A loud noise appears somewhere in the walls around me, and I woke up in a haze.
"Megan, did you hear that?"
Given the volume, I was sure she had to have heard, but it was 3 AM. We were in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the previous evening had involved a nice amount of wine with the folks--so perhaps she wouldn't have heard.
"Yes, and you need to do something about this."
Right. So I sprung to action. We were lodged at the Inn of the Anasazi, frequently rated in the top 500 hotels on the planet. And the place had, so far, lived up to this expectation. The staff was amazingly helpful. The rooms were spacious and charming, and the location could not have been superior.
But now it was 3 AM, and the walls were making a groaning sound of epic proportions. I was pretty sure this was the sound a dinosaur would make if it were having bamboo wedged under its toenails. As I walked toward the bathroom, the volume increased. I turned on a faucet, thinking that perhaps our pipes somehow had some air pressure that needed releasing (obviously I had no idea what I was doing), and the volume just increased. So, I called the front desk.
"Ummm. This is Brad Knapp in room 226, and a loud, groaning noise is coming from the bathroom." Immediately I realized that this probably sounded delusional, if not perverted, to the night manager. "It's like a loud, echoing screech." Maybe that would help.
"Well," he began in a voice that notified me that I definitely woke him, "we have someone in the basement working on the plumbing. Maybe that is it. See if it goes away."
Translation: I don't want to deal with this right now.
So, I laid back down, and the sounds continued. Megan and I mused that the sound was the ghost of the Anasazi coming to warn us about something (I was reading Collapse, which details the collapse of the Anasazi civilization, collapse triggered by a long period of resource depletion followed by a drought). Megan is not a fan of ghost stories however, so we quickly focused on our annoyance.
Meanwhile, I heard doors opening and shutting in the hallway, leading me to believe that the problem affected many. I didn't realize that my father was, at that moment, walking the hallway in his own investigation.
I decided to call the desk again. "Yes, this is really, really loud. Is everything alright?" The noise continued.
"Wait, is that the noise in the background? Wow! Okay, we'll get on that." Finally, the proof had been transmitted by phone, and action would take place. I felt better--if this hotel is among the best in the world, I would need to see proof and quick.
About twenty minutes later, the noise ceased. Shortly therafter, I heard a knock at the door. I quickly tossed on one of the soft robes featuring the hotel's monogram and opened the door. In front of me was an older gentleman in a denim shirt and jeans. He appeared to be completely soaked in water.
"I'm sorry for the noise, sir. A pipe exploded in the basement draining all of the water in the boiler and gushing cold water as well. The noise should be finished now."
I was speechless. I choked out a "thank you" and closed the door. I felt like an enormous jerk. I had spent the previous morning on the ski slopes enjoying a late March snowstorm that left me with empty slopes and gorgeous powder. That evening we had dined at The Compound, my favorite restaurant in Santa Fe. We had enjoyed gorgeous afternoon sunshine in one of the prettiest settings on earth. After all of that,I had crashed on a very soft mattress surrounded by down blanketing, and I had slept beautifully until briefly disturbed by the noise.
Meanwhile, this messenger came to the door after spending an hour, at least, getting soaking in a cold basement at 3 AM. He then was sent, by the management, to apologize to me, which, of course, made me feel like a horrible brat. I went back to bed feeling guilty but finally drifted into sleep.
The next morning the hot water was gone. Other guests were complaining about the situation, and, at this point, I decided I'd just keep my mouth shut. I'd shower later. For now, we'd just let the ghosts of the Anasazi work their mischief on someone else.