Thursday, August 12, 2010


On a recent business trip I had an unusual encounter with the staff at a hotel that shall remain unnamed. The morning of the incident, I woke up early to get ready for my day. I hopped into the shower and busied myself with my usual agenda. Soap up head to toe, then rinse. Shampoo hair, then rinse. Condition, then rinse. Repeat. (I actually don't repeat.) Somewhere in the middle of cleansing my filthy body I heard a knock on my room door. I wondered if I had put out the Do Not Disturb sign and was fairly confident that I had. The knock came again, this time followed by a high-pitched voice.
"Housekeeping!" the voice said.
I didn't answer, hoping that she'd see the Do Not Disturb sign or hear the shower and move on to another room. After a minute or so, I didn't hear another knock so I assumed she'd gone on. The next thing I heard was another knocking noise. This time on the bathroom door which I'd thankfully closed when I went into the shower.
"Housekeeping!" the voice said.
This time I couldn’t ignore her.
"Yes, I'm here!" I called.
No response. Again, I assumed she'd gone away, embarrassed that she'd entered the room of a showering guest. I couldn't have been more wrong. Once more, a knock on the bathroom door.
"Housekeeping!" she said.
I could now tell that the maid had some sort of Spanish accent. I wondered if maybe she didn't speak English and couldn't understand what I had said.
"Please come back later!" I shouted in the most polite and clearly enunciated voice I could muster.
At this point I realized I'd been standing perfectly still, listening for the maid for two or three minutes. Soap from my hair began running down my forehead and into my eyes, stinging them badly. I put my head under the running shower to rinse the soap from my eyes when the knock came again. This time the noise from the shower and water raining down on my scalp and face interfered with me hearing what she said.
"Que?" I know a little Spanish.
"You want me wash your back?" she said.
I stood there for a second wondering if I'd heard her correctly.
"You want to wash my back?"
"Si," she said.
Now I was beginning to worry.
"No…Thank you. Come back later!" I screamed nervously.
"You want me towel you dry?" she continued.
I started to panic. Would she ever leave? What if she stood outside the bathroom door asking me questions for the next twenty minutes? I had appointments I needed to get to. Then I had a worse thought. What if she came into the bathroom? What if she stripped naked and climbed into the shower with me? My mind raced, going through different possible scenarios. The worst of them included being forced to physically remove a naked, middle aged Spanish maid from my room. I'm happily married, you know.
"No…I'm good!" I replied, not knowing what else to say.
She must have left because I didn't hear another knock or a voice asking to wash or towel me. I stayed in the bathroom another twenty-five minutes, afraid to come out. When I did, my room was empty and nothing was out of place. I finished dressing and left my room about a half-hour later. On my way to the elevator, I passed one of those maid carts stationed outside an empty room. I glanced inside but could see no one. The sound of a vacuum was the only noise I heard as I briskly walked by.
I never told anyone that story, especially my wife. I now know to pull that safety latch over or use the security chain any time I'm getting in the shower. In the absence of those, I wedge a chair under the door handle. I don't take chances anymore.


No comments: