Not My Houseshoes


In August of last year, Dawn and I stayed at a hotel in a small town. The first room they put us in had an unusual issue with the plumbing. Like everyone does, we animatedly discussed the minutiae of our initial problem. The clerk wasn’t exactly convincing in her portrayal of ‘interested.’ In her defense, she was stuck without a maintenance person – an all-too-common problem in hotels today as businesses reduce labor and stretch support staff needlessly thin. Dawn was much more patient than I was. I was hoping she’d unleash me and allow me to pull shenanigans. She vetoed any fun response. I took a picture of her sitting and watching the door, waiting for the promised visit by the clerk/involuntary maintenance worker. She took care of all the interaction with the clerk. Later, I agreed she was right. My involvement would have been a more exciting story, though. Of that, I’m certain.

I’d like to confess that she could have rightfully murdered me at that point, and I would have agreed I had it coming.

Part of being married is to know when to alternate whose turn it is to be either indignant or creatively bitchy. It’s an art.

We ended up moving to another room.

We checked all the plumbing first. Once middle age arrives, only a fool fails to prioritize the usability of every bathroom within a mile.

Because we’d already changed rooms, we laughed and said we’d keep this one even if we found a corpse under the bed. (Last year, there was another well-known story that included an undiscovered corpse under a hotel bed, by the way. I wish I could get THAT lucky. What a great story, if a terrible weekend.) Like everyone else, I have some great “terrible room” stories. At least 6 of mine involve Brinkley, Arkansas.

Because we’re married and set in our ways, I navigated around the bed to ‘my’ side on the window side. As I stopped near the bedside table, my feet bumped my houseshoes on the floor. Then it occurred to me that I didn’t have houseshoes and that even if I did, I wouldn’t have brought them. I prefer to run my bare feet across the unimagined nastiness of the hotel carpet.

Not wanting to alarm Dawn, I didn’t say anything about the houseshoes. I did tell her about the t-shirt in the drawer. I didn’t tell her about the half-full whiskey bottle behind the curtains or the weird lettuce and unknown meat sandwich in the closet. Instead, I decided I’d tell her later. I did check the sheets like I was searching for lost treasure, though. We often bring our own comforters, pillows, and box fan, precisely because we aren’t savages.

(Note: I’m no longer amazed about how much alcohol there is in a dry county.)

I do wonder about the hotel and what other goings-on we missed while we stayed. Since I chose not to tell Dawn about the houseshoes or other nonsense until the next day, I laid in bed and itched, imagining that the sheets hadn’t been cleaned in months.

It’s a small price to pay. Just as one doesn’t return food at a restaurant, it’s equally valid that you never change rooms twice at a hotel. You’re better off sleeping in the garbage bin behind Walmart at that point.



P.S. Regardless of grammar, “houseshoes” is correctly spelled, even if it’s not.



You’ll note that the bed is unmade. One of the first things I do is pull all the covers and sheets we don’t use off the bed and neatly fold them. I also place them in a clean space and put a notecard on them, indicating that they are “clean” and not used. While I know I’m not the only weirdo who does this, I do laugh when I imagine what the clerk or housekeepers think when they see that an unused room needs the bed made again. Dawn and I are also guilty of leaving the room exceptionally tidy when we depart.

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