Persona non grata in Baton Rouge and Ottawa

My 42nd birthday is shaping up to be the worst since I was half that age.

My 21st birthday in 1997 was a horror show. The day before, a Sunday, I got a flat tire driving back from my parents’ home in New Orleans to Baton Rouge to be back at LSU in time for class Monday. My mother had to come rescue me, because my father could not, since he was on company business in Brazil. It happened to be the day after LSU’s football team beat then-number one Florida, a game I didn’t attend because I was suspended from working with LSU’s sports information office because of a resignation letter I wrote the previous Sunday. Herb Vincent reinstated me the day after my birthday, and he should not have. Now that I look back on it, I’m glad I wasn’t at the game. It was a complete drunken madhouse.

The day of my 21st, it poured and it was chilly. My mother and I went to an appointment with the therapist I was seeing at the time (he was no Crista).

My 30th was hell. I covered a state tennis tournament, drove to Abilene for a football game, then back to Russell so I could be in Stockton the next morning for a volleyball tournament. At least I don’t have that to worry about.

My 39th was pretty bad, too. I was still devastated by all that went on in the summer of 2015 (starting July 17, at least) and my financial woes were wearing me way down.

My first hope was to be in Baton Rouge for the LSU-Georgia football game. Michael Bonnette, LSU’s longtime sports publicity director, suggested it to me when I was there in April for baseball. I made reservations for a hotel and a rental car.

That plan went awry in late August. Dan Borne, the public address announcer, said no way to me helping him spot in his booth. Then Michael refused to help me get a credential or even a ticket. Then tickets cost at least $150–and they’re now going for at least $350.

The next idea was to go to Ottawa to watch Caitlyn play volleyball. Peggy seemed open to it last week. Then last night she gave the hint that she did not want me there because an old friend of hers would be there.

Now I was stuck with a hotel room in Lenexa I couldn’t cancel. I booked there because it was much easier to drive from there to Ottawa down Interstate 35 than it was from the area around KCI, which is where I normally stay. I decided to make the trip anyway. Better to wallow alone than in the basement of my house.

When I got to the hotel, my jaw dropped. The area around the hotel looks like Panama City after Hurricane Michael. Construction EVERYWHERE. And the hotel lobby fronts the street, and there is only room for two cars to pull up and unload. Of course, the unloading area was clogged by ride share cars.

The parking area was a garage on the back side of the hotel…with three flights of stairs to descend to get to the back entrance. Holy fucking shit.

Worse, there was only one way to get out of the stupid garage, and you had to turn right and drive away from Interstate 435 before you could U-turn and go in the proper direction.

I was very upset. VERY UPSET. I would never have touched this hotel with a ten-meter pole if I had known. Besides, there is absolutely NOTHING around the hotel, and it would take 20 minutes to drive into Overland Park or Olathe to find something.

I was very, very, very fortunate I was able to cancel the reservation without penalty and book back across the river.

I’m now praying I have leukemia. I want to have leukemia. It would be far better than the shitty life I’m living.

 

About David

I am a sportswriter for a group of weekly newspapers in small towns across northern Kansas. I grew up in New Orleans, went to college at LSU and wandered in the wilderness until Hurricane Katrina finally put me on the path to my current job.

Posted on October 11, 2018, in Personal. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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