March 19, 2012
“Why don’t you get a room?” If you weren’t a student of the culture, you might not get the implications of that expression of disdain, most often pointed toward a couple who are caught with excessive PDA (that’s Public Display of Affection!).
It could have been the motto for the website Priceline – known for featuring William Shatner as the “Priceline Negotiator” until his character was killed-off in a fiery bus crash – in their effort to connect consumers with off-price hotel rooms from unreserved inventories.
With Spring Breaks underway across America, and Summer Vacations just over the horizon, people are in a planning mode for their short escapes. In the “good old days,” holidays meant climbing in the family car and road trips, with the middle of the front seat stacked high with fold-up maps and AAA motel directories. Sundown meant watching for motels at or near the off-ramp, offering teaser rates in neon… and the promise of a pool. We’ve come a long way…
Nowadays, folks don’t risk facing dusk without a reservation. Taking your chances for an overnight solution – especially when you’re in unfamiliar territory – is not a smart strategy in the internet age. Anticipating coming need – and exploring available options, complete with consumer reviews and objective ratings – can happen on your smart phone while waiting in the barista line for your morning latte. Reservations for a top-rated room – and for dinner nearby – are a point of assurance as you move through the day. Why take chances when you can make plans for paradise?
If that plan-ahead posture makes sense for a vacation night – and, it does – our generation has begun to put the same emphasis on planning for a future destination for the retirement season. The weekend Wall Street Journal featured an exploration of options under the headline, “The New Retirement Resorts.” The institutionalized model of Assisted Living – or, campuses with graduated levels of services based on declining health and accelerating requirements – were contrasted with new concepts like moving to Costa Rica where you can hire full-timers of your own while living in a tropical paradise, or buying a high-rise condo in a coastal resort community where bring-in services are routine. The ultimate – in low cost and high desirability – was the chance to sign on to a cruise ship as a new primary residence and ride the high seas as the ship moves around the world based on seasons and demand. Their point: don’t wait until your kids ambush you with a short-ride to a nursing home. Make plans for yourself, or they’ll do it for you…
If getting a room for the night – or considering the best solution for your “golden years” – makes sense, why don’t people give more thought to their need for a domicile, beyond retirement? If William Shatner could offer assistance in making the best deal for a one-nighter, why wouldn’t the offer from Jesus make great sense for the advance planner? “’Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me… ‘”(John 14:1-6)
It’s amazing how many people are willing to get on the toll road that moves through the Valley of the Shadow of Death (it is a toll road, you know: they don’t dispose of your remains for free!)… and then hope to grab a room at an off-ramp in the afterlife. Who needs a plan? Do you really think you’ll still have your options when you get to the other side? Really?
Down here, I stay with Bill Marriott. Up there, I’m staying with Jesus. Why take chances?