AUTHOR’S NOTE: I had something else planned for today, but once again Fate has thrown a monkey-wrench into the works. The post you are about to read originally appeared on the NiagaraHub site on May 8 and apparently it has ignited a firestorm of controversy.
I love people. They won’t vote, but they’re always ready to jump up and tap away at that keyboard, damning the work of a hardworking bellman/writer trying to make his way in a cold, cold world.
At any rate, here is the original post, feel free to click over to the Hub and read some of the comments. Apparently they also received a few phone calls from a certain segment of the population who want my head on a stick. Let me know what you think, folks, please!
Old Man Winter’s frigid grip has finally loosened and we’re free of his icy prison for another year. (Don’t get the wrong idea: I don’t hate winter as much as I hate the snow, the cold and the lack of daylight.)
But here’s the good news: with the warmer temperatures comes the desire to indulge Man’s greatest instinct – and I’m not referring to painting oneself wild colors and screaming at referees – but rather, travel. The longing to explore strange new worlds and civilizations actually predates Bill Shatner’s voice overs and has helped define our role as the dominant species on this mudball.
Simply put, travel is in our blood.
So as you tranquilize the rugrats, overload the minivan and download routes into your GPS (Sometimes I actually miss maps you could never refold or understand. Remember them?), bear something in mind: if you’re not willing to have fun while traveling, you’re better off staying home and punishing yourself in a less painful manner. Like watching Here Comes Honey Boo Boo reruns, for example.
But if you’re willing to truly commit yourself and give this travel thing a whirl, here is a little guide to spotting and identifying some of the colorful creatures you’re sure to see along the way.
1) THE EXPERT: This one’s easy. This is the guy or gal you’ll most likely come across in the parking garage or valet deck of your hotel. They’ll be doling out unwanted advice to a bellman or their spouse on packing or unpacking their vehicle. For that matter, they’ll be dishing out tips on every single facet of the travel experience to anyone who will listen.
- Dining companions will be enlightened about the many flaws of the restaurant, the servers and of course, the food.
- Anyone in earshot will hear about how inefficient the check-in experience is and how it can be fixed in one easy step.
- The housekeepers are sloppy.
- The valet drivers are reckless.
- The fun never starts.
2) THE TRAVELING HOOKER: They prefer to be referred to as “escorts” or “paid companions” nowadays, but they’ll always be hookers to me. They may be a little more difficult to spot for some but just look for these telltale signs.
- Their “friend” – to be precise, his name is John – is always waaay out of his league.
- Watch for a few moments and you’ll see her develop a look of quiet desperation whenever he isn’t looking, which is often, as they rarely make eye contact. (That’s her mind coming to grips with what her hands have to come to grips with to make a living.)
- She may be traveling with a colleague. Some guys like to really push themselves and stock up on the hookers – and if they’re smart, the vitamins – while traveling.
If you feel your skills are polished enough, try looking for the Traveling Hooker with the female client. (Yes, they’re actually out there.) The female clients are also out of their weight class, but the difference lies in the eyes of their companions; hookers that cater to lesbians don’t seem so jaded and desperate for some reason. Although they do tend to have a distinctive way of walking…
3) THE UFC COUPLE: As in “Unlimited Fighting Couple”, as in that couple everyone knows that seem to fight everywhere they go. They’re easy to spot: they’re the people who make everyone around them cringe and think “Maybe my relationship isn’t so bad – and we’ve exchanged gunfire!”
- The bicker about who is going to park and who is going to check-in.
- They bicker about the results of their respective tasks.
- In hushed tones and close
talking, screaming, they bicker at dinner.
- And of course, they bicker at night, when the noises from their room should be carnal in nature.
Speaking of which, next up…
4) THE AMATEUR ADULT FILM STAR COUPLE: Needless to say, the noises emanating from their room – and the public hot tub, the elevator, the roof and even the maintenance shop – are definitely carnal in nature and make an HBO program look like something you’d find on PBS! Another interesting fact about these two animals: 99% of the time they’re unmarried or newlyweds…
5) THE PACK OF COUGARS: Soccer moms or even grandmas during the week, older versions of any female you’d see on MTV on the weekend. Cougars are deadly enough individually, but in a pack they have been known to lay waste to entire hotels in a single weekend. You can always spot a cougar by the tight vintage clothing, the excessive make-up/Botox, and the low growling and excessive drool.
Fun Fact: In North America, a bellman/bartender/hotel employee is mauled by a cougar every fifteen minutes. That time is reduced by half in the summer. Survivors all say the same thing when questioned by authorities: “They all looked like my mom’s friends from her book club. I feel so… unclean.”
6) THE WILD CHILD: To be clear, I am referring to that one ridiculously loud child who is literally bouncing off the walls of the lobby. (I guarantee the kid had two Red Bulls before noon.) The Wild Child’s progenitors are parents in name only, and allow their larvae to run amok rather than undertaking the all-too difficult task of actually providing the guidance and friendship necessary to produce a productive, civilized member of society.
This rugrat on acid will test your resolve, but stay strong, friends. Sooner or later the Wild Child will grow up to be a Walmart manager and fate will have exacted revenge on your behalf.
7) THE HARDCORE GAMBLER: There are a few things to look for when scoping out a hotel lobby in search of this individual.
- His attire is several years out of date and dirty. (Money is for gambling, not clothes shopping!)
- His hair is messy.
- His eyes are bloodshot.
- Naturally, his bling is plentiful and has most likely been pawned several times.
There are high-end Hardcore Gamblers, but they are a mutant offshoot of the species and rarely emerge from casinos as the harsh light of day has been known to blind them permanently.
One last item of note concerning the Hardcore Gambler: found primarily in areas with organized gambling dens nearby, this individual is prone to mood swings that have been known to become violent. When he’s on a roll, he’s the life of the party, the kind of guy everyone loves. When Lady Luck is not smiling favorably upon him, your best bet is to run for cover.
8) THE SWAMP DONKEY: Admittedly, I am not a big fan of the term, which originated in fraternities and bars across North America, but in some cases it certainly applies, hence its inclusion here. Swamp Donkeys are similar to Cougars in that they both prefer to travel in packs. However, there are a few distinctions.
- They are younger, certainly, but also their nubile forms have yet to display the ravages of alcohol, tobacco or recreational drug use.
- “Personal massage devices” can be found in the luggage of most Swamp Donkeys. (To clarify, these devices have a hair trigger and seem to activate as soon as their owner enters a hotel. Cougars prefer to hunt for live, human conquests.)
9) BACHELOR/BACHELORETTE PARTIES: If you have children – or self-respect – avoid these individuals at all costs. They are out to do some serious damage before embarking on a lifetime (5 to 10 years, max) of matrimonial happiness. And that’s all I have to say about that – for now.
10) THE HAPPY, WELL-ADJUSTED FAMILY: As far as I’m concerned, they’re an urban myth. Period.
In closing, bear in mind this guide has barely scratched the grimy sticky surface of the modern hospitality industry. I’ll be publishing further installments in the future. Assuming I survive the season, that is.
Enjoy life on the open road, folks.