Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Checking Out - Wednesday
‘Have you checked the drawers?’ I ask my wife anxiously, as we prepare to leave the hotel room. I’ve been preparing since we arrived actually. She looks at me with a not too well disguised air of distain - she wouldn’t do too well in property sales – then says. ‘We didn’t put anything in the drawers.’
Strictly speaking she’s right. All our possessions have either remained in the suitcases or been hung in the one wardrobe area we’ve utilised. Unless a malicious cleaner has been secreting socks, airline tickets and EU medical cards in the entirely superfluous drawers hotels provide, there’ll be nothing in there other than dust and whichever bible the chosen religion has placed in-situ. I still look just in case. Not even Gideons have bothered. Past saving I guess - the profession is on my passport.
‘One last visit to the loo.’ Announces my wife while I fret as I do in the office. Under the bed is clear, behind the curtains a couple of dead mosquitoes and the mini bar is as we found it – once I’ve taken out our own drinks and half a pack of over-priced peanuts. Still I have that corrosive doubt that something will go wrong, a legacy of several thousand home sales where disappointment and disaster are default options. And this is before the trauma of the flight home.
I don’t need another piss but my bowels have early turbulence that comes with travel of any kind. I take a last glance at the unfamiliar sanitary ware brand. German I’m guessing. They’ve taken over most other functions in the hotel, as the pickled fish at breakfast confirmed first morning. Hansgrohe, I muse, as I find that the mind is willing but the bladder empty.
It’s an odd obsession but then I have to find something to say about bathrooms in my property details. I’ve been flogging homes so long I remember when avocado and whisper grey suites were popular, plus that terrible turd brown colour that always showed the lime-scale no matter how hard you scrubbed. It will be back. Everything comes back round the u-bend eventually.
‘That’s odd.’ I tell my wife as I toss the towels on the floor and decide not to save the planet for the seventh time out of seven days. She asks why out of duty.
‘We’ve got Roca Spanish fittings at home, they’ve got German bogs in Spain and nobody uses Ideal Standard anywhere as far as I can tell.’
‘I mean if you are marketing a company don’t use Standard in the name.’ I continue as we squeeze into the lift beside a pot-bellied man with body odour and a wife-beater vest on. He grunts a guttural greeting and I know I’m safe to ignore him.
‘That’s like naming your air bag manufacturing firm: Statutory Minimum Requirements.’ I ramble aimlessly, as my stomach lurches again and the lift descends to where I’m offered someone else’s bill.
‘It’s because we changed rooms.’ Explains my wife to the receptionist who still thinks we’re German despite our name and demeanour. Problem sorted, our bar bill was less or I’d have given him a couple of effusive Danke Schons and scarpered, we wait for the transfer bus. And wait.
‘They have you out here forty minutes early then dump you at the airport three hours before the flight for who exactly?’ I seethe, as I feel the sweat bubbling up and my flight socks slipping.
‘Just relax.’ Soothes my better half, throwing a look of apology at the other couple that arrived with us. We didn’t speak to for a week and now she wants to make friends. I talk to enough people I don’t like at work, I’m not going to seek out bores who want to discuss property prices by the poolside.
‘See the driver thinks he deserves a tip for taking us to where we’ve paid to go.’ I tell my wife as I spot a familiar collecting basket at the front of the coach. Pedro, Juan, Spiros, Abdul; they all want to flush out your cash for doing what I expect to be Standard and only just Ideal.
My life is a tangled chain.
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