A week ago, I got to travel during the Midwest’s “Snowmaggedon” and it was quite a treat. It started with the majority of flights out of St. Louis-Lambert Airport being cancelled due to snow and ice. But that was actually the most pleasant part of the traveling experience.
On the plane, a coworker and I had the privilege to sit next to a guy who was rocking out to what we assumed were some really intense tunes on his iPod. He was humming and convulsing with his whole body, tapping the tray table and strumming his imaginary guitar. The whole row of seats was vibrating from his jam session. We figured he must be a Metallica fan, but when he turned up the volume, we realized he was actually listening to The Jackson 5’s ABC. Hardcore, dude. Later, he rocked out to some Taylor Swift. No lie.
I was relieved when the flight attendant told him to turn his iPod off during our approach to Atlanta. Finally, some peace and quiet. But my relief was short-lived. He spent the entire approach and landing whistling. I don’t know about you, but I cannot think of anything more annoying than a guy who whistles in public. You might be entertaining yourself, but trust me, everyone around you wants to punch you square in the teeth to inhibit future whistling capabilities.
We arrived at our hotel, the Sheraton Suites Galleria-Atlanta and checked in. As I approached my room, I started to smell something. Now, I have always had a very keen sense of smell. I can usually detect flatulence before anyone else, leaving me vulnerable to the unfair accusation of “whoever smelt it dealt it” throughout my life.
But this, the smell in the hallway of the Sheraton, was awful. When I entered my room, it was just as bad. It was vaguely reminiscent of rotten yogurt mixed with steamed broccoli and left to sit in a hot car. Or a trailer home meth lab with a bathtub full of road kill. Whatever it was, it was bad.
Later that night, when the smell was still as strong as ever, I called the front desk to send someone with deodorizer. When the guy arrived, he said he couldn’t smell anything, so he followed me as I wandered around trying to determine the source myself. When I opened the door to the stairwell adjacent to my room, the smell hit me in the face like a sack of mildewed dishrags soaked in cat vomit.
“Now I smell it!” he exclaimed!
“Yeah, it is definitely coming from this stairwell. You think it’s a gas leak or some bacteria-infested water sitting somewhere?” I asked.
“It might be that someone let their dog use the stairwell as a bathroom,” he explained matter-of-factly, as though this was a common occurrence.
Dog shit? Really? Dog shit. I’m sleeping in a room adjacent to dog shit.
I pondered that for a while and wondered whether there was any room left at the seedy hourly motel I saw on the way from the airport to the Sheraton. I started to weigh the pros and cons of risking sleeping on a bed full of crabs and hypodermic needles, versus sleeping adjacent to dog feces.
I chose the feces.