Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Hotel

Part C:

After being saved from a fate worse than death by the future bride, my son and I made our way to our hotel and started to check in. It was then that I learned that the room I had reserved over the internet was only a “deluxe” room, and as such came only with a fan rather than with air-conditioning.

I received this news as sweat ran down my face, streamed down between my shoulder blades, and puddled at my feet. As it turns out, and “exceptional” room DOES come with air-conditioning, but costs quite a bit more. I looked at my son, who clearly thought his old man could not have been any more incompetent or embarrassing. This was a dangerous moment as we were both close to a total meltdown.

I turned to the clerk and explained that we did, indeed need air-conditioning but that we were not prepared to pay any more for the room and if that was impossible, then we would cancel our reservation and go to the competition. She disappeared for a moment and came back with the good news that her manager had authorized an upgrade to an “exceptional” room at NO increase in price. Finally, a positive development.

We were handed a key (real key) on a key fob the size of a horses leg and with enough heft to qualify as a deadly weapon. We were also given a slip of paper with the room number on it – 214. Then we went in search of the elevator as the grand staircase – all ancient marble, looked a little challenging for our heavily laden, wheeled suitcases. And search we did.

We finally found the elevator at the end of a long hallway that looked like it stretched all the way to Serbia. At first, I thought that the elevator was simply a closet. This was clearly a “modern” item added sometime in the last fifty years, but not part of the original design of the building which dated back to the 1880’s.

So, in we went and pressed the “two” button. When the doors opened, the room numbers were all “three” something. Back to the elevator and look at the buttons. There was 1 through 3, and also a -1. So, to get to the second floor, we had to press “one.” I felt like Alice down the rabbit hole.

We eventually got to our room where we stood for a good five minutes trying to unlock the door. The key made the tumbler “click,” but no combination of turns, either to the right or the left seemed to open the door. Fortunately, it was my son doing the turning. Had it been me performing this series of unsuccessful operations, I am sure he would have immediately denounced me and run off looking for a better life with the gypsies.

Finally, one of us got both the flick of the wrist timed with the proper incantation and the door opened – only to show another door three inches away. I am afraid that we both just stood there staring at it, numb with fatigue and trapped in some surreal universe where each door would lead to another and we would never actually get to a room with air-conditioning. I looked over my shoulder to see if Rod Serling were standing there.

I tentatively put my hand on the second door handle and pressed down. The door swung inward to reveal our “exceptional” room – which looked on first glance to be about the same size as the elevator.

Perhaps it is the fact that we, as Americans, are used to hotel rooms that could double as a soccer field, but this one seemed particularly small. There were two single beds on either side, a desk, a wardrobe, a couple of small end tables and one ancient looking window unit AC stuck half way up the window that stretched upward for at least a city block. I would need oxygen to climb up and adjust the dial. The management had thoughtfully provided a workaround in the form of a simple on/off switch where the unit plugged into an extension cord that looked like someone had pilfered it from the Thomas Edison prototype museum. As for the adjustment, let’s just say it blows very cold air – all the time.

None of this was pacifying my son however. Not only was his father an incompetent idiot who lost passports and had to be saved by the bride of all people, and booked rooms over the internet that looked like they came straight out of a nightmare gone wrong, but, BUT, he also separated this teen from the rest of the young people who were over at the other hotel, and made him be a roommate in this surreal place. I went to hide in the bathroom, suggesting as I did that he pull out the laptop and try to bootleg a signal off of the disco out behind the hotel.

I was in there a while, experimenting with a very unusual design in toiletry, and wondering why I was not hearing any further scathing comments issuing from my progeny. When I finally emerged, I found him happily connected and back to the more pleasant side of his Jekyll/Hyde personality. From that point on, things started to look up.

More later.


Blogger lime said...

oh my word, the first 3 installments already sound like the adventure of a lifetime...AND with a scathing teenage son. bless the bride she sounds like a WONDERFUL person being willing to prefer such athletic acts of heroisim in pursuit of your legal identity and the key to the more pleasant side of your son's personality. Looking forward to the future installments.

9:51 PM, July 22, 2007  

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