Monday, September 29, 2008

The Fruitcake in 510

Men just can't help acting on impulse...or so says the old TV commercial. As I was packing for the US on Friday evening, I impulsively grabbed a bottle of sun cream and threw it in my bag. I might need that I thought, even though I'm working and am only likely to see the sun between walking from the taxi to the office and vice versa but when in The Sunshine State one must always be prepared.

I arrived late on Saturday evening, unpacked my luggage and found the aforementioned bottle of sun cream had ruptured and disgorged its comments over most of my underwear (socks and undies), a brand new sweater (very lightweight and specially purchased in the unlikely evening of a less than balmy evening) and my lovely old (non digital) Nikon SLR camera.

Much cussing ensued as I picked through the creamy mess of my carefully packed baggage. I knew immediately I could not just put the soiled garments in a laundry bag and leave them to be collected by the hotel staff. Some poor unfortunate soul toiling in the bowels of the hotel would receive the bag, plunge their hand in to remove the garments and be greeted with a gooey mess. I suspect hotel cleaning staff are hardened individuals and have seen pretty much everything but I still didn't want them to extrapolate wildly and draw some bizarre but wholly wrong conclusions over the contents of my laundry.

First I tried to wipe off the excess cream with a few tissues I had also packed. Useless. I then resorted to large amounts of toilet paper which cleared up most of the excess but in the end I was simply left with a large amount of toilet paper covered with a slimy creamy substance and still had a lot of gooey clothing. Much toilet flushing ensued to dispose of the toilet paper as I couldn't really just leave this sort of suspicious looking material in the bin.

I still didn't feel able to stuff the clothes into a laundry bag as it was still pretty messy. I then tried washing off the remaining excess sun cream under the shower. A hopeless failure. As the sun cream was waterproof and I had no detergent, this now meant that not only was my clothing still slimy but it was now also soaking wet.

I wrung out the items as best I could, draped them over a few hangers on the shower rail in the bathroom and then tried to dry them off with the hair dryer. The hair dryer was bolted to the wall and didn't really reach as far as the shower so I had to hold up each item by hand and try to dry them one by one. I gave up after a while.

OK, the maid would be here the next morning. What would she make of the new hotel guest who had only arrived the night before and now had a large amount of wet clothing hanging in the bathroom with suspicious white slimy patches all over it? I might as well just kill myself now in embarrasment. The suicide would hopefully generate more column inches in the press than idle speculation about the state of the suicidee's clothing I thought to myself. I went to bed and had a sleepless night - quite impressive considering it was now 5am in my own personal body clock.

The Florida morning arrived, dazzlingly bright and I still had a bathroom full of ugly wet clothes. I went to breakfast and related the whole sorry tale to my colleague who chuckled politely at my dilemma. This was worse than the time I left bloodstains all over the hotel bedsheets in Romania (ask me about that sometime), he was kind enough to remind me.

After breakfast I returned to my room, still unable to decide how I would disguise my predicament and get my clothing into a fit state to hand over to the hotel to be washed. I turned the corner just in time to see the maid exiting my room and about to close the door behind her. She looked up to see me approaching. Our eyes met. At this point, fear and embarrassment almost overcame me and I considered launching myself over the parapet and plunging five floors down into the hotel atrium. I just about managed to resist the temptation and kept walking. She smiled sweetly at me, but we both knew, behind the smile she was mentally assessing just exactly what kind of a weirdo I was. But she was a real pro. She held the smile, paused and kept the door open for me. I went in. No words were exchanged. The door closed beind me.

She had taken all the clammy clothes down and rehung them much more tidily and in such as way as they would not drip onto the towel I had left on the floor to catch the excess drippage. She had perfectly remade the bed that the previous night I had tossed and turned in so restlessly. The rest of the room had also been tidied immaculately. Hotel staff really have seen everything and I suspect it takes a lot more than my little disaster to shock them. I would barely merit a mention to colleagues during her coffee break other than for her to advise them that there's a potential fruitcake in 510.


sabrina said...

Hahaha...i really enjoyed this post!

Cream disasaters are the worst!!!! I can't tel you how many cothes i've had to throw away cos i just couldn't be arsed into trying 20different ways of getting it out!

Hope the rest of the trip turns out well :p

King of Scurf said...

I just discovered buying new underwear is cheaping than sending it to the hotel laundry - $4 to clean one pair of smalls!

sriyany said...

Ooo this is an excellent post! I almost felt sorry for you when you bumped into the maid but as you say, I think nothing should faze them when it comes to hotel guests.

Note to self: NEVER place sunblock in checked-in luggage :)

Terra Shield said...

LOL. I too enjoyed this post.

King of Scurf said...

sriyany: I'm sure some enterprising hotel staff could write a book about the kind of things they find guests getting up to.

Terra: Thanks - I'm just slowly getting over the embarassment.