Too much to see at the hotel

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By Vince Luecke

I once heard the saying that a man is never truly a man until he stands naked in front of a woman. I might amend that idiom to something like "there's never a more nervous man than the one who stands naked in front of a woman without knowing that he's doing it." That happened unexpectedly last Monday morning after I gave a woman in Omaha, Neb., an unexpected thrill, though she would have classified it as quite the scare.  I'd spent the weekend in the Plains and Sunday was a reunion of sorts of friends now living in Michigan, Minnesota and Nebraska. I had planned to fly back Sunday afternoon but a pal who underestimated the driving time from the center part of the state caused me to miss my flight.  I could have rebooked but didn't want to pay the $500 fare for a flight later in the day. That left me in a nearby hotel for the night. Speaking of airline fares, Delta was generous in selling me a round-trip ticket from Louisville to Omaha for $160, but that was before adding $25 each way for my checked bag.  So I ended up paying nearly a third of the cost of the ticket for my one bag. As anyone who travels regularly knows, it pays to travel light and not to check a bag if at all possible.  I'm fine with tacking fees on to travelers with multiple pieces of luggage or who take golf clubs or other large items with them. But one bag checked without charge should be the norm, right up there with a tiny bag of pretzels and a soft drink.  After saying goodbye to friends, I settled in my room, walked to a nearby Subway for supper and watched the Academy Awards for the what had to be the first time in a decade.  The person who spent the night in the room before me had, for some unknown reason, unplugged the small alarm clock and while I'd asked for a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call, I wanted a backup, so I set the clock. I like getting up with the sun and hate cooped-up rooms without natural light. So I opened the drapes about half way before turning in.   The alarm clock jarred me from a peaceful slumber, but would not turn off, no matter which buttons I punched. I quickly discovered why the previous tenant had unplugged the thing. I did the same.  I was about to tiptoe into the shower when the telephone rang. Aha, my wake-up call. I walked around the corner to the desk in the middle of the room and answered the phone. I thanked the recorded voice and then stopped suddenly in my tracks. The window! I looked down. My feet were bare and so was the rest of me.  I looked toward the window. I was on the ground floor and I saw a figure pass by, a woman jogging, a few yards outside the window. I lurched out of the way, but as Ray Steven sings in "The Streak," it was too late. I'd already flashed the woman.  I hoped the jogger hadn't seen me. Half an hour later, I felt the news.  The woman, dressed in jogging attire, gave me quite the stare while I nibbled nervously on a slice of raisin toast in the hotel's small dining room. She never said anything but I could tell she had gazed at me in all my glory.

My face no doubt reddened and I hoped she knew I was not some exhibitionist. Next time I'll keep the curtain closed.