My redneck lullaby
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