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Friday, 11 November 2011

A bad day in Manchester

Most of my regular readers are aware I travel quite a bit for work. 
This past week saw me in Manchester, which is where things went, shall we say, pear-shaped. As in I have achieved the crowning moment of WTF, also known as Bad Moments in Time.


To set the scene - I realised after I got there that I'd picked up the wrong overnight bag.


No phone charger. No pajama's. No toothbrush. No soap.


Feeling a bit grumpy with myself, I waded into the local Primark, then grabbed dinner and hit the budget hotel I was booked into.


And that, dear readers, is where my night went very, very wrong.


They put me into one of the disabled rooms. This is a good thing on the one hand, since it meant I had an actual bath. One the other hand, the freaking genius who designed the layout of the room (and please believe me when I say I someday hope to meet said genius, preferably while armed with a blunt instrument of choice) had put the light cord on one side of the bathroom doorway, and the Oh-Bugger-I'm-Dying alarm on the other.


I was tired. I pulled the wrong cord.


After ten minutes off frantic slapping at every flashing light and buzzer I could see, reception knocked on the door, laughed at me, graciously waved off my apologies and re-set things so they stopped flashing and beeping.


I ran my bath, stripped in the bedroom since there was nowhere to put my clothes in the fridge - sorry, bathroom - wrapped a towel around my aching torso, and stepped through the door, which clicked shut behind me.


Remember the freaking genius room layout?


In an attempt to raise the bar even further, the bathroom door and the main room door were identical. And next to each other.


I suppose, for the average person who isn't dog-tired and prone to having weird things happen, this would be a perfectly acceptable thing.


Unfortunately, the person they put in this room was me.


I'd taken a full step onto more carpet before I realised the following:


1) The bathroom didn't have carpet in it when I ran my bath.
2) The room I was in was way, way too big to be the bathroom


My mental process for the next 30 seconds was:
"Huh. Wait. Oh, no. I did not just do this to myself. I'm in the freaking hotel corridor!! Crap!!!  Wearing a very small towel!! Mommy!!!!"


To add insult to injury, the corner of my very small towel was caught in the door. It took some acrobatic maneuvering, including the judicious application of my heel against the face of the door, to retrieve it.
Anyone entering the hotel corridor at this point in time would have seen a short, chubby, naked female wedged halfway up a door jamb, gibbering gently to herself. 


Towel retrieved, I gingerly (bare feet, economy hotel carpet) made my way to the escalator and down to reception, which consists of a vending machine, the reception desk, a small row of shabby couches - and a full size plate glass window, on a very busy main road.


To add insult to injury, reception was currently full of 5 or 6 well-oiled young guys, one of which spent the time I was down there trying to figure out if I was real or a side-effect of the local watering-hole.


(Note - trying to hide behind a vending machine and hissing "Hey! Reception lady. Cooeee!" while wearing nothing but a towel gets a strange reaction from drunks trying to check in.)


Reception lady eventually followed my semi-hysterical whimpering around the edge of the vending machine, took one look at me, and clapped both hands over her mouth.


"Oh, God!" She said.


"Yes," I said. "Um. Help?"


I have to give her credit. She was very sweet about the whole thing, and instead of calling either the cops or the local mental hospital, got me back into my room before I got frostbite. Since I was turning a delicate shade of blue by this stage, I was  grateful; to the point that I hardly heard her roaring with laughter all the way back to the elevator. I was too busy trying to get feeling back into my toes.


Before I attempted another walk to the bathroom, I wedged the room chair against the outside door.


My bath was cold.


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J H Sked is the author of WolfSong & Basement Blues.
You can find WolfSong on AmazonSony  e-bookstoreNook, iTunes &  Smashwords. Basement Blues is on AmazonSmashwordsiTunes  and  Nook