Saturday, March 20, 2010
The first thing I do when I get into a hotel room is hide the Bible. You want to create a space you're comfortable in, and the chances are I'm going to be doing something considered ungodly, and you don't want the proximity of 'the good book' near your head. Or your ankles - it all depends.
(As a sidebar, I also Take Against the name 'the good book' as the seeming movie subtitle for the Bible purely because I'd like to be the judge of how good it is. My idea of a good book has fabulous women characters, a shopping montage and lots of flying about, and I gather they took all the stuff about Jesus being able to zip up to the Heaven in the manner of Neo at the end of 'The Matrix' because it was written in the Book of Acts, which was known to go a little off the rails towards the end. But then, saying that, the Gideon's Bible currently has a four-star rating on Amazon, so perhaps it is the 'good' book, and not quite a five-star 'excellent' book.)
I know some people who's first action is to case the joint for things to come with them when they check out. You can tell the quality of a hotel by the type of coffee in the little sachets and whether the hairdryer is attached to a little plastic holder on the wall. The one currently next to my laptop has a plug - an honest-to-Cher plug - that instills the idea that the charming functionary who checked me in thinks 'We trust you. We like you enough to give the opportunity to take the hairdryer, but we know you won't at all'. Even the coathangers aren't the strange beheaded type that cannot be used without the special attachment - not that I'd take them as my wardrobe at home somehow has twice the number of coat hangers in ratio to clothes, as if hopeful I'll go mad in Zara and come back with innumerable glittering outfits, so when you throw open the door it is reminiscent of when super-Rose steps from the glowing TARDIS in 'Parting of the Ways'. Good times.
It's Friday today, and going down to breakfast meant slotting in around tables of businessmen all trying to evoke a bit more personality in their grey suits with their Friday tie. I'm on my own here, so unintentionally eavesdrop their conversations as I finish up my coffee. They all seem to exist in two states: excited bon homme at being out of the office with a colleague, drinking hotel coffee on the company's expense; and a strange urgency to justify their existence there. One sat down, exchanged pleasantries and launched into an impassioned speech about how he 'simply must have the figures by eleven. Simply must' while the poor functionary behind was waiting to ask whether he wanted tea or coffee. Were the figures that important, do you think? Was he operating an underground railroad, transporting refugees out of the war zone? Or was it how many bottles of Hellman's Mayonnaise they're going to sell on the Easter weekend?
I wonder how many people have had sex in my bed. I mean, I always do - when I was last away with The Boy, we did it. And I clearly slipped into my old mindset and started looking for the £50 on the dresser while he was in the shower. Old habits die hard.
Or how many people have died in my room. It's a fairly new building so chances are slim. Or I wonder how many people have had sex and died? I've stayed in so many hotels in my time that I could probably qualify as a honorary WAG, so chances are I've stayed in a dead person's bed. There was one hotel in Hollywood that had a hot-tub right next to the bed; if you turned over under the covers with any vigor you'd find yourself falling two foot into a bright pink bath. How many wannabe actresses had been in that Jacuzzi, doing things with balding executives to get a literal leg-up in the industry? And ended up under the water when she threatened to tell his wife unless she get a walk-on for 'Days of Our Lives'?
We're a territorial species, so the idea of someone sleeping in our bed naturally rankles.
How is it that we can block this out with a hotel room? Are we just willingly distracted by the idea that a bored immigrant can remove everything about the previous owner in 30 minutes with a Jay-Cloth? Perhaps we're just bedazzled by the cornucopia of tiny cleaning products available in the bathroom, mentally making space for them in our luggage for the return trip. Or perhaps we just do everything we can to make the space our own as soon as we set through the door by any means possible.
Like I say: the first thing I do when I get into a hotel room is hide the Bible.