Country Gal Goes to the City
“When you get into a hotel room, you lock the door, and you know there is secrecy, there is luxury, there is fantasy, there is comfort, and there is reassurance.”
Diane von Furstenberg
I love to stay in hotels. I love hotel lobbies. I love hotel restaurants. I love hotel swimming pools. I love hotel rooms.
I love hotel room bathrooms with all of the cute little bottles of shampoo and the fresh towels, so neatly hung. I love hotel room beds with the fresh crisp sheets and the multitude of pillows. I love hotel room televisions. I love hotel room closets, with the miniature ironing boards and irons and extra blankets and pillows. I love hotel mini-fridges and mini bars. I love hotel room desks with the little lamps and computer hook-ups and little pads of paper and pens.
A hotel room is a miniature home away from home—except better. There is no clutter of daily living, no pet hair, and no to-do list on the fridge. There are no neighbors to come knocking, no salespeople to come selling, no phones ringing, no dogs barking, and no cooking and cleaning.
On a recent solo trip to Toronto, I was giddy with delight as I unpacked my suitcase, laid my shoes in a neat little row, and fondled the soft linen on the bed. I arranged my books on the bedside table, placed my slippers by the bed, and filled the mini-fridge with snacks and libations. As I approached the hotel room desk to set up my computer, my eyes fell upon a letter that had been placed there. It was a rather formal-looking letter from the General Manager of the Hotel. In order to protect his anonymity, I will refer to him as Mr. Bossy Face.
The letter read as follows:
For your information, window cleaning will be taking place over the next few weeks.
Depending on the weather, the work will take place weekdays any time between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
This work involves a “swing stage operation and at times, could be working around your room. In order to ensure your privacy, may we suggest that you keep the black-out curtains closed. The black-out curtains are located behind the decorative panels and sheers.
Should you require any assistance, please contact the Duty Manager at any time.
Mr. Bossy Face
I was shocked when I read this letter. I sat and formulated my reply:
Dear Mr. Bossy Face:
I am writing in response to your letter about window cleaning. I must say how disappointed I am to discover your unexpected correspondence upon the hotel room desk.
When I booked my hotel room, I specifically asked for “room with a view” as it is especially important for me to be immersed in the sights and sounds of this bustling urban community. I enjoy watching the crowds passing by, the eclectic street people, and the visual stimulation of the city. I am sad to discover that these simple wishes have been thwarted… and instead I will be expected to sit and stare at the dreary black-out curtains.
You are probably not aware, Mr. Bossy Face, but I also happen to enjoy falling asleep with the city lights all aglow. There is something oddly calming about being “snug as a bug,”, enfolded in white sheets, while the hustle bustle of night life surrounds me. I also enjoy spending long and lazy mornings, sleeping and stretching and spooning with my giant pillow. Have you considered, Mr. Bossy Face, how this will affect my morning routine? How can I possibly linger in the cocoon of my king-sized bed, knowing that there is a possibility that a platform of squeegee-wielding workmen could possible rise, like a sea monster from the deep – and then stop mere metres from my bedside! What if, in my slumbering state, I am completely unaware of the fact that my nightgown has become displaced and my pale, full, bottom is exposed to the open air? Will the workmen whistle, point and laugh. When they break for lunch, will they talk about the “big revelation” they saw in Room 214?
In conclusion, Mr. Bossy Face, your random window cleaning schedule will not work for me. Please advise your staff immediately.
Grumpy in Room 214
I never did receive a reply from Mr. Bossy Face and I rebelliously left the curtains wide open for the remainder of my stay.
I’d like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas. I hope you enjoy the time with family and friends. If you happen to be travelling over the holidays, I hope you enjoy the view from your hotel room windows!
Also, I would like to say that I was thrilled to be invited to speak to the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) (Orangeville Chapter) in October. I appreciated the opportunity to share some ideas with such an interesting and motivated group of women. I read the above letters as part of my speech, to explain how to use humour in negative situations. Afterwards, a member approached me and suggested I include these letters in a blog post … so I did.