Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bed and Benevolence

All things being circular, I seem to be straying away from anonymous hotel rooms where nobody knows you, fewer people care and you generally don't get hauled to the sheriff's office if you get caught dancing to Motley Crue in your underwear in the parking lot with a woman named Mia.

Not that that's ever happened in exactly that order but you know the kind of places I mean; they answer the phone with a service mark sentence instead of hello and are just as happy to hand you back your Amex card and process your charges even though the magnetic strip on the back of the thing has been colored in black indelible marker 'cause you kind of put in one too many drink orders at the Foxy Lady.

"Hi and its a great day at the place not named after one of us who also happens to be the capitol of France!" Code for; "Get me out of this place, I was hoping to be a full time events planner by now!"

I've gotten back to the rustic charm and twentieth century simplicity of the bed and breakfast. Somewhere I haven't been since the Reagan years.

We used to be afficionados of these quaint little country hideaways with their charming, personable hosts who usually have more quirks, hangups and skeletons in their closets than people named Hannibal. Then you've got to figure the buildings they house you in themselves where you plug your electric razor in and Poughkeepsie goes dark for a few hours. Not that there are blatant code violations here but the liquor picturesquely kept on the eighteenth century sideboard is almost always gone with the fire inspector's annual visit. I've pelvic thrusted sinks because I completed the circuit on errantly wired but charming nonetheless bathroom light fixtures. Folks I have known have hailed rural fire companies with their ham-fisted efforts at lighting the perfect romantic fire. Hint: Ball up the newspaper, don't lay it out as a sheet atop the kindling or it will, as it did, majestically sail up the flue like heaven's spinnaker and plug the flue like one of Uncle Arthur's mammoth turds.

I'm glad to say that I got smart and stuck to gas fireplaces for my suggestive blazes but, alas, between turning on the nozzles and finding the damn jets with the extra long match, I pretty much almost fried my eyebrows off in the accumulated propane.

Probably the worst part about bed and breakfast's, aside from owner-innkeeper types who really should successfully finish couple's therapy before they trot their disfunctional relationship out for the general public, are the bathroom facilities. And the aforementioned Sparky Housecurrent episode aside, I'd rather have plates of eggs slam dunked at my table by the Missus while the man of the house drunkenly opines about the rednecks in town than face another 1903 water closet retrofit.

These are rooms with enough porcelain to outfit most morgues and water temperatures to match. Hot water is a myth, room temperature is a prayer. We once stayed in a place in Quebec where, as a nod to perfect bilingualism, taps ran both Cold and Chaud. What's more, the plumbing looks like it was designed as a Cyclops maze during one of the more spastic fits of Victorian design. I ran across something like this last weekend. A World War Two era U-boat could have been prepped to dive before I figured out how to get the suggestion of hot water out of the faucet. The plumbing was so foreign it reminded me of staying with a buddy who never got around to fixing his shower and as such getting clean meant plugging the bath faucet with a whittled champagne cork and a cat's cradle of rubber bands. He was lazy, these folks at the inn meant it.

Once you did cajole water out of the pipes, the stuff was so high in iron, that your ankles began to rust. I drank a glass of tap and some must have gotten into my fillings 'cause I had BBC Caribbean service playing between molars most of the night.

Things have a funny way of overlapping though and, as I'm back from my journey to a place where folks think a transom is just as good as a 12000 BTU air conditioner, my good sister is resting her head in a charming little cabin somewhere in upstate New York where the mosquitos have more nose art than the Enola Gay and breakfast comes with a tranfusion of O negative.

Ah the dog days.

Bunny on.


Blogger rainforest said...


I'm trying to build a blog roll for other blogs made by bed and breakfast owners. Can you suggest any?


10:18 AM  

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