Saturday, November 14, 2009

Heartbreaking Pain

One thing I have noticed, is that pain just eats away my life. Whole hours and days can vanish into never-never land when I am in pain.

Coming back to America, after 22 years in the Caribbean is such a culture shock. I might as well have sailed to Mars! Sure, I have visited here a few times, but not many, and not for long. All my adult life I have been self-employed or worked under contract for a given time or job. So, I am not accustomed to a steady regular annual vacation.

Many Americans living overseas make regular treks back to America or at least make the annual journey. I just never did that. I don't really like schedules much at all, preferring a great deal of latitude in timing. I find alarm clocks completely annoying and refuse to use one. I just tell my body what time I need to get up, and I generally try to get to bed i time to have enough sleep, so that I wake up at the appointed time, without the alarm clock.

I can easily destroy an alarm clock. I've noticed a few hotels have the annoying habit of giving you a wake up call, whether you want one or not! I find this very disturbing. I recently had to check into a motel. I became ill about 60 miles from my temporary home. I just could not make the hour in driving in my condition. It was dark and getting late, so sleeping in my car didn't seem like a good option, plus it was about 40 F degrees and I had only a borrowed jacket and no blankets with me. The nice motel that was advertising super cheap room rates on their changeable sign, of course had sold out of the cheap rooms and only had rooms that cost more than double. I think it was a bait and switch routine, as their parking lot was nearly empty. Maybe they only had one cheap room to sell and the rest were all more than double.

I ended up at what looked like an older motel that had a makeover, so I stopped their next and found the room rate to be quite reasonable. I should have asked to see the room first. Apparently they had fixed up the outside of the motel, with fresh paint and new door veneers. Walking into my room, it was clear he makeover stopped there. My room was tiny, about 8 by 8 feet, with a decrepit bathroom that was built in 1950 something. The room was frightfully cold and took about an hour to warm up. Although they has thrown in a microwave and refrigerator, that was the only thing in the room that wasn't circa 50's besides the small TV which didn't work until I reprogrammed it for them.

It looked like a crowd of drunks had a previously had a brawl in the room. The door was heavily mangled with clear evidence that the locks and safety chains had been ripped apart repeatedly. The door has patches on it and appeared to have been kicked a good bit. The toilet seat was held on by one screw, so if you weren't careful, you and the seat could slide right into the floor.

The built-in soap dishes that previously graced the tiles, looked like they had been smashed off with the force of a heavy mallet. The mirror backing was peeling off, and you cold only see a small part of your face in the center of the mirror.

The bed seemed to have fresh linens, but I've had fluffier pancakes than the pathetic pillows provided. The clock radio was bolted to the side table, as was the telephone, leaving virtually no room for anything else. Strangely, the room came with a nice chair that seemed clearly out of place, given the run down shape of the rest of the room. It has to be the most depressing motel I have ever been in. I was too tired to complain or try to find anything better, as I was in a very small town.

Once the heat warmed up, I kicked off my shoes and laid on top of the bedspread. I rolled up the borrow jacket, then placed the flat pillows on top of that. I chanted to myself until the pain went away as I drifted into deep heavy sleep.

Next thing I knew, the damn phone was ringing. I tried to ignore it but it just kept ringing endlessly. No one knew where I was, who on earth would be calling me? I tried to ignore it, but on about the 48th ring I finally picked it up and slammed it back down, without even speaking. I rolled over and fought with the jacket and pillows to get comfy again.

Incredibly, the phone started ringing again. I slammed it back down again, I just wanted to rest. But, unbelievably, the phone rang for the 3rd time. This time, clearly agitated, I picked up the phone ad quite uncharacteristically, I yelled "WHAT DO YOU WANT?"

A voice with a thick accent informed me this was my wake up call. I said "I did NOT ask for a wakeup call!"

"But it time to check out or you must come pay for another night."

I said "It's only 9am!" as I eyed the bolted down alarm clock.

"Yes, but check-out is 11am and you must come pay for another night by 10am, if you wish to stay."

I think I answered obscenely with something like "Hell no!" and slammed the phone down again for good measure.

Clearly, this motel, was not expecting repeat business.

Back in July, I happened to stay in a very nice hotel, that happened to be nearly empty. Incredibly, they did the same, thing, only the call was automated. For some foolish reason, I then called the front desk, to tell them I had NOT asked for a wake up call and didn't appreciate getting one when I was dead tired and to please deactivate the thing. The desk clerk, basically went through a similar routine, that they gave everyone who didn't order a wakeup call, a complimentary wakeup call, so they could check out on time. I said "You've got to be kidding me! It's not even time for me to check out YET!"

He said he had to schedule his cleaning crew and it was imperative I check out on time. Before I could say anything, he hung up! I got up and threw open the curtains to allow some natural sunlight in the room. I could see, the parking lot in my section of rooms, was completely empty. When I left the hotel, I drove all around the parking lot. It had 2 cars in it, same as the night before, when I checked in and got lost trying to find my room.

I read bout the hotels and motels grumbling for business but I wonder why some don't improve their customer service and put an end to unsolicited wakeup calls.

Back to the pain, it;s subsided some now. Writing might be a pain relief...

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