© 2011 Aaron Atkinson


Last week I led a small team that flawlessly executed the 475-person, three-day sales convention that we’d been planning for months. Aside from a few minor bumps along the way the week was perfect. Speakers were succinct and engaging, energy and enthusiasm were high, the food was phenomenal, our audio-visual labors of love were impeccably delivered, and our conference themes blossomed into life.

The conference concluded with a Mardi-Gras themed party on Friday night. And judging by the atmosphere that was still raging when I left the ballroom at 2 a.m., folks were very much enjoying the party.

With the stress and focus an event like this demands finally behind me, the elevator ride to the sixteenth floor gave me just enough time to realize that I was overwhelmingly exhausted. With a quick wash of my face and brush of my teeth, I wearily stumbled into bed. But instead of falling asleep I laid there. Unavoidably listening. It was as if the party I’d left so far below was still raging on the north wing of the sixteenth floor. Women screamed and men laughed. Whoops and hollers bled through the pillow I was using to suffocate my ears. Knocks came and went, following by slamming doors.

At one point the knocking turned into pounding.

Deep-voiced man: Security. Open up.

Smirking I thought… Thank goodness. At last.

Deep-voiced man: Ha! Scared you guys didn’t I? Let’s paaarrrrrrrtttttyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!


More than an hour later, the last thing I remember was this…

Shrill-voiced woman: Whoo-hoo! We heard the party was at 1605. 1605 ROCKS!!!


About five hours later my alarm chirped to life. There was serious meeting cleaning up to be done.

After a foggy shower I packed my things and double-checked the room for would-be forgotten belongings. I laid two, memorably crisp dollars bills on the pillow for the maid, hung the blatantly ignored do not disturb sign back on the inside of my door and followed my wheeled suitcase into the narrow hotel hallway.

Looking up, the first thing I saw were the sans-serif metallic numerals on the door directly across the hallway – 1605.


While the dead-on-his-wings angel above my right shoulder won out, the devil on my left almost convinced me to welcome my neighbors to a new day with a hearty pounding on their door followed by a robust sixteen-o-sixxxxxxxxxxxxxx!

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