Bill and I made a last-minute decision — based on weather — to leave for AZ on Friday instead of Saturday. I, frankly, am not sure what weather I was worried about. I think the Weather Channel app might have showed a snowflake somewhere in the United States over the weekend, and that’s enough to make me panic.
We left about 8:30 Friday morning. As expected, traffic was quite light, even though it was conceivably still rush hour. I imagine rush hours in general are much lighter than they were in, say, February 2020. But the general concern about COVID numbers going up country-wide is making people think twice about getting in their cars to drive somewhere they don’t really have to go.
I will tell you that a lot of thought went in to our decision to leave for AZ. We knew we wanted to spend the winter here. If we have to be quarantined, it just seems more pleasant to be able to be quarantined in 70 degree January weather than someplace involving shoveling snow. And we knew we had to get our car to AZ somehow. We could have shipped it, but instead we decided to take all the necessary safety measures and drive.
We reached our hotel in Albuquerque around 3:30. It was a very nice Hilton Hotel, part of their curio collection. The curio collection is a series of historic hotels that Hilton purchased and remodeled back to their original grandeur. I had high hopes. When I had called the day before to change the date of our stay, the person to whom I spoke assured me that the restaurant was open, and so was the cocktail lounge. No worries, she promised me.
Well, the woman who made these promises must have been someplace other than the hotel in which we stayed — like maybe St. Louis, MO –because everything was shut tight as a drum. There was, however, room service available. We weren’t fussy. Our plans were to get our overnight bag upstairs, sit down, and not touch anything.
I am very certain that they room had been properly sanitized. It smelled clean. Nevertheless, the first thing I did was pull out my little bottle of disinfectant spray and spray down the entire room — the sofa, the tables, the bed, the remote control. If it didn’t move, it got sprayed.
Having come to grips with the fact that I wasn’t going to go down to the cocktail lounge and order a martini to bring up to my room, I opened up my handy dandy martini case that my brother and sister-in-law very astutely gave me as a gift years ago. All I needed was ice.
I took a walk down the mostly-deserted hallway on the lookout for the ice machine. No such luck. So I called room service. It rang and rang and rang. Finally, I went downstairs to the front desk and asked how I could obtain ice. She assured me she would call room service and have some sent up.
Some minutes later, I answered a knock on the door. There was the front desk person with my ice. Thank you, I said, wondering who was answering the phone. You’re welcome, she answered, wondering why I needed ice so dadgummed much, knowing she should instead be downstairs answering the phone.
Later on, when I went downstairs to return the luggage cart we had borrowed, I saw that the young woman had gone for the day, and she had been replaced by a young man, who greeted me cheerfully.
Around 6 o’clock, I called room service, and the call was answered promptly. I ordered our food, and we awaited the knock on the door. It came in about 20 minutes, and you guessed it, it was the young man from the front desk.
It finally occurred to me that there were quite literally three people on staff at this quite large Hilton Hotel. There was a receptionist, who also took reservations, acted as concierge, answered room service, and met said room service needs. There was someone who prepared the food, and undoubtedly acted as his/her own sous chef, and washed dishes as well. And there was one housecleaning staff person who we saw early the next morning beginning her rounds.
I wasn’t a bit mad. We are all doing what we can during this difficult time. I’m sure that the hotel is trying to get along with as few staff as possible — both to save money, but probably more important, to keep most people safe. My takeaway was that I want to go back to that same hotel sometime when there is not a worldwide pandemic and see if I can call room service for ice and see someone other than the receptionist.