I’m pretty much a small-town Southern girl. More than three cars waiting at a stop light says “traffic jam” to me. The biggest building I can see from my front porch is the three-story county courthouse on the square a couple of blocks away. Also: I’m lazy and do not like housework. If we even have clean towels in our bathrooms at home, I consider that quite an accomplishment. But at the same time, I love visiting Big Cities and staying in nice hotels. For a change of pace, you know. And for endless clean towels. So when those clean towels come origami-fied as a pair of swans, it’s lagniappe. I mean, is this something I should consider doing at home? And where did this idea come from? Did somebody sitting around a corporate hotel-chain table suddenly jump up and say, “Swans! We must have swans!”? Or is it a subversive effort from the housekeeping staff? Or maybe towel swans are The Latest Thing in hotels and I’ve missed it until now. At least it’s nice to have a cityscape balcony view to gaze at reflectively while you contemplate weighty swan-towel issues.
When it comes to travel, my husband and I are pretty laidback people. It takes a lot to rattle us. And by “us” I actually mean “my husband,” who traveled all over the world in his former job as a sportswriter and handles just about any glitch with style and grace. And even though to me “roughing it” means having to make do with generic brewed coffee at the breakfast buffet and “adventure vacation” means choosing between the pool and the beach (as in “sitting and reading at”), I’m not that demanding. Really, I’m not, despite the evidence of us going through three rooms in one night during a recent trip. But none of them were my fault. The first one had plumbing problems, so before we could even unpack I stayed in the room while he went to the front desk to get another one. It took him several minutes, though — because the second room we were given unaccountably had people already in it. So back he went to the front desk for the third time and we finally got a room with working plumbing and nobody else in it. Except the spider my husband found in the bed while I was brushing my teeth — and didn’t tell me about until the next day when we were back on the road. “It was a little one, though,” he said, “and if I’d found another one we would have gotten another room. I just really hated to go back to the desk a fourth time.” I secretly think even a second spider wouldn’t have done it — a third one, maybe.
This is why people say they’d like to live in a hotel (any by “people,” I mean “me”) — soft lighting, lush furnishings, hushed voices and nary a speck of dust or piece of cat hair anywhere. Sigh. Dear Husband and I were at the Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, this past week for a couple nights and I just wanted to take it home with me. The whole thing. I mean, who doesn’t love a bathroom with perfectly stacked thick white towels and a countertop free of spilled makeup and yesterday’s coffee cups? There’s something so simple and elegant and inviting about a bathroom you didn’t clean yourself.