Guest Relations

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At times I am plagued by such ridiculous circumstances that I’m flabbergasted. Maybe ludicrous stuff happens to other people, too, however such stories are not routinely disclosed to me. Here is one of my classics…

I endured a terrible day in December 1015, having put my loving cat, Graham, to sleep that morning. He had been very ill, and this was a necessary affair but still difficult nonetheless. I was due to head out on vacation to the beach that very same day, so after my dreadful visit to the vet, I hopped in the car to begin the journey to the shore for rest and relaxation.

I had made plans to drive and bring both cats with me as the sick feline needed hospice measures unable to be reasonably performed by my usual paid pet caretaker. Instead of two cats, I was traveling with one cat. While driving in the car, I mentally walled off the events from the first part of the day, determined to begin afresh once the salt air was filling my chest.

I arrived at the hotel unscathed after six hours of highway navigation, naively believing that my entire journey would be similarly unencumbered. I checked in and decided to grab a valet cart to carry my bags to the room. Now, I was staying for eight nights, so I had brought along some comforts of home for my remaining cat, Gertie.

I loaded up the two bags, litter box, cat carrier with cat inside, extra box of litter, cat bed, a small toiletry bag, and a garbage bag filled with blankets onto the little suitcase wagon. Unfortunately, the entrance to the hotel was atop a small hill and pushing the heavy, laden cart was challenging. I put my head down to leverage the strength of my legs and back behind my shoving of the luggage trolley.

As I advanced the cart, the whole pile of gear wobbled and things began falling off one by one…the garbage bag filled with blankets, the box of extra litter, and, finally, the cat bed. These items were strewn across the brick driveway, extending from my VW Beetle convertible to the front door. One valet guy and one other male guest went to retrieve my dropped, “crazy cat lady items.” I thanked them hurriedly and moved on.

An oblivious couple standing near the elevator romantically rubbing noses forced me to maneuver the suitcase pushcart around them, so that I could rest in front of an elevator. Of course, a different elevator opened and I had to re-maneuver around the aforementioned couple. Finally, I was on the lift, pressed floor 4, and breathed a sigh of relief.

Floor 1, then floor 2, then floor 3, then floor –.  “–“? Uh-oh. The elevator stopped. I pressed every button but nothing lit up. The air conditioning had ceased working, and I was now confined in the elevator with my cat. Thankfully, the lights were still on. “At least I have the litter box,” I thought, “for both the cat and me if needed.”

I stood for a few minutes and then called the front desk.  “Hi, I’m the lady with the cat, and I just got on the elevator.” She acknowledged me. “The elevator stopped working, and I’m trapped here…with my cat” I added the cat-thing again, so she would feel the direness of my circumstances.

Thankfully, only five minutes went by before the elevator started moving. I was shuffled to the basement and then to floor 4. Phew. I hauled the still-wobbling, laden cart off of the elevator and over to my room, thankful to be able to rest. I stuck my key card in the door. Nothing. I tried the other key. Again, nothing. I kept trying and retrying keys like a maniac.

Finally, I called the front desk again relaying the dilemma. I had lost my cookies by this point and could no longer control the tone in my voice. “We will send someone up with new keys.” My response of, “Please make sure it is a manager” was met with a kind affirmative.

The manager arrived and tried two new keys. Nothing. A maintenance guy arrived and tried a master key. Nothing. I was very upset at this point having had to wait nearly 30 minutes since unloading my car through this whole fiasco with my VW Beetle still illegally parked out front.

I explained my frustrations to the manager ending with, “now I’m stuck here in the hallway with my cat.” Her reply of, “Oh, this is a dog friendly hotel. We don’t allow cats” was not met with friendly optimism.

“I spoke directly with the reservations personnel and told them I was bringing cats.”

“Oh well, we don’t allow cats. We can make an exception this one time, but we don’t allow cats.”

BOOM. “Thank you for letting me know. For future reference, after a patron has been trapped in your elevator and then locked outside their room for a total of 30 minutes is probably NOT the best time to relay this information to them,” I said as the acidity in my voice practically burned holes in the carpet. She left, darting around the corner. She returned after 5-10 minutes with keys to the adjacent room, and I was moved next door.

Finally, peace. I unloaded all of the cat items and made my cat comfortable. I opened the balcony door excited by the “partial view” of the ocean. I love travelling to the ocean to write as I love the sound of the surf. Where was the sound of the surf anyway? I surveyed the scene.

Unfortunately, the room I was now in was located directly next to and above the third floor ballroom. On top of the ballroom were giant, industrial sized air conditioning units used to cool the hotel, a mere 20 feet from my balcony. As I watched for the crest of the white surf in the black ink of night, I was surrounded by a cacophony of machines filling the air around me with the whirring of fan belts and motors.

Determined to be happy with my vacation experience, I closed the balcony door and flopped down in one of the hotel chairs. I glanced at the bed, which was covered by a white, fluffy duvet. Oh, no. I grabbed a pillow and checked the tag. It was filled with down, which makes it puffy and soft, and also something to which I’m highly allergic. I cannot sleep in the same room with feathers.

I called down to the desk again, using my first name, as surely they knew me by now. I inquired regarding the feathers and was assured by the staff that the bed coverings were, indeed, made of down. A nice gentleman was sent up with foam pillows and new bedding. He schooled me in the fine art of deciphering which pillows were down and which were synthetic. Apparently, there is a “punch test” whereby you punch the middle of a pillow and the rate of rebound will tell you its composition. I double checked the tags for safe measure anyway.

Finally, I went down and parked the Beetle.  Now, I could relax. I hung the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the exterior knob for my entire stay, so that no one would come across my contraband cat. I fluffed my non feather pillows, and I sat on the balcony watching the water and pretending I was on a loud motored ferry boat heading to some place quiet.

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