We pulled the car into the driveway of the Marriott in Victoria's Inner Harbour and got out. Joe assembled the wheelchair and arranged for the valet guy to bring our luggage up to the room and then I went in to check in. We have this down to an art now. When checking in I'm asked for information about the car, beside make I put 'white, pretty' ... this isn't good enough for the clerk. Joe comes over and tells her more officially what the make is. I don't know cars.
The lobby is full of a tour group of American tourists. A number were waiting to go out on a tour and others were spilling out of the bar and heading, like us, for the elevator. Joe remembers something in the car and asks me to wait while he goes back to the car. I wait in the lobby listening to the buzz of conversation and watching the ebb and flo of the other guests. They look like they are having fun.
I notice a couple standing together with a small group. The woman is staring at me eyes watery from booze. I turn my chair a bit to try to break her gaze but her eyes won't leave me. Not until Joe comes back in from the car. As I push myself over to the elevator I soon find that she and her husband are beside us getting into the elevator car.
She is on one side of me, he the other, Joe is standing beside the buttons. I can smell beer and cigarettes and can feel her eyes burning a hole in the top of my head. Then she taps me on the shoulder and I look up at her.
A weak smile.
"At least you have a nice car," she says.
Her remark strikes me as funny. I must have been a bit tired from the lecturing. I must have been a bit of kilter in my head, because I just found that extremely funny. I started to laugh. Really laugh. Joe's laugh joins in. Suddenly the two of us are both almost crying we're laughing so hard.
She and her husband, both, take real offense to this. I hear her mutter something to him but couldn't for the life of me tell you what it was. The sound of our laughing drowned out anything they said.
At our floor Joe pulls me out as I'm helpless. I haven't laughed like this for a long time. It hurts. She glares at me and I simply wave at her.
In our room I look at myself in the mirror and say, "At least you have a nice car," and we're off again.