Tuesday, May 31, 2005

"525,600 minutes, 525,600 moments so dear..."

Can anyone name the song quote?

Today marks my one-year anniversary as a blogger! Thanks for letting me share a piece of my life with you...


Monday, May 16, 2005
Kahului Airport, Maui, Hawaii
10:00pm local time

Steph and I can barely keep our eyes open. Our bodies are telling us that it's the middle of the night, when even nocturnal freaks like yours truly and psychopathic studiers like Steph would be sound asleep.

Claire, Dan Johnson's assistant, gave me a phone number to call for the car rental when I landed. I dial it.


"Hi, may I speak to.... Bruce?"

"Speaking..... STEEVE?!"

"Yeah, yeah, that's me."

"Welcome to Hawaii!! I've been waiting for your call!"

"Oh. Well, we're here. It was a long trip-"

"Be RIGHT there! I'm five minutes away. Meet me outside the baggage claim area. I'll be waiting! Oh, what color shirt are you wearing, so I know who I'm looking for?"

"Dark blue Polo shirt."

We get our bags and somnambulate out the door, shuffling to the curb. There's a black lincoln navigator right in front of us.

"What kind of car are we getting, Steve?"

"Dan Johnson said they were going to upgrade us-"

The front passenger-side window of the Navigator rolls down. "Steve?" A man says.


He exits the car and runs around to greet me. "Steve!" He smiles, shaking my hand vigorously. "I'm Bruce Carmichael! Welcome to Hawaii!"

"Thanks, Bruce! Is THIS our car?!"

"Why, is there something wrong with it?" he says, his eyes wide.

"No, it's incredible!"

"My boss told me to take special care of you. My card is in the glove with all your paperwork, so please call me if you have ANY questions. If you want recommendations for restaurants, sightseeing, if there's any problem with the car.... but believe me, Steve, there is NOT going to be a problem with the car!"

"Yeah, what's the deal? " I say, gesturing toward the Navigator. "I mean, there's just two of us, do we really need-"

He interrupts me with a shake of his head. "The boss told me to give you the most high-end car we had. This was it."

Bruce helps me load the bags into the Lincoln; Steph climbs in, her eyes so close to being shut that I'm surprised she can see where she's going.

I get into the car. It feels like I am scaling a ladder to a treehouse. "So, Steph, you're gonna have to wake up long enough to walk to the room-"

I turn to face her. Her eyes are wide open; she's smiling like a hungry kid in an M & M factory. "This thing is INCREDIBLE! Feel the SEATS!!"

I sit back, and I am enveloped by soft, fresh leather. New car smell is all around us.

"Never mind the hotel. Can we stay in here!?" she beams.

I turn around and look. There are three rows of seats behind us. "We've got enough room for it!"

I drove a truck for a couple of days when I was moving into my house; truck-driving is the best analogy I can think of for what it's like in the Lincoln. You're up high, looking down on the traffic, and miles above where I'm used to in my little two-seater. My car could fit in the glove compartment of this thing.

We arrive at the hotel. Steph is dozing off again. "Come get me when you're all ready," she mumbles.

As soon as I enter the lobby, I know I'm in no ordinary hotel. My sleepy eyes catch only glimpses of what is here, but glimpses are enough. A spotless floor, with not a trace of a scuff mark. Colorful fresh flowers everywhere. Gorgeous artwork adorns the walls, and the staff is impeccably dressed.

"Steven, right? You're Steven," a man says.

"Yes. Call me Steve."

He's a short, dark-skinned man of maybe 50, with sharply-creased slacks and an expensive-looking silk shirt.

"I'm Roy," he smiles. "Welcome to-"

"How did you know my name?"

"Excuse me?"

"How did you know who I was?"

"Your friend Bruce called."


"If you'll show me to your car I can have someone get your luggage for you. Then I'll take you over to get checked in."

We walk back to the car and I help Steph out. Another employee loads my luggage onto a cart and follows us to the check-in counter, then up to our room, all the while telling us about the hotel and what they have to offer.

He opens the door to our room, and I almost fall over from the shock.

It's huge, bigger than the apartment I lived in before I bought my house. An enormous bathroom. A private balcony. A sitting area. An eating area, with glass-topped table and wicker chairs. A huge TV with DVD library. Yes, a DVD library! Gorgeous furniture and fixtures that look brand new. In fact, by the looks of things, construction on this place could have been finished yesterday; that is how unused it seems.

The employee who escorted us sets our luggage neatly on a counter top. "Enjoy your stay," he smiles, then turns quickly on his heel and heads for the door.

I reach into my pocket and pull out a five-dollar bill. "I have something-" The door closes.

"I am REALLY gonna enjoy this place when I wake up," Steph says, collapsing face-first onto the bed. Two minutes later I am next to her. It's going to feel good to sleep.