Steve Eaton: Stadium weddings and screaming fights are part of our travel memories
It’s not completely clear to me why I think of a night in a fancy hotel as such a treat. Here I sit in a five-bedroom house with a dining room and two family rooms and yet if you told me I was going to get to stay in a two-room hotel suite this weekend, I’d be quite excited about it.
I’d feel that way even if the room wasn’t really a suite. I’ve noticed that recently many hotel chains have gone to taking a normal hotel room, putting up a partial wall and calling it a suite. That’s sort of like opening all the windows in your car and calling it a convertible.
And yet I’d even be happy to stay in a fake suite. When we get all nostalgic and decide to list our best memories, often they involve a stay at a nice resort or hotel.
Actually, not all of our hotel stays become cherished memories. We were traveling across the United States once and did not make reservations in advance, choosing to live life wild and free in Kansas. When we opted to stop, it turned out none of the hotels wanted us to spend time with them. They were all full. After multiple rejections, we tried an average-looking hotel chain location.
The receptionist told us that the hotel only had one room left, but that we should know there was a wedding going on in the hotel. If that didn’t bother us, we were free to take the room. We didn’t see any downside to a simple wedding going on, so we took the ground-floor room.
We soon discovered it was an unusual wedding that appeared to have drawn thousands of people, and it was an intimate event that employed a sound system fit for a football stadium.
When we got to the room, I noticed there was a sliding glass door covered by curtains at the other end of the room. I walked over to take a look, pulled back the curtains and suddenly found myself just four feet away from the wedding. The inner courtyard of the hotel was filled with people, and a table of guests in very formal attire turned to look at me when I opened the curtains. I suddenly realized I was in a zoo exhibit of sorts — only I had more power than your standard caged animal because I was pretty sure I could just stand there scratching my head and they would all lose their appetites and leave.
Of course, my first inclination was to jump from bed to bed like an ape and really entertain them, but my wife, who is a civilized person, immediately drew back the curtains, ending my first real shot at being in the entertainment industry.
My second shot was to follow in minutes. We didn’t know it then, but it wouldn’t be long before we would be back in the public spotlight again — only this time we’d be wearing swimsuits.
It was after we went swimming that we discovered that one of the features this hotel had was a camera that watched the pool 24 hours a day and that you could select this live candid camera feed just like any other channel. You could watch anyone who was at the pool at any time, but the best ones to watch were those who hadn’t yet watched TV at the hotel. Not knowing they were on reality TV, they behaved in the most natural way. While I was embarrassed about my stint on the channel, I looked forward to watching the swimming pool action until my wife, who is civilized, turned off the TV.
We had one other experience that was just as strange but much scarier. We stopped at a motel one night, and before we could check to see if they had a swimming pool channel, the couple in the next room started to scream at each other. And I mean scream.
It felt as if we’d hear violent noises to go with the fight at any moment, but it never escalated to that point. They just had plenty to say and they weren’t using their indoor voices.
When we got up, after not enough sleep, things were quiet. We thought of taking revenge by yelling at each other but we didn’t feel like arguing. So, we considered having a screaming argument in which we said, in angry loud voices, very nice things to each other.
“Well, you sure do look nice today sweetheart!!”
“Thank you, honey, you are always so THOUGHTFUL!!!”
The thought of waking them up with cheerful, loving screaming made us both laugh, but we didn’t dare try it.
Nearly all the time we have had very nice experiences in hotels and, because we tend to be very selective, sometimes we get a real suite and feel like we are in luxury land because we have two rooms and a microwave. As long as there isn’t a stadium-sized party going on outside our window or a screaming wild fight going on in the next room, we think we are doing pretty good.
And, of course, we always bring black duct tape now — just in case there are cameras over the pool.
Steve Eaton lives and works in Logan, Utah. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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