Keeping to the sidewalk is safer than ill-traversed shortcuts because I can’t see well without my glasses, and generally refuse to wear them when I want to look younger. Younger than what, I don’t know, but younger seems like a reasonable goal. So, the ‘younger’ of me tripped past my central-located car towards the reserved hotel room. Veins prominent and pulsing, swaying to and fro, and I was still hungry. I needed a nap.
As I walked into the foyer, the first thought that came to mind was that the hotel must have been hosting a ditch-diggers convention, or at the very least a seminar on landscaping. The sheer amount of dirt that polluted the reception area was both alarming and impressive. I’ve stayed with this hotel group many times and generally have been pleased. My flared hypertension caused my hypersensitivity to become activated, and I knew this was not going to end well.
There was an enclave of large burly men cavorting around waiting to be checked-in. Clothed in coveralls and hard hats, they all muttered about where they were going to eat dinner, and a few suggested that they go to the Mexican restaurant next door. I was going to intervene but one guy screamed “tequila” and the rest started doing hat dances. Then, out of the blue, the receptionist said, “Be careful, the plates there are really hot.” There was an unnatural calm, then my line-dancing linesmen burst into laughter, resuming their antics. As they rushed out the door so as not to miss happy hour, I checked-in.
Room key in hand, I went to the elevator. On the ride up, I noticed that the stainless-steel walls of the elevator were covered in mud as if someone had been kicking the walls to dislodge debris from work boots. From the look of things, most that tried this little trick were greatly successful. I felt sorry for the hotel cleaning staff as I stepped out on the third floor.
My thoughts wandered as to the condition of my room. When I opened the door, my worst fears were realized. The carpet looked as if someone had recently rebuilt a 350 Chevy engine in front of the night stand. The bathroom looked like – never mind. When I turned down the bed spread I was further sickened. I snapped a picture with my phone, went down stairs and registered my complaint.
The receptionist offered me a free upgraded room with a Jacuzzi, to which I again displayed my recent photograph. They allowed me to cancel the reservation with no penalties, and I left in search of another place to stay. As I drove toward the next hotel, I was struck with the realization that 25 years ago none of that would have fazed me. I laughed and my stomach growled, reminding me that I still needed something to eat.
The next hotel was more upscale and had its own restaurant. Check-in went well, clean elevator, and a nice room complete with spotless bed linens. I ordered room service, which was promptly delivered. As I signed the bill, the waiter said, “be careful sir, the plate is very hot.” I smiled and muttered to myself, “Hot indeed. It’s good to see you again, road.”
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