Deprivation and Gratitude


The best shower and meal I’ve ever had were in a hostel. I had traveled from LA, where I was spending the summer for an internship, down to San Diego to visit and old friend. The day before I had been in a bicycle accident and had fourteen stitches in my chin. But I was determined not to waste my train ticket. My friend only had a couple of hours in between her jobs to see me. I spent the day walking around in the hot sun, drinking iced chai’s, and visiting museums. By the time we met I was covered in a gross film of dried sweat and fresh coffee sweats. My stitches were starting to itch and I could tell that I smelled bad.

The accident had also delayed my intentions to book a hotel room. I bid my friend farewell and huffed it to the nearest hotel. No vacancy. I kept walking until I found another one (remember this is before smart phones). No vacancy. The next and the next. No rooms anywhere. At the last one I received a look from the front desk clerk that scared the bagesus out of me. It was that look of pity and fear that you give a wild animal or homeless person yelling at someone who’s not there. I must have looked crazy so I asked if I could use the lobby restroom. I looked crazy! I washed my face and pealed the bloody bandage from my chin. Smoothed out my hair and decided to just try to get to the train station. Maybe it was open and I could spend the night on a bench trying to fight exhaustion and hunger. It was the most desperate I had ever felt.

Just before reaching the station I found a hostel. For $80 I could have a private room with a t.v. and communal showers. The last room they had. SOLD! I ordered a delivery pizza and jumped in the shower. Never before has a shower felt that amazing and never again will a meal taste that wonderful. There is a level of gratitude that can only be reached with deprivation.