25 May, 2011

I like the idea of a place where only smart people have telephones.

I opened the office about twenty minutes ago, greeted by the smell of stale coffee from the kitchen and an infomercial or something blaring on the TV to an audience of zero in the living room. I set about dumping out the mug's worth of old coffee out and scoop out more food scraps from the sink (the sink under the sign telling people we don't have a garbage disposal) and came back into the office to log in to the system when the phone rang.
Normally, I'd make this a hostel incident report, but the narrative is so cyclical, so disjointed, so infuriatingly confusing that one could easily mistake it for a lost Burroughs manuscript. The gist is thus: This guy calls from Taiwan. Needs a private room for three people for four nights in June. Right off the bat, I can tell the guy is sorely mistaken as to who he's calling: He's under the impression that the group private is a suite of some sort with three rooms and a shared bathroom. I have to correct him and tell him it's actually three beds in one room and the bathroom is public.
June, July, and August being our prime time months, our group private room is booked out. Indeed, all of our private rooms are booked out. I tell the guy we have dormitories.
The question, "You have no private rooms?" is then peppered through out the rest of the five minute phone conversation at irregular intervals without prompting.
The guy doesn't want the fifteen bed dormitory, he wants the six bed dormitory. Smaller bathroom share, willing to pay the premium on that. But then he also wants me to guarantee, three weeks ahead of time, that no one else will be in that room. I told him he would have to buy all the beds. He wants to know if they can just pay for the three beds they need and just have the room. I tell him sure, it's a dormitory, it doesn't always get filled to capacity but if we have to sell the other three beds, we'll sell them.
"So there will be strangers in there?"
There could be, yes.
At some point (seriously, I couldn't write you a linearly narrated transcript if I tried) he wants to know how much it will cost to buy all six beds for four nights.
US$80064
This is a number I will have to repeat to him as he continually asks me how much it will cost for all six beds for four nights as I also have to keep telling him that it is a dormitory, not a private room and - this is my mantra for entitled motherfuckers like this - if we have to sell the beds, we will. And that usually brings us right back to square one: Whether or not we have any private rooms.
As the conversation teeters uncontrollably and I hear myself growing audibly more agitated with his same four questions and his repeated acknowledgement of my answers - "I get that." - he finally drops this whopper on me: "Well, you said there was a four bed female dormitory? That would be cheaper to buy four beds than six. Can we have that one?"
No.
"No?"
No.
"We can't have the female dormitory?"
No. Because it's a female dormitory.
"So it's just for females?"
That's why it's called the female dormitory, sir.
"So, it's like a whole separate building for just females?" Yes, he thinks it's a building.
Yes, it's just for females. Which is why it's called the female dormitory.
"Oh, so we can't have that."
No.
"And how much was the six bed dorm again?"
US$33.36 per person per night.
"No no no, if we were to buy all six beds."
Eight hundred dollars sixty four cents.
As if it was the first time he heard this figure, "Oh, wow. That's expensive."
Well, sir, you are buying six beds for four nights. Essentially, you're multiplying the rate by twenty four.
He then begins to blather on something about having to talk to his friends about this that or the other thing and I'm ready to stop paying attention. I think of going to my happy place, a place in my mind's eye where my life isn't as hapless the one I find in reality: A place where only smart people have telephones and maybe I don't have to wake up to jerk off at five thirty in the morning (pee at four, knock one out of the park about five thirty, sixish) and then take a break again around two in the afternoon to crack off another one. I'm nearly in this happy place; so very close to tuning this malcontent's measured drawl out of my ears so I can think about, you know, anything else at all (but probably just titties) when he says (and check the fuck out of this shit out), "Well, I wrote you an email, so if you can just respond to that so that my friends and I have all this information..."
I want to scream through the phone. I want to stomp on the transceiver. I want to shit in my hand and reach through the phone and rub shit in his stupid stupid eyes. I want to ask him why in hot holy fucking hell he wasn't writing any of this down.
I don't do that, though. I just sigh the sigh of the defeated, allow my inner monologue to mutter the single 'goddamnit', and say, I sure will.
We say our goodbyes and I grab my first cup of coffee for the morning. Then I sat down here and tried to come up with something for the day.
Yeah, I've got nothing.

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