Day two of the great far-flung adventure comes to a close. I’ve just returned to the hotel room after eating dinner in the restaurant next door. There’s something nice about knowing all meals are covered by expenses, even if it will be a few weeks before I see the money again.
The girl that took over table service while I was there drew a smiley face on my receipt. I smiled, and didn’t know what to say. I imagine she draws them on all the receipts. This is where all the girls reading this roll their eyes, and call me an idiot for having no clue I was being hit on. It wouldn’t be the first time.
The room in uncanny in it’s similarity to every other hotel I have stayed at in this chain. Unless I walk outside, I could be in Preston, Leeds, Birmingham, Gloucester… it really doesn’t matter – they are all identical. The latest trend seems to be automated checkin systems – with a machine that guides you through the process, and spits out a door card when it’s finished. Only I have never got to use the machine myself, because a pretty girl has pounced on me every time, and done everything for me in the most cheerful manner imaginable.
Last night I interrupted her canned conversation.
“I bet you get really sick of doing this, don’t you”
Suddenly her face fell – not unlike the Barbie Dolls in the end credits of Toy Story.
“You have no idea! I have dreams about checking customers in and out of this place”
She was about 19 years old, and very pretty. Her winged eyeliner was immaculate, and she had nail varnish my eldest daughter would have talked about all night. I only noticed because her nails tapped against the glass of the touch-screen while we chatted about the ever-present threat of hotel inspectors.
“What? You mean like mystery guests that are watching your every move?”
“Oh crap – imagine doing THAT for a living?! – sneaking around, judging people”
“I know, right!”
We both laughed, and I thanked her as she handed me the room key-card and receipts.
“You’re not a hotel inspector, are you?”
“No. No, I’m not.”
My only other interractions with staff have been with the waiting staff in the restaurant next door. Apart from the pretty blonde girl that drew the smiley face, I’ve also been served by a gangly guy in his early twenties that walked around the place at quite some speed – with a gait not unlike that of Eric Idle’s lepper in “Life of Brian”. He called me “Buddy” about twenty times, and talked me into getting a loyalty card to book my work-financed meals against.
As I left last night he commented that I had chosen the best pudding on the menu. I forget it’s name, but it was essentially a slab of chocolate fudge cake that would probably require a wheelbarrow to move around the kitchen. I nearly needed the wheelbarrow to get me back out of the restaurant after eating it.
So here I am again. Sitting at the desk in the room, wondering what to do with myself for the remainder of the evening, and trying not to think about work. If you suddenly see a raft of comments, likes, or a new follow from me, at least now you’ll know why.