On the Road

After years of traveling for work, I am planning my next career move: I will become the all-powerful, unquestioned dictator…

… my first act will be to mandate that all hotel plumbing be exactly the same. Every room in every hotel will have the exact same type of fixture that turns in the same directions to turn the water on and off, or to switch the diverter from tub to shower, or to adjust the water temperature. That will save the scalding/freezing surprise that comes from moving the mixing lever/knob in the wrong direction. And all sinks will have the left handle for hot and the right for cold.

Next, I will task my security force with tracking down those people who follow me around wherever I go and check into the hotel room directly above mine. Every one of them weighs more than three-hundred pounds, wears heavy boots, and stops pacing only occasionally, and only long enough to jump off the bed. These criminals will be restricted to basements only.

On summer days, hotels will be required to keep a room’s thermostat at 72 degrees. No more opening the door to the room and being hit with a blast of frigid air from an air conditioning unit set to “Arctic.” Something in human nature compels them to set indoor temperatures colder in the summer than would be tolerated in the winter and hotter in the winter than they do in the summer.

And the places with so-called free breakfast – well, they’re not really free; they’re included in the price of the room – you get to witness the waffle-rama. Make-it-yourself waffle cookers are the standard in Holiday Inn Express and other breakfast rooms these days. So you have to maneuver around the waffle-crazed patrons at the cooking stations trying to figure out how the irons work. Sorry, “all-powerful dictator” unfortunately does not include the power to control the frenzied hordes of children at properties near any Disney park during vacation times.

People sitting in aisle or window seats in an airplane will be required by law to allow the person in the coveted middle seat to have full access to both armrests. Flight attendants must actually listen to your request for “Black coffee, please,” and not respond, “Would you like cream or sugar with that?”

In airport or hotel garages, an SUV or truck parked in a space labeled “Compact” will be removed and crushed and sold for scrap. Because they’re not parked in a parking space. GMC Yukons and the like don’t fit into a parking space. They fit into a parking space and part of another. They take up enough real estate so that there is not room for a Toyota Corolla to fit in the adjacent spot. But then, if it’s a Corolla from a car-rental company, it’s categorized as a “mid-size” vehicle. Rental companies have their own definitions of what is “Compact” and what is “Full Size.”

Another dictate will require car-rental counters to have a separate check-in line for people who have never rented a car before. Others will not be forced to stand in line behind the customer asking, “Does my own insurance cover damage to the car?” The clerk must respond, “Yes, it almost certainly will! But you should have checked on that before you got here.” By law, the rental contract will disclose in bold print:

 

  1. Paying $25.99 per day is the equivalent of over $9,000 per year for collision insurance that you probably already have.
  2. We call it “Damage Waiver” to pretend it’s not insurance because we would need a license to sell that. And your credit card probably covers what your own insurance doesn’t, like the deductible.
  3. If you pay up front for the gas, we’ll charge for every ounce in the tank. So far, no one has ever returned a car with a completely empty gas tank.

On the second day of my dictatorship, I will address ticket “convenience” fees.

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