The People In 419


The people in room 419 have been here for nearly six months. Unfortunately, they had a house fire that destroyed everything. I don’t have details about the cause of the fire. I have no real interest in knowing. There are three adults, and a seven month old in there right now. Until recently, there were four adults in the room; one being the boyfriend of the 19-year-old young woman, and mother of the 7-month-old, and the father of the seven month old. I have no clue where he has been for the last two months, but I never see him anymore. The other two residents in that room are the aunt and uncle of the 19-year-old.

On their first day living here, they taped the do not disturb sign on their door, and requested no room service. They decided to clean their own room, and take care of their own garbage. It took about two weeks before people started noticing the odor seeping from the gap at the bottom of their door. I noticed it too. When I have to put bills under the door next to theirs, I get a whiff of bad body odor, and farts. I have always made comments about there being poor air circulation in those rooms. If there is a smell of any time in any room, it will escape into the hallway, and spread out.

Every night, they ask me for a few extra towels and some toilet paper. To the best of my knowledge, they call the desk during the day to request clean sheets. My assumption is that they leave the dirty sheets outside their door. Dirty is too mild a description. I should say filthy sheets. According to the housekeepers, they have only asked for clean sheets about once, or twice a month. When they move through the hallways, and lobby, you can make a pretty good guess for how long ago one of them were their. A truly sensitive sniffer might even be capable of knowing exactly how many of them were present. Is it a complete lack of hygiene that is causing the odor, or is it simply something that clings to them as a result of being enclosed in such a filthy, smelly room with no air circulation? The answer is probably both, but why ask for towels every night? Is it to create the impression that they shower? Maybe they are just collecting towels for their new house. They leave in a week.

I have had to stand in front of Doug and listen to him go on and on about the band Genesis. I like Genesis, but I only know their radio hits. Otherwise, I know very little about them. Doug seems to think I share an equal amount of knowledge about them as he does. I can’t say I learned anything new about Genesis from him, because I stop listening to him after the first five minutes. Either I am very good at pretending to listen, or he doesn’t care, as long as there is a person for him to speak to. He farts when he gets excited. He also farts when he sits in the lobby to watch television. He pretty much farts every 20 minutes or so. Now I understand why he always needs so much toilet paper.

Two nights ago, Wendy, Doug’s wife, walked through the lobby pushing a luggage cart with yard-waste sized bags of garbage piled up to the bar going across the top of the cart. They were full bags. I didn’t say a word. I stood there watching her push the cart past me, and I probably looked a bit surprised. She said… “If you think this is a-lot, I bet there will be about ten cart-loads just like this, when we check out. Don’t worry. We will take care of our own garbage.”

We are going to have to take that room out-of-service, and probably replace all of the furniture in there. There is no amount of deep cleaning that will convince me to touch anything in 419 unless I know it was all replaced first. Or burned. Is there such a thing as controlled demolition of just one single hotel room? I don’t mean with sledge hammers, I am talking explosives, and a controlled burn.

Doug has had marks all over his arm that resemble bedbug bites. They seem to be clearing up, but I can say that I’m glad that the front of the desk is so tall. It creates a nice divider wall between us, and when he leaves, I can easily sanitize the desktop once he walks away.

I cringe every time I watch him and his family sit on the brand new lobby furniture. They let the baby play with a fake flower that has glitter all over it. Some of that glitter is now all over the cushions. The assistant manager sat on one of those cushions afterwords. Now I call him Princess Sparkle-bottom. He doesn’t think it’s funny, but the rest of the staff does. I considered calling him tinsel-tush.

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