Better a Bottle In Front of Me Than a Frontal Lobotomy
Or Why I Hate Bed & Breakfasts
In the last episode, our termite-infested house was covered with a giant circus-like yellow tent, and the fumigators were prepared to pump in Vikane, a deadly poison gas.
"A real man doesn't leave his home; a captain never abandons his ship; a shepherd doesn't desert his flock; a king always..."
"Enough, enough already," my wife sputtered. "The poison gas kills every form of life in seconds. Not even a termite could survive." (How quickly she forgot the purpose of the fumigation.)
"What about those gas masks I've ordered from the Whole Earth Catalog?" I asked smugly.
"That has to be the most ridiculous thing you've ever done, particularly the special order gas masks for the cats. Anyway, I made reservations at the bed and breakfast for four days."
"Bed and breakfast? I'll need more than a gas mask to survive that. Cancel the B&B, and book Motel Six."
"None of the hotels takes pets, you know that."
"Well, send the cats to the B&B," I said sarcastically.
A friend, widely known for his prudence in not spending money, presents a strong case for the bed and breakfast concept.
"In most instances," he says, "the B&B is cheaper than a hotel. Also, you're not just a customer passing through. At the B&B you are a guest, and after you've been there awhile, you're part of the family."
Part of the family? I've got enough trouble with my own family, particularly some marginal folks on my wife's side. The one thing I don't need is a new family. As far as being somebody's houseguest, I prefer being a customer. At the Ritz Carlton, it's always clean and nobody gives a damn who I am."
I had never set foot in a B&B, so it was with trepidation that we entered "Mi Casa Es Su Casa," one of the better known B&Bs in our area. I couldn't stop thinking how much the man behind the desk looked like Norman Bates, particularly since he was wearing a dress that was clearly his mother's.
"Welcome," he said, embracing me. "Remember, you're part of our family. There's no smoking, no roller skating, no surfing, no phone calls, no faxes, no computers, and no paleo-libertarians."
How could he possibly have known that I was an inveterate roller skater?
"This key is for the front door," he continued, "this one for one of the side door, this one for the basement, and this whistle, only heard by dogs, will alert Killer, the German Shepherd, that you are family and not to be attacked.
"Breakfast is served between 7 a.m. and 7:15, and if you miss it, you lose points."
"Yes, points. And we will have to check out your blood alcohol levels. By the way, if you are caught with a bottle of booze, you face the death penalty."
"Death penalty? Why not just take away points?"
"There's no point in that." (Collapsing in mirth at his joke).
"You're assigned to room 3, the one with the orange door.We call it 'old Yosemite." The air conditioner and the heater are on all the time. We just let them fight it out."
(He didn't really say that, I made it up.)
As we entered room 3, it was clear they had made an error as an elderly couple was in the bed.
"Welcome," the old codger said. "I am Elijah and this is Sarah, and we're your family. We're warming up the bed for you, and I can tell you that we like you already. Right, Sarah?"
"This is absurd. You folks are going to have to leave and get your own room.
"We already have a room. We're in 2. The one with the blue door they call, 'Donner's Pass'."
"Well, what are you doing here?"
Elijah smiled and said, "I told you, we're family, and we're earning points."
Our cats, being much more family-oriented, took to Elijah and Sarah and joined them in the bed.
I don't know how much I slept that first night, but my new family was remarkably energetic given that their average age was 75. I once thought I heard roller-skating up and down the corridor outside my door and I was tempted to join them, but then I remembered Rule 9.
At six a.m. I decided that Starbucks was the most important place in the world. Ladened with a caddy brimming with steaming coffee and bear claws, I attempted to enter my family home, unnoticed, through the side door, but was caught and surrounded by hostile people. My family had turned surly.
"No food from the outside, Rule 8. You lose three points and the food", said cousin Julius.
At four a.m. the following morning we were packing and planning our escape.
"But we can't go back into the house yet. The poison gas needs another day to dissipate," said my wife.
"Well," I said, "what are the chances we'll survive there?"
"Sounds like pretty good odds to me."
March 10, 2001
© 2001 LewRockwell.com