It’s been a few weeks now since the College World Series wrapped up — long enough that I think I can talk about my personal, cringe-worthy Omaha experience. A number of summers ago, I booked a trip to visit my mom who lived in Iowa, just across the Missouri River from Omaha. I’d grown up there, so you’d think I’d have known enough to book my hotel way in advance. Even 45 years ago, the College World Series turned Omaha into a baseball Mecca which meant I rolled into town with a reservation at a hotel that was sketchy at best. Not until I checked in did I realize just how sketchy.
I already knew I wasn’t in the best part of town, but the bars on the windows of the hotel office and the fact that I had to get buzzed through the permanently locked steel door to even check in should have tipped me off. If there was any question about whether or not I was in hotel hell, my room erased all those. There were bugs I couldn’t identify crawling out of the sink. The bathroom was wallpapered in toxic black mold. Honestly, I was afraid to set my suitcase on the carpet and prayed that the stain wasn’t blood. There was no way in a frozen over hell that I was even going to sit on the bed let alone consider sleeping in it.
Because this bastion of hospitality was constructed out of cinder blocks (heaven forbid it burn to the ground), I was forced to go out onto the balcony to get a cell phone signal. So I’m standing on the balcony, begging my mother to find a friend who actually owned a couch and get me out of there. About that time, an Omaha PD squad car came cruising through the parking lot. My first thought was to run down and beg them to post a guard at my door for the night. Their first thought was something dramatically different from that.
That’s when the officer rolls down his window and tells me that if I did not conduct my business inside, they were going to take me in and charge me. My what?! Business?! Charge me? …(insert look of sudden shock that comes with understanding) … HE THOUGHT I WAS A PROSTITUTE!!! A prostitute!!! I’m not a prostitute! I’m a soccer mom! An active member of my church! I’d been on the board of the PTO at the elementary school where my two adorable children had attended! That officer thought I was a hooker in a cheap hotel! OH sweet Jesus! the mortification! The shame!
So believe me when I tell you this, if I ever go to Omaha now (which I probably wont because my mother has since passed away — most likely from the shock of hearing this story retold!), my room at the Marriott is booked months ahead!
(Thank you to JudgementalMaps.com for the map of Omaha!)