Monday, 23 July 2012

Hotel Rooms

I've stayed in some of the best, I've stayed in some of the worst. Mostly I've stayed in the middling sort.

However, they all present challenges, some unique, many common to them all.

One almost ubiquitous challenge is figuring out the lights. This can be especially problematic in the larger "chain" hotels, and, in my experience, the more expensive the chain, the more puzzling the lights. In whose perverse brain were these challenges devised? And furthermore, which bright spark decided to implement them?

There you are, the weary traveller, far from home, you have done the check-in thing, the lift thing, the corridor thing, and the key-card thing.

Now for the light thing.

You can tell immediately if a hotel is having a laugh if, even though it's daytime, they've closed the blackout curtains. So in the absence of prior knowledge, you jam the door open with your suitcase so you can find the slot thingy you have to plunge your key-card into to activate the electrical supply.

Now what happens? Why, the lights go on of course. In this illuminated interval, you do the unpacking thing, and the checking that the TV works thing. You fill the nifty little kettle and turn it on so you can have a "nice cup of tea" once you've put your things away. (And that's another irritation. Hotel chains seem to believe that their guests' overwhelming motive for staying with them is to steal hangers. So another bright spark invented the un-stealable hanger, the only removable part of which has no hook. How bloody insulting.)

Returning to the lights, it can take many hours to work out the exact sequence of switching before you arrive at the situation where, when you eventually get into bed, you can turn all the lights off from there.

Before bed, however, you have one more thing to do: hide the Gideon Bible so that, preferably, it is not found until the hotel is subject to archaeological excavation some time in the distant future. There are rules for this. One must not damage the Bible, nor place it somewhere where it might be damaged. Purely out of respect for any book, I would add. This is not as easy as you may think. The best hiding-place I have yet to use was placing one, spine to wall, in the narrow slot between the safe the wardrobe wall. Hiding in plain sight.

And with that accomplished, one retires for the night, reflecting on whether it is possible to find a more uninspiring dinner than that so recently consumed in one's business trip singularity.

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