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  • John Markowski

A Photo a Day - Day 36

I have a phobia that has no clinical name. I looked it up. If the scientific community asked for my assistance in naming said phobia, I'd urge them to call it this: hmm-don't-see-it-here-itis.

Allow me to explain.

One patiently waits in line and when one's turn arrives, one says, "Picking up an order for Markowski." Person on other side of podium/table/hard plastic shield looks at computer and squints. Person then responds with, "What was the name again?". One's anxiety builds. "It's Markowski." Person consults computer again and grimaces. One's anxiety climbs to full-blown-panic mode. Person asks, "Are you sure you ordered from this Buffalo Wild Wings?" One knows they did but one doubts himself. One consults the email confirmation, sees the order and insists, "yes I did." Person calls over coworker to assist. Coworker squints, grimaces and shrugs. One then runs away.

This can happen at the pharmacy. "Are you sure the doctor called it in?" Here we go. Yes, dammit, I dropped it off like 48 hours ago.

This can happen at the library. "I'm here to pick up the copy of Fifty Shades of Grey I reserved." One makes sure no one is within distance to hear conversation. "Not for Markowski. You sure you're not Carol Dusenberry?"

This can happen at the job interview. "John Markowski here to see Phil Watkins." Receptionist turns, whispers in headset and head spins back. "Did you have an appointment?" Stomach drops. "Nope. Thought a drop-in was a good idea." Receptionist doesn't get sarcasm.

And this can happen at a hotel. Like it did one year ago to the day. This one trumped all others.

I studied the woman's face at the Residence Inn in Port St. Lucie, FL after my wife provided our name upon check-in. She made the face. I pooped my pants.

Hours later, my wife, my son, my daughter, our traveling companion/friend and myself slept in this tiny vehicle in the hotel parking lot.

We had no room for the night. Not a single hotel in a fifty-mile radius had availability.

It was a Saturday

On President's Day weekend

In Florida.

We tried, believe me we tried. We pleaded, begged and offered up the kids as barter but to no avail.

We drove aimlessly to kill time. We were there for New York Mets Spring Training so we drove by the field, like twenty-two times.

We giggled at our situation and said, "we'll laugh at this some day" and then no one spoke for an hour. FYI: I haven't laughed looking back on it.

We ate at IHOP at 3:00 am cause why not. The place was filled with drunk and high, high school kids so it was a real treat. At one point, my over-tired son stood and insisted someone was stealing our car. He was wrong. But holy hell did we get a good laugh. That kept us occupied until 4:00 am.

More driving until we settled on the hotel parking lot. No one slept but we survived the first day watching practice. We eventually found a room for the next three nights so all wasn't lost. Except that hotel had a raccoon that swam in the pool. And after we notified the staff, we spotted man carrying around a black plastic bag, tied at the top, along with a pole. That's not what we wanted.

Beyond that the hotel fulfilled our needs.

Looking back, we should've known 2020 was going to be an odd year.

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