Somehow, hotels bring out the worst in me.
Over the eleven years (and counting) of our marriage, April has slowly domesticated me, making me less of a slob. (I’m sure we’d disagree on the degree of the transformation.)
Lord knows, keeping my surroundings clean and orderly doesn’t come naturally to me. I grew up in a messy, but not dirty, home. But when I went to college, I kept the clutter and lost the clean. When my roommate and I couldn’t agree on whose turn it was to take the trash out of our apartment, we let it accumulate. We got used to the cockroaches and treated them as pets who didn’t require care. When the disappeared mid-year, we puzzled a bit, but didn’t divine the answer until move-out day, when we discovered hundreds drowned in an unfinished jug of wine.
Later, living on my own, and having cats, things worsened. I’ll spare the squeamish some of the worst details and let the fact that my best pal Houston used to use the snails living in my shower to teach his students about the development of ecosystems. He also swears that a night’s sleep on my couch netted him a sty.
Suffice to say, things are much improved. Were they not I’d probably not be married.
But when I stay in a hotel, a decade of training falls out the window. It’s not just being out of the home or lacking April’s expectations. I go out of my way respect other spaces, public and private. I sneer at people who don’t pick up after their dogs.
But in a hotel room, I’m blind to trashcans. Dirty clothes live wherever they fall. Spills remain spills. When pressed, I suspect that if maid service was more frequent, I might not always make it to the toilet.
My amateur psychoanalysis would be that this is all some sort of devolution to my natural, slovenly state. But there is one red herring in all of this: Towels.
I was raised in a house with a flaky washer and a backlog of laundry. You used every towel multiple times. That was reinforced as a collegiate swimmer without laundry service. But April has always been insistant that on one use, towels go to the hamper. I like that.
But a couple years ago, I noticed a cynical new trend, in which some hotels printed (on paper, no less!) signs encouraging you to save the environment by reusing towels. If I thought for one second that their concern was sincere, I’d step over the garbage on the hotel floor to applaud them. But what they’re really trying to save is their labor costs.
So, if a hotel lacks “the sign,” I have respect. I re-hang my towel proudly. But if they try to guilt me into towel conservation, I use as many as possible, leaving all among the flotsam on the floor.
And yes, I do tip the maids. And I imagine it’s guests like me that keep them employed, thus stimulating the economy. You’re welcome.
- Toilet Paper, Towels and Hot Water – Axum, Ethiopia (travelpod.com)
- The Room from Hell – Kochi, India (travelpod.com)
- Who’s the Worst Celeb Hotel Wrecker? (foxnews.com)