’t exactly explain why, but rolling with the punches is so much easier when you’re in your 30s or 40s or even 50s. Sixty-five is too old for much punch rolling. In fact, I’m beginning to think that I need a footman and a lady’s maid and a cook and a butler, but perhaps I’ve just been watching too much Downton Abbey. (I would, however, get tired of having to wear a dress and long gloves to dinner.)
Barcelona was our first stop when we got off the ship, looking at three months of travel ahead of us. Bill had made all of the arrangements, and I will admit that when I saw the sinking floor in Barcelona, my heart sank just like the floor. I’m happy to say, however, that during the remainder of the trip, all floors were solid and all apartments were highly satisfactory.
As I’m sure Bec’s will be.