A million cars formed an angry trail of red taillights, stretching before me like a molten trail of fiery lava. The two and a half hours of travel that had already passed formed a cloud of consternation inside the car; toll booths, crawling traffic jams, ambulances, cars cutting me off, missed exits, not to mention spontaneous tirades of expletives emitting from my vocal cords, all helped to form the molecules of the dark cloud inside my car. Now, though, I found myself on the last stretch, almost to the airport hotel, my final destination.
But not quite almost.
Still another hour trickled by before, at last, I spotted the beige building, the green sign that read, “Embassy Suites.” Finally! Exhausted from Friday at work and an extended combative experience with five o’clock New York City / New Jersey traffic, I glanced to my left at the sign next to the hotel that almost seemed to point and laugh at me: “Parking: $20.” Sigh. How do I even get in there? I wondered, placing my forehead atop the steering wheel of my 2009 Honda Pilot.
Five minutes later, following a quick exchange with the hotel desk clerk, I wearily restarted the vehicle I’d temporarily left outside and drove to the mouth of the laughing parking lot. After passing a magical card key over a black pad, I watched as a striped arm rose, allowing me to pass and park- reluctantly, it seemed…
Now the moment was getting close. I could suddenly feel my mood altering, my countenance bending upward. Quickly grabbing the green bag I had hastily assembled thirteen hours prior, I closed the car door, quick-stepping to the side entrance of the hotel. In the elevator. Up to floor six. Unlock room 604.
And there they were.
Three beautiful daughters, one beautiful wife. Any angst, frustration, and consternation melted away as I embraced them.