Can I forgive myself?

Dean Shipley -

How hard is it to forgive yourself?

I’m struggling with that right now for a decision I made in July.

July, you ask? You should let go of it.

Yes, I should, and all the more because I feel I’ve been made a chump. And we all know how much we love being a chump.

In July, I called the Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan to book a room for a vacation in August. We had already booked a room in that hotel in June, but travel plans disintegrated and we “lost” them. (Read we got charged for rooms we didn’t stay in.)

Anyway, so the woman asks the usual questions, duration of stay, how many, etc.

I say we’re senior citizens and can she apply any discounts. She says yes, but I’d have to listen to a pitch about a time share. Seeking the discount and not thinking beyond that, I agree.

She gives us a decent rate for the length of stay — four nights — and then she transfers the call to the salesman for the time share thing.

He’s all peppy and offers two alternatives, Las Vegas or Orlando. Having had a so-so stay in “Lost Wages,” I opt for Orlando. (That’s a sucker’s choice, I’ve learned since and I was the sucker.) He proceeds to sell me on a three-day stay at one of their resorts for $99. Sounds great, but of course, there’s a catch. I’d have to listen to a two-hour presentation on their time share program.

Really? Two HOURS? I inform my wife of it and she reluctantly agrees and tells me up front we have absolutely NO interest in buying a time share. I agree but we book the thing anyway. He gives me time parameters in which to make the date. If we do it promptly we get an extra day/night for the same money. I have to pay up front for the privilege of having somebody “convince” us we need a time share.

A former pastor of ours took the bait, but resolutely stuck to no thank you. He said the salesman became irritable.

Very irritable.

They stuck to no and went through the rest of their stay.

OK. But I feel anxiety.

So we take our vacation to New York City. We see two Broadway shows, visit the Neue Gallerie museum showing the painting “Woman in Gold,” walk through Central Park, ride the subway, buy some tasty street-vendor food. It’s all good. Even our Amtrak train trip to and from NYC on the Pennsylvanian goes better than expected.

But the specter of the stay at the Hilton resort with the ram-it-down-your-throat, two-hour sales session for something we sure as sunrise do NOT want, looms.

I put off booking the date.

Then another $50 charge shows up on our September credit card bill. What the …?!

I call a number left by a salesperson, but only get voicemail. I express my concern regarding the extra charge and ask for a call-back explaining why.

No return call.

So now I’m out $161 and change for something I now have no intention of using.

I call again. Still no return.

Now I’m letting this rent too much space in my head. I need to say, “OK, you made a poor choice. Take your lumps and loss and move on.”

That’s where I’m struggling.

I can’t forgive myself for falling for their sucker choice.

Or should I see the whole thing as, “OK, you’ve been made a sucker. See it as a lesson for which you’ve paid $161 and change and move on.”

Yes, counseling sessions cost about that much.

So I took some free counseling from my wife and she said take all this less personally. I have to let go of this “grievance story,” forgive myself and move on.

She likened it to another time on another vacation when we got sucked into a “free” ride to a destination, but it included a two-hour stop at a jewelry store, where we had no intention of buying bling.

Right you are, dear.

I’m letting go…

But the next time I book rooms for a stay, I’ll choose Ramada, Marriott, and the Fleabag Arms — anything but Hilton.

Dean Shipley

Dean Shipley can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, on Facebook at Dean Shipley or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.

Dean Shipley can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, on Facebook at Dean Shipley or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.