Subj: On the Road VII: Chattanooga, TN
Date: 8/27/98

Gutten tag, meine freunds!

I am writing to you from room 128 of the Rivergate Days Inn in lovely downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee. I arrived here a little over an hour ago, after a 90 minute drive from the campus of Kennesaw State University in lovely Kennesaw, Georgia.

Have I ever told you how much I love hotels? I love everything about the hotel staying experience: checking in and getting my room assignment; getting the key to my room (and I'm sure I don't have to tell you about the air of wonder and mystery that surrounds THAT minor transaction: What kind of key will I get--a regular metal key, a card key, or will there be some sort of James Bond-like retina scanning device that will not only let me into my room but weigh me and give me my fortune?); unpacking (and yes, I do unpack, hanging my pants and shirts on hangers, putting my socks, underwear, and T-shirts in drawers; I may be here for only a few days, but while I'm here, this place is MINE!); settling in for the first night in an unfamiliar yet comfortable place; going down in the morning for the "deluxe continental breakfast" (and I still don't know what that means here yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it includes Cap'N'Crunch and those plastic-wrapped microwaveable cheese danishes); returning to my room after a day at the Tennessee Aquarium or Rock City or the local mall and finding that, in my absence, the cleaning staff has vacuumed, made my bed, and left me clean towels.

Too, I love the fact that I am limited in dress to only the four pairs of pants and five T-shirts I brought with me, and in reading to the three books or one magazine I brought. I love my home and all my things, but sometimes choosing from the 17 or so pairs of pants I own, the sixty-something shirts, the 1,000-plus books, can be awfully draining. Sometimes, the more you confine yourself, the more liberated you feel.

And now I am going to go to bed in this King-size monstrosity that tomorrow someone else will make up, and sleep the sleep of the vacationing.

Christopher B. Burdett