‘Did you enjoy your stay?’
‘Well, no.’ I said.
We were checking out of our hotel on our most recent road-trip to Edinburgh.
My mouth gets me in trouble sometimes.
Now. I could have been talking about a few reasons why this trip was not the best trip.
There was a goodbye party for one of my two best Mum friends who has decided to move back to literally the other side of the fecking world. (Hi, I still love you.)
Then there was breakfast with my other best Mum friend and threenager tears when we had to leave (from the kids, too. I love us all.)
There was not enough time to do a Costco trip within a trip, either.
So, when the overly-caffeinated receptionist asked if we enjoyed our stay, I had to tell the truth. I did not.
And the icing on the cranky cake was the fire alarm going off at six-thirty the previous morning.
I should mention that most wheelchair-accessible hotel rooms (by law) should be on the ground floor in case of fires. Because you cannot use the lift/elevator in the event of a fire.
That’s fine. That’s groovy.
The issue for me comes when the family room is upstairs and too small for my chair and the accessible room is too small for my family. Because, y’know, disabled people don’t have children. Obviously.
Either I travel with my child, or I literally take the easy way out. Isla wins, because I’m a mother first, I enjoy her company and if we left her at home alone we’d go to jail.
Every time I check in somewhere and the room is indeed upstairs, I say a little prayer to my grandparents that there will be no fire alarms.
But there was one. And it was attached to an actual fire.
I left my chair at the top of the stairs, moved into a fire evacuation chair, which to my mind is more of a sled, and was swiftly assisted out of the building by someone who I assumed was the hotel’s fire safety officer.
Neil and Isla were following us down the stairs with Isla going, ‘I’ll help you, Mumma.’
Soon I was out in the cold like everyone else. The crowd of people seemed to really want to dump blankets on the girl in the chair with no wheels. I gave the blankets to Isla.
Everyone else was in coats and slippers. My first thought was ‘Get out.’ So we got out in bare feet.
There was an actual fire, but we missed how it started. I don’t care. We got out, and I didn’t have to wait behind the fire doors for the all-clear.
So, on the morning we checked out, I awkwardly explained why I did not have the best of times. But then I just shut up and said, ‘Tell your safety officer I said thanks again.’
There is a safety procedure in place, and it worked.
And for that, I am grateful.