My service tomorrow is in Oakland, MD. Since I had to do a 10 minute “window” on missions at the Stars retreat at the district campground, I figured I might as well stay at the camp, rather than coming back home. Gas is too expensive to waste on backtracking; I’ll just head out tomorrow morning early to go the rest of the way to Oakland.

All in all, a good plan, but the one thing I failed to take into consideration is the energy and noise of little girls! My assigned room is in the Long Motel, where I have the very last room on the corner. The Long Motel has central air conditioning and from my room, I can hear what sounds like a thousand girls giggling through the vents. I have no idea what rooms these girls are in; perhaps the giggling sound compounds from one room to the next.

When I went to bed last night, I heard giggling from 10:30 until 11:30 pm, when I rummaged through my bag in the dark room until I found my Ipod earphones and plugged them into my laptop. I pulled up my Itunes and figured I could get to sleep with music, quiet enough to lull me to sleep, yet loud enough to block out the silly girls. I was so tired, my eyes couldn’t even stay open, but I was continually jerked awake by the sound of flipflops slapping down the walkway outside the doors, or of things dropping and banging, followed by heightened giggles. I put on a sleep mask that my sister bought me once: fake fur. It blocks out all light and I use it when I really want to be dead to the world.

Suddenly, a very loud banging on my door startled me. I wasn’t asleep but I was too comfortable to want to get up and talk to people. I was wearing an old tee-shirt that I often sleep in, so I wasn’t dressed for company. I yelled, “Who is it?” and heard, “Open this door now!” as my response. I yelled back, “I think you’ve got the wrong room.” I hoped they did, but the banging only continued, so I got up and cracked the door. I squinted out into moonlight, with my fake fur sleep mask pushed up over my bangs, trying to shield my nightshirt behind the door. I'm sure I was quite the sight!

Two matronly women tried to barrel their way into the room, but I was standing firm behind the door, so it didn’t budge very far. The lady in the front was clearly the leader, and she said, “I have heard enough noise out of this room. You need to get to bed NOW!”

I said, “I think you have the wrong room.” She stopped her fussing and seemed to register finally my dark room, the bed clearly empty of little girls, and my disgruntled sleepy state.

“Are you alone in here?” she asked, and I answered, “Yes, I’m the missionary who spoke to the girls tonight in the service.” Her whole face changed and she became instantly more apologetic. “I have the room on the other side of the motel from yours and we can hear incredible noise. We thought it was coming from this room.”

Once I told her that I too could hear all the noise through the air vents, she decided it was coming from the room next to mine and spun on her heel to go give them her drill-sergeant routine. I accepted her apology and wished her every success on her mission to stop the noise; after all, I wanted to sleep too.

Whatever she did must have worked, because I never heard another noise until 7:00 am, when someone—and I suspect that same lady—knocked insistently on the door next door to wake the girls for morning exercises. Go to it, lady! Wear 'em out all day, so they're ready to sleep tonight!

Ariel Rainey