The hotel room, dressed in washes of brown, looks out onto a busy road. I have pulled back the curtains, opened a window. Gray clouds heavy and sodden painted against the sky. Someone in the next room is talking fast and loud.
I am here to work. To try and break this block. I am in this inexpensive room in this city hotel because there are occasions when I need to escape. My life in the middle of nowhere
with its blurry edges
like a bout of sleepwalking.
When I checked in earlier I was told “feel free to use the leisure centre” and I have. The room has a bath. No shower. The someone in the next room’s voice pounds through the wall. Like in the movies, I place a water glass to the wall and listen.
I hear, “someone is taking a bath next door”.
I make Hotel Room Espresso. Cup. One full sachet of coffee. Boiled water filled halfway. With spoon provided, stir. Optional: UHT Milk.
This room comes with an excellent hairdryer.
I move things. I make space.
Type. Review. Delete.
They are still talking in there.
Type. Type. Bathroom.
I remember leftover toast and find a low-fat cookie in the bottom of my computer case. I am not prone to low-fat cookies. No idea how it got there.
Type. Delete. Type.
This room comes with a perfectly made bed. I do not lie down. Not one time. Someone in the hallway is using cleaning supplies. I can smell them – the cleaning supplies, not the someone.
Shuffle papers. Stare into the mirror over the desk. Next door an argument. I doubt they are in there working.
Obviously they are not working.
Stand and stretch. I overdid the treadmill.
I always do.
In the bar I count things.
One Sandwich Chef.
Two Carvery Hats.
One tuna sandwich. One broccoli soup. Zero crisps.
Six suits. One cigarette machine. Eight tourists drinking pints.
Stroll the lobby. A wedding party arrives.
In the room I make one ‘luxury tea’ using one brown sugar.
The tent sign on the desk tells me that Jaffa Cakes do muffins. Galaxy do muffins. There are no muffins in here.
This room comes with an iron. I want to iron my hair. I have seen it done on television shows. But people have straighteners now and I do not own a television.
Think of a million words to type and type none of them.
Think ‘hotel rooms in daylight are depressing’.
Bathroom. Three squirts of hand soap. One squirt of hand cream. I am not sure I like this place, but I do like the towels.
Think about items usually taken from hotel rooms.
Coffee and tea. Little soaps. Under no circumstances should you take the towels because they know if you do. I once took a toilet roll. My father once took an ashtray from a restaurant. I make a contribution to the coffee basket. Two white sugars taken from the bar downstairs.
Notes. Type. Like pulling teeth.
Somewhere, a door slams. Something on wheels squeaks by.
Abandon the mission.
Close the computer.
Fold the towels neatly.
I have used one coffee cup, two packets of coffee, one luxury tea, one sugar and one glass. Return the kettle to its upright and locked position on the tray. I have not ironed my hair.
Remove and tie the bin bag to save the room refresher person time. I have been an almost perfect guest.
Downstairs Muzak plays. Two suits. Lobby conversation.
Suit One: “Yep, yep, yep. And, and, and. Ha. It’s crazy.”
Suit Two: “I have so much information.”
Suit One: “Ha-ha. I’m getting tea.”
Two makes a phone call. One comes back and sits next to him. They open computers.
One: “Ha-ha-ha. Try that.”
Two: “I never tried that before.”
One: “Nah. It’s not working.”
Two: “Try again later.”
The story of my life as I walk out the door.
‘Room 329’ part of the ‘In Search of a Cure for Writer’s Block’ Series.
(c) 2023 Deborah McMenamy
All Rights Reserved