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