Bloody travel agent! Overbooked us again it seemed. It wasn’t the first time I assure you. I’d once spent 6 months in a hotel in Guantanamo, Cuba. I’d only booked myself in for a fortnight but as luck, or misfortune, would have it, I’d gotten the extra 6 months cost free. Admittedly being as it was still a communist country, being exploited from bottom to top by a cruel, tyrannical government, I took my chances, didn’t put a hand up, for fear of attracting too much negative attention.
This time,however, I was quite surprised. I was in Central, what used to be Eastern, Europe, and as far as I knew the Red Dusk had gone. The sun had risen again on a fledgling democracy, and with it the promise of change. Well I’ll tell you this, and I’ll be quite frank; what a farce! The service was non-existent, the faces all too non-expressive. Szomorú vasarnap? Szomorú every other day!
All my queries met with blank faces; all my worries, not allayed, were bolstered. I was in the proverbial dog’s dirt. I mean…well, let me tell you what I mean.
I’ve been here…where’s here? Well, it’s my room, at least that’s what it says on my ticket that I received at reception; why no key? You can go figure. There was a number! What you may be inclined to ask, was the number. I’ll tell you. I’m not one to shy away from such questions. Room 404. Room 4 oh ’expletive removed’ 4. I mean, I’m not a numerologist but where in any books does it suggest that the configurement of a 4 followed by a 0 followed by a 4 implies chaos. I mean, I’ve known disorder, but Jesus this is chaos. I feel like I’ve been led into the inner mechanics of a dictionary defintion and that this is in itself, unashamedly…TURMOIL.
God, I don’t like to complain, usually, but this is beyond border-line ridiculous. What I mean to say is that on opening the door to what I considered to be my dwellings, if I take a literary, academic phrasing, I found all sorts of mayhem ensuing. I mean, and God knows I’m being repetitive, I found unholy hell, a mess that could only be defined as ’mess’s much more topsy turvy-cally inclined, wiser, eccentric uncle. I’d discovered pandemonium, a word I’ve only now so confidently pronounced.
Christ if only it were a coffee stain on a rug, if only it were the crumpled sheets on the bed where a hasty post-cleaning coitous took place, preferably between two of the prettiest females of the staff. Whatever a deluded mind may search for in terms of solace, it does not here reside.
What I’ve found instead is worse than hotel room depravity, it’s utterly contemptable. I’m even nauseous in elucidating upon this matter. How horribly naive I was to assume change. There is nothing here but the ’Pig to man, man to pig’ analogy. Nothing, I swear nothing, has changed!
Privacy: non-existent. I’d heard about the KGB agents in Russia but this borders on the surreal post surreal. I’d heard about land sharing but I didn’t think that it extended quite so far as this. I’d heard about adjustment, and that I was, according to my guide-book, supposed to roll with the punches, but come on! One cannot reasonably be expected to suddenly change without some repercussions. I, myself, was unwilling to admit that any of this was true. How could it be, I mean, how could I, having sincerely asked at reception for a room, accepting the base confusion, tolerating the utter misinterpretation, still be expected to arrive at my room, a room with a door by the way with two glass panels, not very private, and on entering, only to find a troupé, and I choose my words succintly, cos these must have been in an actor’s guild, a travelling circus, or another…well, how could I have been expected to keep my cool. I tried, I really did, but finally I moved towards what could only be described as a hatch, like in a public building, a place to throw questions and build frustrations, and with a fury of such an occasion I braced myself.
„Excuse me,” I said to a lady conveniently on the other side of this partition,
She looked up, said something, then continued to write.
„Excuse me…” I implored and this time she set her pen down.
„Yes…” she invited, even this being heavily accented.
„Is this Room 404?”
„Yes” she replied, „Do you have a ticket?”
I did and I gave it to her.
„Take a seat”
I did but didn’t know why I should. I’d paid for this room…except I couldn’t remember having done so.
A number came up on the board: „206”. I looked up, in a daze. I let my eyes fall on my ticket-„207”. Well at least I’m next, I proffered, to nobody in particular. I fidgeted, let my legs bounce…
„Hello, I’ve booked a room.”
„Name and tax number, please?”
„Name and tax…”