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11.29.2008

Smoking or Non?

I'm staying in a hotel in Connecticut, and it got me thinking about hotels. The not-so-expensive kind. Like this one. No internet, no wall outlets by the bed, a phone that isn't plugged in, a refrigerator that isn't plugged in, etc. The type of lodging that offers you smoking or non. And conveniently, though I asked for the non-smoking abode, I was awakened to the treat of my neighbors' cigarette smoke in the morning.

Well all this got me thinking about the hygienic history of this room.

For instance.

The floors. Have you ever seen a housekeeper vacuuming the rooms? I haven't really noticed, but after seeing the stuff on the tiled bathroom floor, I can only imagine what awaits us within the fine shags of 15-year old carpet.

Toilet paper. It's been a technique of hotels for years now, to recycle already-opened rolls of toilet paper, simply folding the end in some fancy origami design to reassure us it's safe. But I'm starting to think less of this. I know it saves them money and us trees, but it also promotes nasty germ transfers. Why? Because inevitably someone before you used that toilet paper for a purpose. And had to get it off the roll somehow. And also contaminate the room with bowel-dropping aromas. Yet that same toilet paper roll managed to convince the housekeeper that it was ready and able to help another guest. Gross. If they want a cheap, sanitary solution, they should order much smaller rolls. If someone runs out they can unwrap a new one. That will solve the problem of wasting the hotel's money, the world's trees, and our lives.

I used the mini-shampoo they gave me. I squirted the yellow blob onto my hand, and in an effort to get some more, I squeezed again. Only this time it slurped back into the bottle. I don't know what I just put on my head, but it was a cross between a liquid and solid state of matter. With a mind of its own.

I also question how clean community towels can get. Particularly wash rags. If a bath towel (the kind you dry yourself with) can still have a stray hair or two from previous owners, how sterile can the dirtiest rag of all-time really become? Everyone uses it in the same ways, for the same purposes. Maybe they're washed on account of their nastiness. I'm sure hotels use a scientific formula to decipher how many washes with how much bleach is needed to cleanse the rag of its bacterial menaces.

Why did I stay here? Well, it was quite the deliberation...

When I pulled up to the "Inn" it was very much like the one-story motels that are playgrounds for serial killers. The ones where you pull right up to your front door--AC unit in the window. The cashier/owner/tenant in the loft above the lobby spoke marginal English with a thick Indian scent/accent. I took my key, so I could determine if the room would suffice. Figuring not, I would then simply return to the desk and say "I'm leaving," in however many languages I could create, using hand gestures and charades when necessary. But that didn't happen.

Obviously I stayed the night, and it's because at the motel room next door was parked a brand new Mercedes SUV. I figured, "If anyone's gonna get hit tonight, it'll be them."

So now I'm off to visit two state capitol buildings. I realized last night I could've gotten pictures at 5 of 8 capitol buildings. Providence, RI (I will today); Hartford, CT (also today); Boston, MA; Concord, NH; and Albany, NY. I wish I would've thought of that yesterday. Maine, Vermont and Maryland will have to wait for another time. Quite a fun trip. I fly out tonight at 8.30pm.

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