Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Horrific Hotels/Malevolent Motels

This weekend, (if The Prude can convince her stomach to stop rejecting all incoming food and beverages) we will be staying at a hotel. Or a motel. The Prude has never figured out the difference to her satisfaction.

The Young Prude asked her mother one day, ‘What’s the difference between a hotel and a motel?” Mother Prude turned red and sputtered for words. Immediately The Prude remembered the last time an innocent question had elicited this sort of response. An even Younger Prude had asked, “Where do babies come from?” The answer left Young Miss Prude in a state of trauma for years. So when the hotel/motel question drew blushes and stammers from Mother, Young Prude gasped, ‘Never mind! I don’t really want to know!” and quickly exited the room.

Thus her confusion remains to this day. When The Prude’s children asked the same question with wide and trusting eyes, The Prude responded with the same flushed face and faltering words. Obviously the difference has escaped the family for generations.

But I digress. Have you ever noticed that sometimes Your Prude digresses so far from her original topic that she ends up in an entirely different time zone?

Hotels (we’ll stick with this name in interests of alphabetical priority)- held a certain rose colored charm for The Prude and her siblings when growing up. Color televisions, swimming pools, and tiny wrapped bars of Ivory Soap. Ah-this must be how the rich lived! We didn’t even have to make the bed before we left!

But then The Prude grew up. And as so often happens, those early rose-colored glasses grew brittle with age and developed cracks.

The first crack occurred when a hotel had a default setting on the television. It was the Adult Entertainment Channel. We also discovered it charged hourly rates, and that our socks were so filthy from walking across the carpet that we had to dispose of them. I believe we burned them. And scattered their ashes over the hourly rate hotel.

Crack #2 appeared when we opened the sleeper sofa in a hotel ‘suite’ for our children to rest their weary heads. Out popped a half-smoked cigar.

The next 3 cracks came in quick succession and all but destroyed the rose colored glasses. They included hair (not from the Prudes' heads) on a bathroom floor, a bloody bandage (not from the Prudes' bloodstreams) in a trashcan and an obvious (and aromatic) pet stain (not from the Prudes' dog) in the middle of a floor.

Now The Prude approaches hotels with extreme caution and more extreme suspicion.
She is sure that the only truly clean thing on a toilet with a piece of tape across it is the tape. She suspects that even if the toilet were cleaned, it was nothing more than a swish with a brush below the rim. Unless an 8-legged creature crawls out from under that rim, she is much more concerned with the actual seat and the flush lever, the only parts with which contact is actually made.

She wonders when the bedspread (on which her children are flopped) was last washed.
And do they EVER change the mattress pad? What about the pillows? Didn’t previous guests DROOL on those pillows?

The Prude could continue with questions about the little paper caps on ‘clean’ drinking glasses. Or whether previous guests washed their hands before touching the half-used toilet paper roll leering in the bathroom. She doesn’t even like to imagine scenarios that involve previous guests, with malicious intent, drying themselves with the towels and then neatly rolling them back on the little metal shelves.

The Prude would be happy to hear your hotel/motel horror stories. They may help her convince her husband that they can just sleep in the back of the van this weekend.


Laura said...

At a hotel, the doors to the rooms are all inside. At a motel, the doors to the rooms are outside. Motels were the answer to America's traveling ease: motel= motor + hotel.

Now even the best hotels may have bedbugs in the rooms... .

Beth said...

I have wondered all those same thoughts! You asked for more stories but my scarriest story is on a completely different tangent - and I do mean scarry! Happy to use a discount coupon for a motel in the Chicago area, I made a reservation in a town closest to where we wanted to go. As we got closer my husband asked if I was sure of the address. Next was "are all the doors locked?" We checked in and were all tucked into bed when we heard a loud staccato. I quietly, so as not to awaken the children, asked my husband "what was that?" "That", he said, "was a gunshot!" There were several more shots and where can you go? Not outside to get in your van and drive out of there!! Somehow we got a little sleep and left as soon as daylight came....

The Prude said...

Laura- thank you for the clarification. Maybe the next generation won't panic when asked.

Oh Beth. You get the prize for most horrific.
(note to self- pack bullet proof vests)

Anonymous said...

I have seen stain from bugs on the walls of a classy hotel in Chicago, cockroaches in a motel 6, one without heat, and another where the toilet rocked. Ah! the joys of traveling. I don't even want to think about bedbugs! - Joanie

stephseef said...

hotels - doors inside
motel - doors outside.

my mother wouldn't be caught DEAD in a MOtel. only a HOtel. Until the day that we found the bullets and bullet holes in the wall in the Holiday Inn in Kissimmee, FL. Her worldview was shattered.

In my work, I'm REALLY REALLY blessed to be able to stay in some FANCY SCHMANCY places and let me tell you, they are AWESOME. Everyone should get to sleep on one of those beds once. So fun. Could also be that I have so many small children that I'm so relieved to have a night of sleep without interruption....


Mark said...

Well, Prude my friend, since I literally spend almost half of my life in Ho-Mo-tels I have many, many stories ranging from cockroaches as bed partners in Texas, (both above and beneath the covers - a cockroach crawling across ones arm, and then across the chest causes an impressive, leaping transition from groggy sleepiness to wide awake alertness in a fraction of a second), to flooding, bubbling sewage oozing from the bathroom floor drain in Mexico. And many more stories in between...

I have to agree with the comment about the epistemology of the word motel, and since I am not of such a young and tender age as you, I remember that in years past motels were almost always one, or at the most two-story structures, on the outskirts of cities or in the country. Hotels were always older, multi-storied buildings located in the downtown regions of large cities. Hotels often featured men in long coats with top hats who would help guests through the front doors, load their luggage onto carts, and wait politely for a handsome tip having deposited the luggage in said guest's rooms.

Alas, things have changed (but not alas, hotels and motels are nicer now than I remember them in my youth), and I now stay in many varieties, founded on numerous architectural designs. Happily, most of my typical experiences can be classified as mundane and comfortable - even in Richland Center, Wisconsin!

All this to say, dear Prude, don't worry! (Ha!) You and your partner will have a wonderful time.

Victorious1 said...

Just don't touch the remote control and everything will be ok. Or at least that's my rule...

Danielle said...

I'm glad my sisters knew what they were talking about when they told me the difference between hotels and motels! I also had rose-colored glasses when it came to staying at a hotel and I still do to some extent. Sam kept telling me on our honeymoon NOT to immediately flop on the bed since the comforters are typically never washed but to fold it back first and flop on the sheets instead.... I still forgot numerous times!

As for a horror story, I know we stayed at some pretty ratty motels ("they are so cheap though!" is what I heard from my Dad so many times) but there was one in particular where we felt sure some of the guests were making drugs right outside of their motel room. My sisters and I were a little scared to go to sleep that night...