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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Stuck in Monte Carlo

"Alright, MacGyver, what are you going to do now?"

I actually said it--out loud--to myself. To my right was a comfortable sofa coverered in thick pillows. To my right was a cushy chaise and ottoman. Behind me--oh, lord, behind me--was the Mediterranean Sea. Someone would say later, "If they tried to recreate the color of this water in Las Vegas, people would say it looks fake."

It was actually the sea that I had stepped out on the balcony to see. I'd only been on the ground in Monte Carlo for a few hours. The moment I crashed into my room at the brand new Monte Carlo Bay Resort, I'd fallen into the most comfortable bed in the world. It not only rivaled, but kicked the soft ass of the Westin's Heavenly Bed. Monte Carlo Bay had only been open for a short time, but it was clear that it was among the best properties in all of Monaco. The designers had also designed the luxury Wynn resort in Las Vegas. 'Nuff said.

So, with only a few hours to sleep before an evening appointment, I missed out on the giant flat panel TV on the wall, the high-tech bathrooms, and the other amenities in the room. I only wanted the bed. So, I'd slept for three hours, took a shower under the biggest shower head in the world, and gotten dressed. With ten minutes until my appointment (a cocktail party where I knew I would be introduced at 7:30), I decided to take a look at the Mediterranean.

The door was thick triple-pane glass and had the oddest latching system I'd ever seen. Turn the lever 45 degrees and the top of the door leans into the room like a giant window. Complete the turn to 90 degrees and the bottom of the door pops out and one can slide it open like any other balcony door.

Closing doors behind me has become sort of a habit since I became a father. Open doors lead to lost kids and I'm too tired to organize a search party or explain to the neighbors that we don't frown on nudity at Mt. Willis. And so, as I stepped out onto the balcony, I pulled the door closed behind me.

The sun was going down and the Mediterranean shimmered. Absolutely gorge--

Click.

I remember thinking, "That was a funny sound. Almost as if the door...locked."

I looked at the high cliffs, listened to the waves crashing on the shore, and thought, there's no way that door locked. Think of the liablity issues. People would get locked out on the balcony all the time. The higher-strung castaways might jump from this third story ledge.

When I turned around, I didn't really expect to find the door locked. It seemed an impossibility. And yet, well, yeah. It was locked in mid-position.

Over the next 30 minutes, I did the following things:

* Took off my jacket and tried to slide my forearm in between the door and the frame
* Nearly cut off my arm trying to extricate it from the door
* Kicked the door like a cop trying to bust into a drug house
* Wondered if the scuff marks from my shoe would show up on my VISA when I checked out
* Stood on the ottoman and tried to take the door rails apart (this came immediately after I called myself MacGyver)
* Wondered if the maid would notice my footprints on the ottoman
* Yelled "Hellllooooo!" over the balcony like Jerry Seinfeld talking in the belly button voice
* Threw an empty can of Diet Coke off the balcony in the hopes somebody would call security about the asshole who was throwing stuff off the balcony
* Wondered if I would survive if I jumped
* Realized I would die if I jumped
* Wondered if I could call my wife and explain to her how to call the hotel and get me out of the jam
* Spotted my cell phone on the bed inside the room and wondered, if I had it, why I wouldn't just call the hotel myself?
* Tried to rip a light fixture off the wall because I thought there might be a phone inside a the box (there was a phone in the bathroom!)
* Kicked the door three more times and hoped someone wouuld call security about the asshole kicking his door
* Said out loud, "Well, I'll have to spend the whole night out here if I don't think of something"

And that's when it all became crystal clear. None of the people I was there to meet knew I was in town, nor did they know when I was suppose to arrive. What's more, the wife knew I had landed safely and wasn't expecting to hear from me for another 24 hours.

That's when I freaked out a little.

And that's when I got a running start at the door, put my shoulder into it, and knocked it off its rails. Apparently, 170 pounds of stupid is enough to break even the toughest Monte Carlo entryway.

Funny thing I found when I got back inside: the door now wouldn't close. All I could think was, "Well, at least I won't get stuck out there again."

Epilogue

Two hours later, I went up to my room to change into a different shirt. A guy in the hallway said, "Bon soir, Monsieur." I gave him a howdy and found room 316.

The door to my room was standing wide open.

As I stepped inside, a girl looked from the door, to me, and back to the door. She said something french into a walkie talkie. I realized, the dude from the hallway was now standing in the room as well.

"We seem to have a problem with your door, sir," the girl said.

"Funny," I said, "I had a problem with it, too."

I tipped the guy who took my bags to a new room ten euros and vowed to never look at the Mediterranean again.

Which is a vow I broke as many times as I could, but with the door always open.

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Rapid Eye Reality is the personal blog of writer Brad Willis, aka Otis.
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