Monday, February 21, 2005


i get a kick out of those ads listing the cost of different parts of the night's activities and then the price, leaving the final thing for the audience as "priceless". that something that can't be replaced or the action that couldn't have been missed out on in life. the one thing that is just beyond belief, either good or bad, depending upon whether it was a real ad or a parody. well, i recently experienced something like that at the hotel, where i would've given quite a bit to have a camera with me to record the event.

i was working at the front desk on that weekend, just like the typical weekend. at the hotel, there are only 3 entrances/exits. one on the north end, one on the south, and one at the front desk/lobby area. most commonly, people use the entrance by the front desk because it's not locked, it's closest to the elevator, and it's closest to the parking lot. working at the front desk, i notice most people that come and go from the front entrance. it's not uncommon for me to see people i don't know because i don't check most people in, but i always greet people as the go through the lobby.

it's also not uncommon to see people in various stages of undress -- pajamas, night gowns, robes, guys in shorts only, barefooted people, sometimes more and sometimes less. especially if someone just has to run to the car in the middle of the night to get some needed item. well, this particular night, there is a guy that came walking in from the parking lot wearing only a pair of baby blue slick shorts. this is itself was not worth notice, except that i had not seen him leave the hotel. i didn't recognize him, and his state of undress emphasized the amount of body art that he had. he had tattoos on his calves (sides and back of the calves), his back, his stomach, his chest, his biceps, and his forearms. this man was covered w/ these elaborate, full-color pictures.

these tattoos caught my attention because they were fantastic works of art AND we don't normally have people stay at the hotel that are obviously from this sub-culture of tattoos and piercings. for this small town, it is not common to have someone with these signs of "belonging" that don't seem to belong to the lower-class-white-trash-crowd. i can't say he was "well-dressed" because he was hardly dressed. but he was clean and groomed, so i assumed that he didn't look a part of that crowd when he was dressed. i greeted him just as i did anyone else entering the hotel. he said "hello" and went on like he knew where he was and what he was doing. i heard the elevator button ding, so i knew he was going up to his room.

i wasn't paying that close of attention, i guess, because i didn't notice that the elevator didn't actually go anywhere and the button didn't ding as it went up the floors to his room. when i went to pass out receipts a couple hours later, i pushed the elevator button to ride up to the second floor. i was earlier than normal because we had an elderly couple that was checking out before 5 am and they needed a copy of their receipt.

the elevator doors opened slowly to reveal the tattooed, shorts-clad man curled up in a fetal position on the elevator floor. seeing him lying there really caught me off guard. i tried to rouse him by saying "sir?" several times and getting louder each time. i looked around to see if someone was sneaking up on me, as if this were a joke or a set-up, but the coast was clear. he didn't stir after calling to him several times, so i began to get worried. i didn't know if he was asleep, passed out dead drunk, or just dead. and i didn't want to touch him because i didn't know how he might react (or if he might be dead). i didn't want him still in the elevator if the elderly couple were ready to leave, so i called the police station and requested an officer to come out.

in about 5 minutes, 2 police cars came speeding into the parking lot w/ their flashing lights on. the 2 officers came rushing into the lobby to make sure i was ok. i told them what happened and that i just wanted the guy out of the elevator in case the elderly couple needed to leave. i made sure that they realized that the man had been no problem or disturbance, but that he was just in the way. as i was standing there talking to them, i heard the elevator ding upstairs, so i said, "never mind. he went upstairs and got off the elevator. that's all i really wanted."

the police officers decided to go upstairs and check on him anyway. i had no idea what room he was in because i didn't know who he was, but i knew he had gotten off on the 2nd floor and walked down to about room 220 or so. they took the elevator up to the 2nd floor and walked down the hallway to find the man curled up in front of his door -- room 222. they woke him up and talked to him and he told the police that he'd had too much to drink and he was locked out of his room. he had passed out in the elevator before pushing the button for the 2nd floor earlier. he had been asleep in the elevator for about 2 hours without anyone disturbing him. they brought him down to the front desk to get a room key, but he had no ID w/ him. i explained that i couldn't give him a key to the room unless he had ID. the tattooed man told me that the room was under his friends' name, but his personal credit card was paying for the room. the police said that they would go up w/ him and check his ID if i would make him a new room key.

well, he checked out just fine w/ the police escorting him to his room and checking his ID. he was safely back in his room and could get some decent sleep, and the elderly couple could leave w/o fear of someone lying in the elevator. for several hours after this event, all i could think of was "i wish i had my camera w/ me when the elevator doors opened." the more i thought of it, the more i imagined people's responses to the picture or what i would do with the picture. i realized that it would make a perfect picture for one of those priceless ads.

nike slick shorts ----------------------------------------------------------------$20
nice hotel room -----------------------------------------------------------------$75
too much tequila --------------------------------------------------------------- $60
full body of tattoos ---------------------------------------------------------- $3000
getting caught half-naked and unconscious in the elevator --- PRICELESS

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