I’m currently in Niagara Falls attending a conference. Last night (Feb. 19), my ad manager and one of our friends from P.E.I. went over to the Copacabana Restaurant across the street from our hotel to have some dead cow on a stick. Basically, it’s some rip-off of a famous Brazilian (or maybe it was Argentinian?) restaurant where hot looking guys serve you hot meat sizzling on skewers and you make an absolute pig of yourself.
Fast forward several hours. I’m lying in my nice soft, comfy hotel bed – dreaming of good-looking shirtless Brazilian men serving me skewers of meat – when this heart-stopping, annoying noise that I can only describe as a cross between a whoop and a bray erupts out of nowhere, causing me to sit bolt upright. I’m completely disoriented, wondering where the Brazilian men went.
I manage to clamber half asleep out of bed and proceed to examine every piece of electronic equipment I have in my room – two computers, mobile phone, e-book reader, clock radio, shoe shine machine – trying to figure out which one is making that horrible noise. I even checked the fucking Jacuzzi tub!
Suddenly, this disembodied voice comes over some loud speaker hidden in my hotel room ceiling (who knew?) – causing me to jump about eight feet into the air – telling me the hotel fire alarm has been activated, the fire department is on its way, and that I need to evacuate the building.
So I stand there in the middle of my suite trying to decide what to do. Visions of the great 2000 Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers Conference debacle come to mind – Hilton Hotel, London, Ontario, 21st floor, three fire alarms in one night, rubber legs for days. All I can hear is that horrible braying alarm and The Clash – Should I Stay or Should I Go Now? (Some might describe those two things as being one and the same – as a fan of The Clash, I do not.)
I get dressed. The room next door to me is filled with screeching young girls panicking as they try to save their make up bags and hair flattening irons. Me: I grab my room key, purse, mobile phone, e-book reader and a handful of small liquor bottles from the minibar and start the long trek down the stairs from the 25th floor.
I have made it to the 16th floor when the disembodied voice, which reminds me very much of that asshole game voice in The Hunger Games, comes back to inform us panting, exhausted guests crowding the stairwell that, hey, it was all some big mistake; we weren’t going to be burnt to a crisp in the Towering Inferno, and it was perfectly safe for us to return to our previously scheduled program, re: unconsciousness. I made it to the 19th floor before my legs gave out. I manage to crawl to the bank of elevators and push the up arrow repeatedly for five minutes straight. Somehow, I manage to return to my room.
And now I’m sitting here – wide awake, thanks – thinking: You know what? If it hadn’t been for that clattering clarion call from hell, I would now know what happened at the end of my shirtless-Brazilian-waiter-with-dead-cow-on-skewer dream. So guess what? Embassy Suites, you owe me a new dream!