Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Report from the Wastelands

So I’m in Houston for a series of school visits. But don’t think the title of my piece has anything to do with that: I am having an awesome time—everyone has been gracious and these kids are whipsmart.
I’m staying at a business class hotel. My room is spacious and there’s even a refrigerator I can put things into! All that is good.
But not perfect. They have those Styrofoam cups that I despise, and there’s powdered creamer in the little packets that come with the coffee maker. I am resourceful, though. I bring up some real cream from breakfast and put it in the refrigerator. As for the Styrofoam, I can deal. All part of life on the road.
But I have no wastebaskets. None at all. I search the room twice. You don’t realize how often you use a wastebasket until you don’t have one. Well, I think, surely when Housekeeping makes up the room, they will notice there are no wastebaskets to empty, and they will remedy it. Meanwhile, I strew trash around, which is not the way I was raised.
When I return from the school visit, Housekeeping has been there, they have taken the trash, but there are still no wastebaskets.
Maybe, I think, in their efforts to go green, the hotel has resorted to the “pack in, pack out” policy. Whatever trash you generate, you have to take with you.
I call down to the desk.
“Are you sure?” the desk clerk says.
“Well, yes,” I say. “I’ve looked three times.”
“We have a couple down here,” she says.
“Great,” I say. “I’ll come get them.”
But when I get there, the clerk looks apologetic. “Sorry,” she said. “I thought there were some, wastebaskets here but Housekeeping must have taken them.”
I envision that somewhere there is a hoard of wastebaskets guarded by the Dragon of Housekeeping.
“I’ll tell them to bring you some, though,” the clerk offers.
Some time later, a Housekeeper comes to the door clutching two wastebaskets. “Are you sure? No wastebasket?” She stalks around the room, checking under the desk and in the bathroom, and finally leaves two wastebaskets in my custody. I try to use them a lot after that.
The day isn’t over yet. I go out to dinner with some librarians—we have a great time. When I return, I get on the elevator. I look down and see that someone has apparently defecated on the floor.
I sniff, and there is no apparently about it.
I call down to the desk.
“Um, you may want to alert Housekeeping that there are feces on the floor of the elevator.”
“What?” the clerk says.
“There’s poop in the elevator. On the floor,” I say.
“Are you sure?” the desk clerk says.
“Yes,” I say. “I’m sure.”
“Oh!” the clerk says. “Sorry. I’ll take care of it right away.”
Since then, I’ve huddled up here in my room, afraid to chance the elevator again. And that’s the way it is, out here in the wastelands.


Nora MacFarlane said...

Funny... in a sort of ew, kind of way. Are you re-thinking business class?

I enjoyed your presentation and meeting you at COSCBWI.

CindaChima said...

I enjoyed meeting you, too! And, believe it or not, the hotel was great otherwise.

Cindi said...

Wow! That is one unusual hotel stay experience. Looking forward to the discussion on The Demon King at Joseph Beth this evening!