The Sounds of Travel

1 11 2010

I was traveling the past couple weeks and was unable to add any new posts. As it turns out this was due to my own E-ignorance rather than some type of equipment or software failure. Looks like I got it going again and now have a small backlog of posts I will be adding so stay tuned. Here is the newest installment.

The Sounds of Travel

Don’t let the title of this piece fool you. I’m not talking about the sound of the traffic as it whizzes past while taking a break at the rest stop. Nor am I referring to the sounds of the engines as the pilot begins the take-off run; or trains clacking down the rails. No, I’m talking about your next door neighbor in the hotel where you stay.

As I write this, and really it was my inspiration for the idea, I am sitting in the Music City Sheraton in Nashville, Tennessee. I haven’t met him, or even laid eyes on him; but, I can tell the man next door, who has just gotten out of bed, has a head full of snot. I know this by the symphony of sounds reverberating through the vent in my own bathroom. Apparently, we share a common vent because I don’t think I’m missing too many sounds. Every snort, hack, cough, and wheeze is coming through loud and clear. There he goes again…blowing his nose. Uh, wait a minute… that was not his nose. Apparently, his head isn’t the only thing he needs to clear out.

I am a frequent traveler so this is not the first time I have encountered the adventure of the sounds next door. I must say, however, his sounds, the sounds of a man trying desperately to clear his sinuses, among other things, are rather boring compared to some I have experienced over the years.

I Hope They’re Married! 

I was at a Hampton Inn in Anniston, Alabama about two years ago. I enjoy staying at Hampton Inn, but this particular hotel was an old facility which I later learned had been a Holiday Inn before Hilton bought it. Before that it was a Ramada (at the bottom of my list of places to stay) and before that, who knows? But it’s been around a while.

You can judge the age of a hotel by the doors. The doors in this location were thin and hollow-a sign of cheap construction, probably from the sixties. Further, this was an adjoining room and the door which separated my room from the one next door was about 2 inches above the floor. TWO INCHES! With today’s technology you can slide a camera through a two-inch opening. I could have gotten video to go along with the sound, and it was interesting sound!

Earlier that evening, a man and woman checked into this room next door. I was working at the desk in my room while watching a John Wayne movie. Suddenly, I began hearing sounds which did not match the action on my television. I could very clearly, and distinctly, make out the sounds of this couple next door getting very physical in a friendly sort of way. The sound quality was outstanding…must have been in Dolby because it was if I was right there with them sitting on the side of the bed. I had to check my bill closely when I checked out to make sure the hotel had not tacked on an entertainment charge. Oh, don’t tell me you wouldn’t listen!

 Noisy Neighbors in Missouri

Then there was the time I was asked to participate in a conference in Missouri.  The facility was not a chain hotel but instead was more like a resort out in the middle of nowhere. Again, there was a large opening at the bottom of the door.

I never was able to determine who my next door neighbor was because there were always so many people in the room. At about midnight this group returned to the room after an evening of revelry and merriment. At least some of them were heavy smokers because cigarette smoke began billowing under the door into my room. Already awakened by the noise, now I was having to endure the smoke. I called the front desk and they said as long as the guests next door to me weren’t being overly noisy there was nothing they could do. They weren’t going to anger paying customers by telling them they couldn’t smoke in a dedicated smoking room.

I wet some towels and threw them at the bottom of the door to stop the smoke. That was somewhat effective but it didn’t help much with the chatter. Realizing I probably wouldn’t get much sleep until they left, went to sleep or died, I began to pay attention to the conversation. I finally decided they must be playing checkers in that room because I heard one female say something like, “you make one more move like that and I’ll crown you!”

They finally settled down and I was able to get back to sleep.

 The Tennessee Mouse-Catcher

But one sound was a sound I was enjoying-even found it to be quite humorous. I was at a Holiday Inn in Dyersburg, Tennessee. Back then, the Holiday in was the best place in town. I was sitting on the bed watching television when I saw a mouse scoot across the room and into the bathroom. I jumped up and gave chase and shut the bathroom door. I then called the front desk and told the desk clerk, a young man about 21 years old, I had no intention of sharing my room with anyone, especially a rodent.

In a minute or two the young desk clerk was knocking on my door. I opened the door to see him standing there holding a broom in one hand and a waste basket in the other.

“Ya say ya got a rat? Where is he”?

I told him I had him shut up in the bathroom. So, this young man went into the bathroom and closed the door behind him. For about two or three minutes I heard this banging sound coming from the bathroom. It sounded like Whoopi Goldberg and Rush Limbaugh tied together and discussing hope and change! Finally, things grew silent and the door opened.

The young man came out with his prize in the waste basket.

“He run frum me but I got ‘em”, he said with pride. You would have thought he had just won the Olympic gold medal in mouse catching.

With that, he left-mouse in the waste basket -and I had a good night’s sleep.

So, the next time you stay in a hotel, remember-someone may be listening. The sounds of travel can be entertaining. I could write a book!




One response

1 11 2010
Jackie Garner

Bil,l you have such a great way of looking at life and what it hands you.Thanks for sharing. I just love your outlook on things.
Thanks for the fun,

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