I had no idea of the anguish ahead of me. After all, the room had a beguiling allure of happy color and Mexican art with a beautifully tiled bathroom.
But my room on the second floor of the Hotel Trébol in Oaxaca City had a flaw. It didn’t have hot water.
Our Compassion Mexico Sponsor Tour stayed in several hotels while traveling in Oaxaca and its outskirts in January of this year. After staying two nights, we left the Hotel Trébol for other hotels, with plans to return for our final three nights. As soon as we checked back in at the Trébol, I requested a different room.
“A room with hot water,” I said, then clarified in bad Spanish, “Necesito agua calor.” (I need heat water.) The clerks at the front desk didn’t speak English, but they smiled and this gave me the confidence they understood my plight. Plus, you can communicate a lot with hand signals. And I only used friendly ones.
I liked my new room because it had a beautiful cobalt blue sink painted with Calla lilies. To me, that seemed like a good sign. I had an upgraded sink, so I felt confident I had an upgraded shower.
I tried the hot water faucet in the shower. Cold water gushed out.
“Run the water a long time and it will get hot,” one of my fellow travelers advised.
“The water won’t stay hot for long,” another fellow traveler warned, telling me she had hot water in her room but it turned cold quickly. “I had shampoo in my hair and before I could rinse it out, the water started to get cold,” she said.
That night, I decided to let the shower water run until it (hopefully) got hot. I wore only my robe and my slippers, hoping to maximize my time when the hot water finally came through.
After ten minutes or so, the water started to feel warmer and suddenly…(trumpets blasting victory) the water was hot. I had no time to waste. I flung the robe off and jumped in the shower. Then as I grabbed for the soap, I realized I had forgotten to remove my slippers. My Ugg slippers, made of sheep’s wool and leather, didn’t survive my hasty leap. I had soggy, drenched, squishy slippers. I hurried with the shower and finished in time before the cold water returned.
I attempted to dry my slippers with the Revlon hairdryer I had purchased at the Oaxaca Walmart. But the hairdryer couldn’t dry sopping wet wool or dank, wet leather.
I took one of the hotel’s towels and laid it over my slippers. I then danced on the towels, like a geisha giving a back massage. I hoped I could squeeze the water out. The leather created huge brown stains on the towel. The slippers remained waterlogged.
I said to my Muy Buena Amiga, a veterinarian from Michigan and member of our tour group who I’ll call Audrey Hepburn…(She probably wouldn’t mind me using her real name, but since I don’t have her permission and because she’s as lovely and graceful as Audrey Hepburn, actually more so, I’m using an alias for her)…I said to Audrey, “My slippers are soaked and I can’t pack them in my luggage unless they are dry. Wet slippers, even in a plastic bag, could ruin some of the things I’m taking home with me.”
Audrey said, wisely, “Sometimes you have to let things go.”
As soon as she said this, I had peace. Yes, I loved those Ugg slippers and they cost a fortune (as slippers go) and I didn’t want to say good-bye to them.
Even so, I mentally let the slippers go. Ahh. I’m at peace. Or am I?
Letting go is hard. I hate letting go. I don’t ever want to say good-bye to the things and people or cuddly cats the size of a water-buffalo that I love. Who does?
(Smithers, I miss you so much.)
Still, I must let go of this loss of my beloved, (not to mention expensive), slippers.
I set the slippers beside the trash can in the hotel room’s bathroom. I wondered if the housekeeper would see them and take them home, dry them out over the next month or two, and wear them for herself? This thought gave me a sense of purpose, like I had given slippers to someone who would appreciate them. Or did the housekeeper toss them in the trash as she cleaned? This thought made me angry with the housekeeper. How could she?
Why am I harboring on this? Didn’t I let it go?
Yet, there’s a mystery to life. This is it: when we let things go, and when it’s well with our soul, we sometimes take it back.
Sometimes we have to let things go, over and over.
Oh, hello sad thoughts of my slippers.
No, I let it go. Good-bye. That’s final.
What’s happening? My fingers oddly want to shop online. A force beyond my control has me in its grip. Oh, oh! Should I?