"You have got to be kidding me."
I stood in the front lobby of a three star hotel, glaring at the old people hobbling behind a bellboy and the young people showing too much artificially tanned skin and tracking sand onto the ugly flowered carpet.
I turned to verbally abuse my limo driver, but he was already out the door, about to escape in my limo.
"Patrick!" I yelled, nearly tripping over my luggage as I yelled out the door. "Take one more step and you're fired. You have to take me home this instant."
Patrick stopped in his tracks and looked up sheepishly at me from under his uniform driver's hat.
"Apologies, Madam. I'm afraid you have been overruled this time."
"I am supposed to be at a conference in Chicago. This is not Chicago and what do you mean I've been overruled?"
"All your employees, colleagues and associates insisted that you get a vacation. They - we - cooked up this scheme. You must remain at this resort for a full week. Get a massage, read something other than a report, lie on the beach, and eat real food. No email, no cell phone, no take out, no work of any kind. After the week is up, you can come back."
"No. No, no. No. I am going to Chicago."
"I'm afraid not, Ms. Watson."
" I cannot believe what I am hearing. I don't do resorts.What's to stop me from catching a cab and flying to Chicago?"
"If you do not stay here the entire week, your mother will come down and keep you company."
An involuntary shudder snaked up my spine. "That's blackmail! I have a deadline to meet-"
Patrick tipped his hat and climbed into the limo with a grin.
I stood outside the hotel, my suit jacket flapping in the hot wind as he drove away.
Ambushed! Abandoned! What was I supposed to do at a dumpy hotel for a whole week?
Defeated, I went back into the hotel to make sure my luggage had not been stolen in my absence. It was still there, sitting in front of the doors. It had been packed for a three day conference, not a week on the beach. I sighed and lugged them up to the front desk. Those suitcases were a lot heavier when you didn't have someone else to carry them for you.
"I guess I need a room."
"Certainly, Madam. Smoking or nonsmoking?"
"Nonsmoking." I replied, though I was suddenly contemplating picking up the habit.
"The only nonsmoking we have left are ground floor, facing the street."
"No, I need a suite. Top floor, please."
"I'm sorry, Ms. Watson, but they are all occupied."
"Do you have anything else?"
"We have some theme rooms - would you prefer Outer Space or Under the Sea? Or we have some lovely rustic cottages on the beach."
"Do I look like the kind of person who wants a rustic cottage?" I felt a bad headache coming on.
"We also have a lovely boathouse," the desk clerk suggested sarcastically, "I'll have to ask my manager if he'll let you sleep in one of our luxury canoes."