I Want A Vacation!
I didn’t have a summer vacation this year. It never happened. I won’t blame anything or anyone. Laying blame is a loser’s game. Still, I was restless, and I needed to get away to a place where I could find some relaxation – which isn’t always easy for me.
When my wife suggested that we take a weekend drive to the shore, I immediately agreed, even though I knew the risks. A short trip would be tiring; plus when my OCD kicked in big-time, I would most likely be annoyingly pesty while I planned all the details of an impromptu mini-vacation. But it would all be worth it for some desperately-needed time in the sun.
I told myself to pack light, keep it simple, and go with the flow of events (my latest mantra). But sometimes even mantras grow weak when you forget what they mean. Luckily, I was able to stick to my new credo, packing only enough for a small safari. Our two-day excursion to a sunny climate was underway.
As we headed out early the first morning, clouds greeted us. Soon these clouds turned to sprinkles, and then to a steady rain, which increased the closer we got to our destination.We arrived at our hotel just in time to hear claps of thunder in the distance and see a flood warning sign flicker across our television. Our fun weekend had begun.
The Dangers of an Idle Mind
Since it was obvious that I would have a little time to kill, I commenced my trusty room inspection procedure, as I normally did when my mind was unoccupied. Always a bit uneasy in new surroundings, I scoured my hotel room for safety hazards and health risks, which are usually plentiful. Here are a few of the things I do to avoid certain death on fun holiday trips:
How to Stay Alive When the World is Against You
1. The TV Remote: The TV remote has been scientifically-proven to be the single most germ-laden object in your hotel room. This is primarily because no one ever cleans it. Tests show that a remote can contain up to 950 million parts per billion of disease-carrying pathogens. I would suggest that you avoid the remote at all costs unless you have ant-bacterial wipes or spray, or can operate it with your toes. Better yet: get someone else to change the channel and avoid a trip to the hospital. Works for me.
2. Smoke/Flame Detectors: Every hotel room should have at least one of these devices, which are designed to warn you when a blaze is imminent. This warning usually comes in the form of a shrill whistle or beeping sound, accompanied by a steady stream of water. In the past, I used to test them out to see if they were in working condition, which usually resulted in me getting wet – and kicked out of the hotel. So, I am leaving the decision as to what to do in your hands.
3. The Fact Packet: Your hotel room should come with a waterproof booklet made of flame-retardant material containing information about what to do in the event of an inevitable emergency.The name, location, and phone number of the nearest hospital should be prominently listed near the front of the packet. Also look for the poison control number, and the listing for the local loony bin, in case they come for you. This way, your family will know where to send cards and flowers during your stay.
Do not worry about what to wear. Clothing will be provided.
4. Emergency Evacuation Map: Your room should have a map with an evacuation route prominently displayed upon your door. This map tells you how to get out when your room is on fire. It also tells you that you should kneel down and crawl out so as to remain below the smoke that is now engulfing the premises. But since the map is at eye level, it is rendered useless. If you are lucky, your fact packet will also contain this map, so grab that instead and read it as you make your escape.
5. Bathroom “Musts”: Just as your home bathroom is a deathtrap waiting to strike, your hotel bathroom is even worse, since it is unfamiliar to you. As you perform your inspection of your hotel facilities, you should check for: extra toilet paper (below left) in case of inevitable digestive duress, plenty of towels to smother small fires and/or protect your head while crawling out of your room, and of course, running water. Avoid such hazards as: hair dryers in the sink (below middle) and the electric light timer (below right), which always shuts off when you are in the shower, leaving you naked, disoriented, and prone to exit into the hallway, leading to possible arrest.
6. Properly Functioning Beds: While not particularly essential to hotel room safety, a proper bed can help soothe an otherwise uncomfortable experience. Beds (below left)should have a top sheet, blanket and a thin comforter for layering comfort, as opposed to just a top sheet and six-inch thick comforter.The only way to use something that thick is to set the room temperature to “arctic.” This wastes energy. Pillows should be plentiful, large, and of varying hardness so one can have a choice. A series of tiny “chicklette” pillows (below middle) leads to stacking – and subsequent neck strain. Also included for bedside comfort should be a spare pail (below right)to be placed alongside the bed for unmentionable emergencies.
7. Other Room Odds & Ends:When checking your room, there are a few more things which you might want to check, especially if you are like me – always worried and never comfortable. Your room should have windows (below left) that are locked and curtains that can cover them so no one can see in. (This includes airplanes that fly by because you never know). Hopefully, your room will have pleasant, relaxing pictures on the wall, conducive to a good night’s sleep, and not hideous snapshots from a horror movie (below right).
Lastly, when watching TV, try to find a program that interests you: a pleasant show to calm your frazzled nerves and help you stay relaxed. (below left). Avoid the news, and any show with big, scary heads (below right)unless you feel like spending the whole vacation without sleep.
So, how did I do on my mini-vacation? Well, that’s a whole different story!