My red­neck lul­laby

GA Voice - - Theater - Get a rebel flag wrapped when I get there Air­brushed t-shirts when I get there

I was re­cently asked to speak at the Clas­sic Cen­ter in Athens, for the Ge­or­gia Af­ter­School & Youth Devel­op­ment Con­fer­ence. Ex­cited for the op­por­tu­nity, I booked a ho­tel nearby so I could make the drive af­ter work the night be­fore and avoid traf­fic the morn­ing of my talk.

I just wish some­one would have warned me to pack some earplugs, since I didn’t come any­where near get­ting a good night’s sleep.

I ar­rived at my ho­tel around 9:30 p.m. It was a ren­o­vated square-shaped col­lec­tion of rooms and restau­rants, with all the ho­tel doors fac­ing out­side. One restau­rant was still open, and a live band was rous­ing the guests as I set­tled into my room.

That’s when I re­al­ized how thin the walls were, since while fall­ing asleep I was ser­e­naded by the band’s red­neck lul­la­bies of “Sweet Home Alabama,” fol­lowed by Kid Rock’s “All Sum­mer Long.” It was loud enough I felt like they were per­form­ing at the foot of my mat­tress.

I ac­tu­ally fell asleep for about an hour when I was sud­denly stirred by a “Woo Hoo!” and some­one try­ing in vain to use their card key in my door. It was a group of guys who, af­ter they fi­nally re­al­ized the cor­rect door was the one next to mine, drunk­enly stum­bled into their room and de­cided to keep the party from the restau­rant go­ing.

With their thick South­ern ac­cents and lim­ited vo­cab­u­lary, I thought the “Duck Dy­nasty” fam­ily had checked in for the night.

Ob­vi­ously in­spired by the con­cert they had just wit­nessed from the restau­rant’s house band, th­ese gen­tle­men de­cided to re­flect on some of their fa­vorite mu­sic by turn­ing up their stereo just about as loud as it would go.

One song I was in­tro­duced to is called “Myr­tle Beach” by Sunny Led­furd. If you have not had the plea­sure of lis­ten­ing to Mr. Led­furd’s opus, al­low me to en­lighten you with some of the lyrics:

I didn’t want to be that per­son who calls the front desk on some­one, es­pe­cially with­out first ask­ing them to keep it down. But I also re­al­ized it wouldn’t do me any good to show up to their door in my pj’s, fuzzy slip­pers, and an­ti­wrin­kle cream and say, “Gen­tle­man, would you please turn down your mu­sic and ease up on the curs­ing long enough to al­low me to get back to sleep? Thanks so much.”

I de­cided to ride it out, since they would have to pass out at some point. I just hoped that would be af­ter some­one re­mem­bered to turn off the stereo.

Sal­va­tion fi­nally came in one man’s dec­la­ra­tion, “We’re gonna get waf­fles and sh*t.”

The group ex­ited the room as grace­fully as they en­tered it, with one guy spit­ting out his snuff while mak­ing sure the oth­ers had the room key. A honk of the horn, and they were off to get break­fast in the mid­dle of the night.

Now was my chance to fi­nally get back to sleep. Just as slum­ber was about to find me, I got dis­tracted by the sound of some­thing mov­ing back and forth repet­i­tively. Re­al­iz­ing it was the bed in the room above me, I stuffed a pil­low over my head and sur­ren­dered to the fact this just wasn’t my night.

I am glad to report that I woke up in time to make it to my con­fer­ence. On the way I re­flected on the sound­proof stu­dios I have spent my en­tire ca­reer work­ing in, un­able to hear any­thing that goes on in a hall­way or any ad­ja­cent rooms.

Maybe ra­dio engi­neers should con­tract their ser­vices to ho­tels and teach them how to bet­ter in­su­late their guests, and save them from the likes of Sunny Ledford.

Melissa Carter is also a writer for Huff­in­g­ton Post. She broke ground as the first out les­bian ra­dio per­son­al­ity on a ma­jor sta­tion in At­lanta and was one of the few out morn­ing show per­son­al­i­ties in the coun­try. Fol­low her on Twit­ter @Melis­saCarter

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