Sunday, July 5, 2009

If You Can't Duct It....

I embarrassed my wife over family vacation a couple of weeks ago. We took our two kids to Myrtle Beach, and stayed at the Hampton Inn. It wasn't cheap, of course (we'd been paying on it since last year), but it was nice, let me tell you. I was a little dissappointed in the front desk's service, though.
We were fixin' to head out to the beach when the bottom of my sandle came loose and started flapping like a flip-flop every step I took. It was a K-mart special, and I had them for three years, so I wasn't surprised. The kids were tugging at my arm to hurry and get out to the sand when a thought came across my mind, "If only I had a little duct tape."

Like many folks, having a roll of duct tape handy is about as important as a Leatherman tool or a Swiss Army knife. I always keep a roll in my car, and in my desk drawer at the high school where I teach. I go through a roll of it a semester, and its mostly students who need it -- ripped notebook covers, ball caps with the plastic adjuster torn in back, you name it. I won't go into all the creative, and ludicrous, things I've done with duct tape. People have already written books on that.

I figureded about five or six wraps around the back of my sandal would last me at least until the end of the day. Come to find out then that I didn't have a single roll in the van. I remembered the little sign posted in the hotel room stating for any necessities their guests might have forgotten to pack -- toothbrush, razor, needle and thread -- to see the receptionist at the front desk. Despite my wife's eye-rolling, I was sure that if they had toothbrushes they surely would have a roll of duct tape behind the counter. "I'm sure that's something that gets asked of them all the time," I assured my wife. She took the kids around the corner to the side lobby to hide.

When I asked the guy at the front desk if he had any duct tape, or even electrical tape (trying to broaden the options) he looked at me like I'd just asked him for a kidney. I should have known better. The guy looked like some model off the cover of GQ magazine. I told him my sandal was falling apart and I just needed about an arm's length worth. "Well, we don't keep that up here," but in a professional tone said, "but I could call our maintenance man on the radio to see if he has any." He pulled out his radio. "Jerry, are you busy right now?" From the radio I heard a crackle and the sound of an electric drill in the background. "What!?" said the guy on the other end. "We have a gentleman at the front desk who is in need of...."

By that point I was embarrassed that the guy behind the counter interrupted the maintenance man from what he was doing just for duct tape, so I told him not to worry about it. "Well, what room are you in. We could send it up to you later." The thought of room service bringing a roll of duct tape on a silver platter crossed my mind, and I told him to forget it -- I was going out with my family to the beach and wouldn't be back for a few hours. I was also more embarrassed that the maintenance man was probably wondering what idiot would go on vacation and not keep a roll of duct tape under his passenger seat, so I just put up with the flip-flopping until the end of the day and then threw the things away.

"You really showed the color of your neck just now, didn't you?" was my wife's reply when I came back empty handed. She had that I-told-you-so look on her face. "This isn't the Clampett Mansion." Just to rib her a little, I replied, "Well, if we stayed at the Sea Mist or some place a little less fancy, I bet they would have had a roll of duct tape behind the counter! Or Motel 6, 'We'll leave the light on for you -- and a roll of duct tape in your bedside drawer.'" It would probably get more use than that Gideon's Bible, not to be blasphemous or anything.

Moral of the story: Buy an economy pack of duct tape and then keep a roll everywhere you might need it, even if you have to sneak it into your wife's van without her noticing.

My wife's moral of the story: Don't ask the front desk clerk at a 4-star hotel for duct tape. You might as well try asking him for a Skoal Bandit or a Slim Jim.

1 comment:

Somebodies Friend said...

Just stopping to say hi


Somebodies Friend