Tales from the Cabin
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Lost in the Dark

When nature calls late at night, beware the broken lamp switch
By Paul Sullivan
Published: February 29, 2012
VIEW FROM HERE 02-12 image1
The first time I visited Dan and Mary Ann at their luxurious new lake cabin, I slept in the mother-in-law suite. Around 3 a.m., I woke up in the pitch-black room desperately needing to pee. I’d forgotten to turn on the night-light. I clicked the bedside lamp switch several times. Nothing.  
    No time to futz with the lamp. I got up, trying to remember the layout of the suite and the direction of the bathroom. Shuffling in the dark with my arms forward like a zombie, I stubbed my toe. Gah! That was something heavy; maybe a bookcase. When the throbbing eased, I realized I was turned around and totally lost in the dark.
    I used my zombie arms again until – finally! – a wall. I groped my way along it hoping to find a light switch or – please, cabin gods – the bathroom door. I came to a door frame. Yes! Lowering my hand, I found the doorknob. Eureka! By now my bladder was screaming.
    I heaved a big sigh of relief, but not too big, then opened the door, stepped inside the bathroom, and closed the door behind my behind. Did I mention I was naked? Groggy with sleep and a couple of beers, I felt the wall on both sides of the door looking for the light switch. There wasn’t one.
    But there were pinpricks of blue, red, and green LED lights … from the entertainment center. I’d mistakenly stepped into the living room. I turned to go back into the suite to continue my search for its bathroom. Uh-oh. The door was locked.
    I must’ve pushed the lock button in. Not wanting to awaken my hosts in the middle of the night dressed in my birthday suit, I crept quietly toward a dim light down the hall and – hallelujah! – found a bathroom. After I relieved myself of Milwaukee’s finest, I found a bath towel, wrapped it around my waist, and tiptoed out to the sofa. Exhausted from too much late-night problem solving, I pulled a throw from the sofa back over me and went to sleep. What else was I to do?
    In the morning, Zeus the Pomeranian licked the arch of my foot and jolted me awake. I looked down to see the throw on the floor. And the towel! I sat up, snatched the throw from the floor, and pulled it over me just as Mary Ann walked in. “Good dog, Zeus,” I whispered, patting his head.
    Mary Ann stared at me with a silent question. I was embarrassed, as if I’d awakened from the childhood nightmare of finding myself at school in pj’s. Without mentioning my nakedness, I explained how I ended up on the couch. Dan came down, and, after I told my story again, opened the locked door with a credit card.
    At breakfast, my new pal Zeus sat at my feet, the beggar. I owed him. I sliced off a small piece of sausage and lowered it. “Good dog, Zeus.”

Paul Sullivan has never met a cabin he didn’t like.
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