I was staying in a scuzzy hotel in San Francisco. This wasn’t a deliberate choice; I presume the owner had taken the photos and written the description in a more optimistic time in the distant past. It was the hotel equivalent of the numerous first dates where I’d squint at the chap across the table from me, trying to match up the dashing young buck of the profile picture with the somewhat older stag who had actually turned up.
Not that there’s anything wrong with ageing or being old, of course. I was once the baby of the office, half the age of my senior colleagues, and I’ve recently started a new job where I’m one of the oldest members of the team. My age is a fact, it doesn’t actually matter; the important thing is not being dishonest about it. Whereas, I spent every date with someone who’d failed to supply a recent photo of themselves wondering what else they’d been dishonest about.
Anyway. I went down to reception.
Hotel owner: “Hi, what’s up?”
Me: “I found something unpleasant under the bed.”
HO: “Why were you looking under the bed?”
Me: “Why shouldn’t I? My pen rolled under the bed and I wanted to get it back. So I put my hand under there…”
HO: “You really shouldn’t put your hand under the bed.”
Me: “…And I put my hand on a used syringe. And I’m freaking out a bit now.”
HO: “Yeah, what were you thinking? You shouldn’t go under the bed.”
Me: “OK, but I did and I put my hand on a used syringe.”
HO: “What do you want me to do about it?”
Me: “Could you get someone to take it away, please?”
HO: “Well, no. The cleaner hasn’t turned up today. I don’t know where she is.”
Me: “No? Is she coming tomorrow?”
HO: “I don’t know. She hasn’t turned up all week, now I think of it.”
Me: “Could you take it away, please?”
HO: “No. I’m going to Vegas.”
HO: “Yep. Just about to head off for a weekend in Vegas. Drive all night, party all weekend.”
Me: “This doesn’t help me with the syringe situation.”
HO: “Just don’t put your hand under the bed while I’m gone! Or ever!”