Nina's Stillwater Calendar

Wednesday, August 15

Hotel Adventures: Signs, Service, and Smell

I took a little roadtrip on the way back to Oklahoma. Really, I was the only one who needed to take the trip, but Scott and Chris came along for the ride. Apparently they felt their summer had lacked the spice and interest that a grumpy, tired, and sharp-tongued woman brings to life. Chris booked our hotels around Glacier National Park so I hadn't seen them. I just trusted that they were nice. As we drove out to the edges of town we passed one hotel that made me unspeakably grateful that we already had a place and weren't reduced to begging for bed there. I couldn't see actual hotel, but the sign said it all. You know the kind. Faded letters with some fancy name, like "Big Sky Motel". Stripped off lettering on another part of the sign. I felt smugly secure in my knowledge that better lodgings awaited me down the road. Wait! The car is turning around. That was our hotel. We rolled up to it all wondering whether there was any chance of finding a room at the Motel 6. After all, this couldn't be good. The lobby was being 'remodeled' and had exposed drywall and floor edges protruding here and there. Knowing there was no other place in town, we resigned ourselves to the hotel, comforting ourselves with the knowledge that we would spend most of the day in the park. As it turned out though, they had remodeled the rooms first. Our room was trendy, clean, and new. Even had those slate tiles and little tile shelves that are chic in bathrooms now. The whole stay looked different once we were in the room and couldn't see that sign anymore.

The second night in the hotel we came back expecting to walk into the same lovely room we had left. Which we did. Without a key. The door room was open. Not just unlocked. Propped open. Scott went to the front desk to politely inquire about why our room door was propped open for all the world to wander in at will. It turns out that the remodeling was still going on and maintenance people had come in that day to install a new drain. And they left the door propped open. I am sure Scott would have given the manager his opinion of the maintenance crews except that upon hearing his story, she gave her own opinion of the maintenance crews rendering his superfluous.

A few hotels later we are north of Denver in a rather nice looking hotel. And if I hadn't been able to smell that would have been the extent of my opinion. A guest at the hotel had burned a bag of popcorn into small cinders in the microwave in the common kitchen. The AC had done the job of distributing the burnt popcorn smell throughout the hallways. The rooms were, luckily, mostly unaffected. Because of the smell I decided to run to my room. Maybe it was that the running looked immature. Maybe it was just that I looked immature. Either way, an employee saw me running (like an hour or so after the popcorn was burned) and put zero and zero together to get a suspect in the great unsolved popcorn arson. I was already way down the hall and not inclined to stop for some annoyed hotel employee. So she rounded on Scott the gimp with "Did you burn some popcorn?" What does she expect? A full confession with an explanation of why we decided to hang around for an hour before fleeing the scene? Scott mumbles something about the popcorn being burned before we got there and comes up to the room. I called the front desk and got an apology the next morning at breakfast.

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