Maybe a couple of times a year, Other Bill and I will get out of Florida and take a week or so vacation. For the past several years, we’ve gone to San Francisco.
San Francisco is expensive. It is Manhattan/Tokyo-expensive. If you can find a condo the size of a shoebox for less than a million dollars, consider yourself lucky.
One of the best things about Other Bill is that he scores in the negative numbers on the High Maintenance Personality Test, and fortunately for him, I’m pretty much in the same area. We are not well-to-do in any sense of any word except “love,” and our needs are simply met. Consequently, when we go away, we tend to stay in the cheapest fleabag hotels that the least amount of money can buy in sketchy neighborhoods. We have rewards cards at the following hotel chains: Spitting Shower Suites, Dripping Faucet Inns, Motel Sex, Bedrooms & Bugs, Helliday Inns, Detached Toilet Courts, the Singing Toilet B and B, and as of the last trip there, the Why-Can’t-The-Two-of-You-Sleep-in-One-Twin-Bed-Until-Tomorrow-When-Another-Room-Becomes-Available Hotel. That one, while we were staying there, changed its name to the If-You-Want-To-Schlep-Up-Another-Mattress-From-The-Garage,-Here-Are-Your-Sheets Resort. And so we did, after a 10 hour-trek.
As I said, our needs are simple. We have 3 requirements for a room: a bed we can fit in, a shower, and Internet access. No phone, no pool, no pets, no gym, no chocolate on the pillowcase or turndown service. Look, if you can’t buy your own Hershey bar or yank your sheet down, you should be staying in a critical care unit, not a hotel.
We take good earplugs in case of noise, as well as a couple cans of 2 ounce pepper spray in case someone tries to get smart with us. And because the TSA won’t allow it, our first stop in the city is always at a Walgreens to buy a pair of toenail clippers so we can stab any bath-salts-snorting nut case who tries to get aggressive with us.
We are about to head out to that other coast soon, but this time, the rules have changed, because Other Bill’s employer is paying for his flight and 3 days of lodging while he attends a seminar there. This will enable us to get the host hotel’s group rate, which is still about double what we’re used to paying, but what the hell.
This hotel, according to its website, is a four-diamond hotel. I don’t know what that means. Four on a scale of how many diamonds? And are diamonds the same thing as stars? The hotels we normally stay in are measured in turds, and the fewer the turds, the better the ambiance of the joint. I’m not sure how many turds are on the scale, but I would say for the most part, we’ve stayed mostly at below five turd joints, assuming the turd scale apex is 10.
You may ask why we stay in such dumps. Why do we lodge in places with shared bathrooms? Why are our inns of choice walk-ups and non-ADA compliant? Why are their vertical transport units called elevators when they are really dumbwaiters? The theory is, and I’m sticking to this, is that if you’re staying in a nice place, why would you want to leave the room? Why would I pack anything other than clean underwear? I suspect that after we return from this luxury trip, friends might ask, “So what did you do in San Francisco?”
And our answer will be, “Stayed in bed and ordered from room service for 9 days.” Why would we force ourselves to get dressed and go sit in a chair at the Top of the Mark and eat a meal when we could call someone could bring us burgers while we watch That Girl reruns in our underwear in bed. Not that we would ever eat at Top of the Mark, mind you.
In 20 years, I can’t remember paying to stay in a hotel that had room service. The only thing delivered to our regular room is a virus brought up by a cockroach. Here’s your Ebola, sir; can I give you anything else?
So this trip we are going to be upscale cultural tourists, peons swimming in a sea of the well-to-do. I’ll send you a postcard to report on the progress, provided a waiter can bring me one up from the lobby. And later drop it in the mail.
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