A lot of things are different in Europe. I was looking forward to the cultural differences on our big trip. Seeing the world, learning about other people. Excitement! Adventure! Yay! Well, that’s all well and good. But everyone has limits.
For me it came in Rome, the last stop on our trip. We checked into our hotel the first night and went out into the city. It was great. We went back early and headed to bed because we had a 5:40 am train to Pompeii the next morning. We woke up the next day, marginally chipper, and went to catch the train, but we were locked in the hotel. It was a sliding sensor Star trek-style door, and they had turned it off. The sign said 24-hour desk service. So, we went to look for the desk dude. Well, I stood there ringing every annoying bell I could find while my husband went to look for the desk dude. But he never came, and my husband couldn’t find him or an emergency exit anywhere. We were trapped!
So naturally, we went behind the desk and started pushing buttons to try and make the door open. I mean, that’s what normal people do right? Push random buttons in an emergency situation. But the door still wouldn’t open. So, my husband somehow managed to shove his big man fingers into the cracks between the doors, and together with an ungodly amount of grunting we managed to break out of our hotel. As soon as we got the doors open, they swung aside. And for anyone who hasn’t been keeping up, sliding doors should never swing. We had broken the doors!
We ran for the train station, literally ran, which is a big deal for me. I don’t run on concrete, ever. And the whole time we were wondering what they would do to us when we got back. You aren’t allowed to take your hotel keys with you. You have to turn them in at the desk, and we had left ours there by the broken door! They would know it was us! Or a homeless person would wander into the now wide open door, steal the first key they saw, and make themselves at home in our room! Or maybe the hotel would throw all of our stuff out onto the sidewalk. Or call the police!
Horrible questions were racing through my mind the entire trip to Pompeii. Can your one phone call from prison be international? Do Italian prisons give you a phone call? If they tried to charge me thousands of dollars on my credit card for a broken door, would my credit card company let them? How does one call the American Embassy if one’s cell phone doesn’t work?
Once we got to Pompeii, we sort of forgot about the door issue. It’s a gorgeous ruin, and my husband ate dog. So we were busy. But then on the train ride back we remembered. But this time I didn’t panic. I was going to stand up for my rights. I will not be locked in your hotel!
When we got back to the hotel, I was ready to do battle. I walked right up to that desk and said, “Room 205, please.”
And the man handed me my key and wished me goodnight.