Make or break

I toss bits of un­der­wear in the air and they land at ran­dom, some­times atop a stan­dard lamp, flut­ter­ing like pen­nants

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - NEWS - SU­SAN KUROSAWA

Su­san won’t be long, she’s just un­tidy­ing the room ... There are spe­cific win­dows of time for me to wreck a ho­tel cham­ber. Such pe­ri­ods have to be be­tween checkin and turn-down ser­vice and then be­fore the morn­ing house­keep­ing call.

As a very neat and tidy per­son at home, there is such lib­er­a­tion in be­ing let loose amid the anonymity of a ho­tel room. I never do any dam­age but, yikes, I can make such a mess. My suit­case will look as if it is freshly det­o­nated, other bags up­ended, stuff ev­ery which­way. And then there are the bath tow­els. Briefly, I pre­tend I am a man, or at least a male mem­ber of my fam­ily, and leave damp wreck­age all over the tiled floor and strewn in the bath tub. As blokes do, I fail to put back a lid on any con­tainer and squeeze the tooth­paste from the top. If I can get a gunky residue in the plug-hole, so much the bet­ter, and more than once I have con­tem­plated shav­ing bits of me just so I can leave a trac­ery of hairs across the basin. I refuse to read la­bels and so use the shower gel as sham­poo and then curse like a pi­rate when it stings my eyes.

My shoes are left in odd places so the floor is booby­trapped and the tele­vi­sion is left on all night. When I wake to at­tend to a call of na­ture at, say, 3am, I pre­tend I have never been asleep but in fact have been riv­eted watch­ing the news in Ara­bic or the re­sults of the NZ Sheep­dog Trial Cham­pi­onships. Yes, I do know the dif­fer­ence be­tween hunt­away and head­ing dogs. Stop be­ing such a nag.

I take all the ho­tel col­lat­eral, such as menus and wisps of pa­per with Wi-Fi ac­cess codes, and hide these in the most ob­scure places and then deny I ever saw them. Ditto for the key, which never is a key these days, by the way, but a silly plas­tic disk thing that de­mag­ne­tises if you so much as look at it side­ways. This I put some­where so safe that it will never resur­face, no mat­ter how loudly I swear and stomp about ac­cus­ing my­self of los­ing it. This equally ap­plies to spec­ta­cles, sun­glasses and iPhone charg­ers. I toss bits of un­der­wear in the air and they land at ran­dom, some­times atop a stan­dard lamp, flut­ter­ing like pen­nants.

Much of this will have been achieved dur­ing the witch­ing hour be­tween re­turn­ing to said ho­tel room at, say, 5pm and pre­par­ing to go out again at 7pm. Then there comes the most tremen­dous flurry to put ev­ery­thing to rights be­fore the house­keep­ers ar­rive with their trol­leys to pre­pare the bed, plump the pil­lows, pull shut the cur­tains.

Back from the evening’s cor­po­rate events by 11pm and it’s on again. All un­ti­died in 10 min­utes flat. Get a wakeup call so all can be re­assem­bled and pressed back into place by 8am. Hang the (re­dun­dant) Please Make Up Room sign on the door­knob. Col­lapse, ex­hausted, at the break­fast ta­ble.

“Look at you! Night out with the boys, ha ha?” laughs a col­league as he pulls out a chair to join me. Where to be­gin?

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