Ever since I was a kid, I’ve enjoyed staying in hotels. In a hotel room, everything you need to relax and have fun is right there in one place: a big TV, a comfortable bed, a bathroom, clean towels, an ice machine, room service, a newspaper outside your door each morning, and best of all, someone else to clean up after you. OK, I admit, the exact same features are available in my own home, but the big difference is the hotel cleaning staff does not make me feel guilty for never lifting a finger to help.
And, of course, in my home there is never a strip of paper across the toilet seat with the message, “Sanitized for your protection.” This feature alone is worth the exorbitant room rate.
As a child, staying in a hotel was a rare and exciting adventure. It’s not like we did it very often. In fact, now that I think about it, my family stayed in a hotel exactly once: a four-day trip to Cape Cod when it rained every day. As we drove home, I remember my father muttering, “Tell me again why we thought cramming seven people into two small hotel rooms was a good idea?”
I don’t know why my dad was grumbling. My brother and I had plenty of fun on that vacation, especially our exciting bed-to-bed long jump competition. (I won; he broke his wrist. It was terrific.)
A good friend of mine travels out of town on business at least three weeks per month. This guy spends more time in hotel rooms than he does in his own house. To give you an idea, a couple years ago he came home from a business trip and said to his wife, “Hi honey. Hey, where’d that baby come from? It’s ours? Really? Did I know about it?”
I’m sure my friend hates hotel rooms. On the other hand, I travel out of town infrequently, so staying in a hotel is still kind of exciting. I went on a three-day business trip to out of state recently, and when I checked into my hotel room, I immediately threw open the bathroom door and gazed downward. “Yes!” I shouted, “Sanitized for my protection! This is great!”
I turned on the cable TV, took off my shoes, and did a few bed-to-bed long jumps. I’ve lost a little elevation since age 12, but now that I’m in my late 50s, I can really make those bed springs groan with my cannonball landing.
It turned out to be a very frustrating trip. I was so busy with meetings and other business related activities, I only spent about six hours each day in the hotel room — not even enough time to get a decent night’s sleep, let alone have fun hanging out in the room.
When I arrived home I was genuinely depressed. Three days with a nice hotel room all to myself, and I didn’t get to enjoy it one bit.
My wife noticed I was mopey, and when I explained why, she said, “How about if I make you a soggy sandwich? And I’ll knock on the door just as you’re getting out of the shower and yell, ‘Room service!’”
“Really? You’d do that for me?” I replied. “And will you stand around looking impatient until I hand you a five-dollar tip?”
“Sure,” she said. “And if you’d like, I’ll put a strip of paper across the toilet seat.”
“You mean, you mean,” I said hopefully, “sanitized for my protection?”
“That’s right, dear,” she said with a smile. My blue funk suddenly lifted and I was happy once again. Is she a great wife, or what?