Simon Law reminds me that a camera is not essential, and that I can
draw pictures with my words. Here is the room I find myself in.
A single fluorescent tube lights the room. It sits above a small desk,
which is too high for me to type comfortably on if I use the provided
chair. I sit on the bed instead, over a light blue bedsheet secured by
crisp hospital corners to a bed that seems—if it is at all
possible—just a bit shorter than the twin-sized bed back in my dorm.
The cotton is rough against my skin. For a moment, I think of a friend
and her difficulties with bed bugs. Then again, even the best of
hotels are infested with them, so I do not worry too much about being
penny-wise and pound-foolish. I think positive thoughts and assume
there are none.
Both the blanket and the radiator are superfluous this summer night. A
large window admits the slightest hint of a breeze, along with the
sounds of Boston at night: the constant whir of airconditioners,
sirens trailing off into the distance, cars rumbling past. I can see
into the windows of the Northeastern University, and find myself not
particularly caring that they can see in, especially as I wouldn’t be
able to do much about it anyway. These roughly-painted wood and glass
windows have probably never bothered with luxuries such as curtains or
I am glad that I packed a light nightgown instead of a flannel one. I
regret forgetting to bring slippers. I hesitate for a moment before I
grit my teeth and tiptoe gingerly towards the communal bathroom. After
all, I survived other dormitory floors. While I’m at it, I also
fill a paper cup with water from the bathroom sink.
I think this just might be the most bare-bones place I’ve ever stayed
in. Well, except for the Internet cafe that I spent the night in one
time—yes, Internet cafes can sometimes come out cheaper than hostels,
particularly when in Japan. It’s doable, though, and doesn’t bother me
Hostelling International will have room tomorrow, but that means
bringing my stuff to IBM, and I’ll have to call ahead to make sure I
get the spot. I think I’ll stay here another night if the room is
available. This might even work out better for now than, say,
couch-surfing—although I’m certainly looking forward to couch-surfing
next time around.
To bed. I’ll dream about my presentation and work out the details tomorrow.
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