Mike Buzzelli

No tell hotel

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I went away last weekend to Maryland. It was just an overnight visit, but I still managed to get into some column-worthy shenanigans.


I think of myself as a thoroughly modern man. I have a laptop, an iPhone and a car from this century. I can’t seem to figure out hotel key cards. What happened to keys? Why were keys so horrible that we have these infernal cards?


After I was out wandering around, I went back to my room. I swiped the key in the slot and the light never went from red to green. I tried eight times. I had to go to the front desk and get a new card. They claimed I kept the card too close to the magnetic strips in my wallet. They don’t tell you not to put the key card in your wallet. They don’t say, “Keep the card away from your cellphone, your credit cards, your other keys or anything on your body. Hold it out in front of your body as far as you can, like you’re taking a selfie.”


Inside the room, I can’t find the lights. There’s a little lamp by the bed that gives off about five watts. The other one, directly over my head, must have been used for interrogations. It was very, very bright. It was the kind of light aliens shine on you before they beam you into the mother ship. When I lay my head on the seven thousand pillows, the light shone right in my eyes.


I couldn’t figure out the shower. Hotel showers are a mystery to me. One time, in Seville, Spain, I got drunk on cava while swimming in the hotel pool. I went back to my room and couldn’t find the light switch in the bathroom. I called the front desk and realized that I didn’t speak Spanish. I took a shower in the dark, laughing. In Maryland last weekend, I nearly scalded flesh from my body because the off-switch was the same direction as lava hot.


I’ve been in plenty of hotels. You’d think I’d be used to waking up in strange rooms. In the middle of the night, I had to find the bathroom in the dark. It’s always a suicide mission. On the way there, at 5 a.m., I stepped on a piece of paper. Someone managed to slip the bill under the door, and it slid halfway across the entryway, right in front of the bathroom. It scared me. First, it crunched under my foot. Then, I couldn’t figure out how it got there without me noticing it. I thought the manager broke in and placed it there.


The next morning when I woke up, after my skin-searing shower, I went to put on my underwear. I remembered putting four pair of underwear in the suitcase and saying, “That’s ridiculous. I’m only going away for one night.” I took the four pair out of the suitcase. I didn’t leave any. Yes. I had to wear the same pair of underwear two days in a row like a hobo. At least I was clean. Scalded but clean.


If you’re going away this weekend, heed my warning: Beware the hotel room! They’re designed to remind you to go back home.


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