for one thing, i believe they have branded me a smoker. and if there is anything this hotel, nay this town, hates ... it is a smoker.
when i checked in, i signed three pages of paperwork promising that i would not smoke in my room. then i initialed it to assure them that i had, in fact, signed it. then i left a lock of hair so they could match my dna to any cashed cigarette butts they find clogging the drain of my bathtub.
fine. i don't need to smoke in my room because i can smoke outside. as you know, outside is just a giant smoking section. like they used to have at fast food restaurants before i could appreciate it. smokers caged in a palpable haze of blue cancer, behind a glass pane. a suicide zoo. tin ashtrays dented with phlegmy enthusiasm.
when i realized my room had a balcony, i prepped for a celebratory smoke upon it. pinched a camel light between my fingers, snagged my lighter and a coat -- then i saw this sign:
[the staff of this hotel] work hard to make your stay as pleasant as possible. part of that task is maintaining a smoke-free environment. please extend the courtesy of not smoking in this guest room or on its balcony/patio. should evidence of smoking be found, a $200 cleaning fee will be assessed, as the room will not be suitable for the next guest.
so much for the world as my ashtray ... but it gets worse. i walked out the front door, the main door, and saw another sign indicating that i needed to be at least 50 feet from the entrance if i planned to smoke. so i heel-toed my ass times 50 to the sidewalk and finally lit up.
it was cold outside.
as a person with a bag filled with smoky clothing, i've now become paranoid that they will mistake my natural essense with a breach of the contract. a funny mistake. but, potentially, an expensive mistake.
the mugs next to the coffee pot are pretty standard hotel fare. forest green with the name in a golden serif font. at no time did i consider pitching one into my bag, but apparently some people do. next to the condiments was this note:
these mugs are here for you to enjoy during your stay with us. you are welcome to take them home. if you choose to do so, a charge of $5.00 per mug will be added to your account ...
and now i'm worried a mug will accidentally fall into my bag and a mysterious charge will appear and, once home, i'll have to introduce this mug to my own collection and love it extra. this mug is not that hot.
if i don't pay attention, this trip could cost me an additional $210 dollars.
i have perfected the extended hotel stay and developed wants and needs that only exist in this scenario: i like to crank the heat to about 108 degrees. i like to fall asleep to a real world marathon and wake to vintage dawson's creek. i like the curtains closed and to make sure i keep things orderly. i throw everything away and keep my clothes organized. most importantly, the "do not disturb" sign hung perminantly on my door.
while i admire that someone wants to douse my tub with bleach at 7 a.m., i just cannot allow it. i'll use yesterday's towels. i'd have to really concentrate to get through an entire roll of toilet paper in 24 hours. i don't need housekeeping. and i definitely don't want housekeeping.
this, apparently, did not rub the staff right today. i received this note. while friendly on the surface, i sensed a clenched teeth tone:
dear guest: we are sorry we didn't get in to do your room today. you had your 'do not disturb' sign on your door. hotel policy does not allow maids to enter a room when this sign is on. if you put your maid sign out in the morning, your room will be serviced as soon as possible. clean towels have been bagged for you. sorry for any inconvenience.
also attached to my door was a plastic garbage bag filled with towels, toilet paper, shampoo, lotion, conditioner, soap and coffee. it was like a very practical christmas gift.