There’s something about a hotel bar that I just really like.
It’s never strange to eat and drink solo. Tired travelers make chill seat mates. Bartenders are used to making tired people in transit feel at ease. In the Charleston episode of No reservations, Anthony Bourdain described Waffle Houses as “irony-free zones where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts.” I feel like hotel bars have a similar vibe, except with more irony and very little judgement.
Last year Jake won a trip to see the Final Four in San Antonio over Easter weekend. Sunday was our only (mostly) free day. Jake opted for a group wine and rum tour. I gladly opted out of the wine and rum tour and found myself alone on Easter for the first time.
That morning, I pulled up a seat at the hotel bar, ordering two mimosas and an Easter buffet for one. The woman sitting next to me was also tagging along on her partner’s Final Four work trip and opted out of the group activity. We commiserated about introvert things and clinked mimosas.
Holidays are busy. And if you are struggling with infertility, holidays are hard. Here at the hotel bar, no one announced a pregnancy, no one asked me when we were going to have kids, nothing made me feel weird or sad about not having kids. . . I’m not saying I want to spend every holiday at a hotel bar. But, on this particular occurrence, it felt OK.
I took my time surfing the internet, eavesdropping, and returning for another plate of smoked salmon and crab legs. I pointed strangers towards the seafood the hotel cleverly hid in a back, earning myself approximately 1,000 Good Place points. All of my worries cast aside and bitterness drowned in cocktail sauce and melted butter.
Nearly one year later, many infertility treatments later, one miscarriage later, I find myself here; preparing for the first step of the IVF process and a week of a thousand injections. This solo Easter brunch feels like a 10 years ago and it also feels like a minute.
Even though I can’t control everything in my life, I still get to be the author of my own story. Whether it’s retreating to a solo Easter brunch buffet or pursuing this next step along the infertility treatment road, I get to pen my next chapter and I also get to make revisions.
In my version of the story, she may not always win, but she chooses her own adventures. And the crab legs are always located near the front.