I am going to illustrate this essay with pictures of sexy escorts because, to me, chain hotels and prostitutes go together like peanut butter and jelly.
The art is unsurpassed in being so not art that it is almost avant garde; the still life of lilies above the bed, the fox hunting scene in the lobby, the Pollack by way of Kmart by the ice machine. The listing of Places of Worship in the almost informationless information binder in your room. Places of Worship? Isn’t the Gideon Bible sitting unopened in the night stand enough? The hilarious room service prices where suddenly white bread, processed cheese and turkey loaf are luxury items.
The Continental Breakfast. When I was a kid I thought it sounded so classy, I imagined gleaming silver cloches and bud vases of red roses and baby’s breath, linen napkins and tiny pots of jam. The real thing is a cornucopia of fake food for the overfed masses. The swath of obesity one is greeted with upon entering the 2nd floor restaurant is staggering. You think to yourself, How is it possible for a kid to be so fucking fat? then you look at the spread; a soft serve-like machine sludging out dixie cups of “waffle” mix, dispensers of Froot Loops and Frosted Flakes, chocolate chip muffins – their tops glossy with frosting. White bread, white bagels, not an unbleached grain in sight among the deflated croissants and flaccid Danishes. There are bananas and hard boiled eggs, two “real” food garnishes for your Continental Breakfast. Assemble your plate of processed shit and head to the condiments to take this experience to the moon. Literally. The condiments could be straight out of a NASA training module on a mission to Mars. There is no butter for your white bread toast, but there is Promise. Promise is a 60% Vegetable Oil Spread, it contains vitamin B12 and disodium EDTA, which is a “slime dispersant”*. There is no cream for your coffee but there is Coffee Mate made by those lovely fuckers at Nestle. It contains “milk ingredients” but don’t worry, no refrigeration is necessary. If Coffee Mate is not to your taste maybe you’d prefer a little French Vanilla non dairy creamer from International Delight.
Bleary eyed and bed headed I leaned against a wall waiting for my turn at the waffle maker. I watched as every single adult – fully grown adults mind you, many with grey hair – scooped up the French Vanilla and Coffee Mate like it was normal, like it was no big deal. This is a land with no free health care and yet Promise was never questioned, no inquiries made as to the whereabouts of actual butter to the hotel employees who bustled around bringing more chocolate chip muffins and pitchers of fake Aunt Jemima.**
I watched this from beneath the awning of the most epic of hangovers, my brain crusted with Marlboro Lights and Wild Turkey, my breathing laboured and my liver distended, I was in no position to judge. But judge I did. Look at these oblivious bovines, horking back slime dispersant like nobody’s business, greasing their pasty white waffles with Promise and sodium hexametaphosphate-laced high fructose corn syrup. The best cure for a hangover is to look at a wave of mindless humanity indulging in a Continental Breakfast fake food feeding frenzy. Then go back to bed until the maids literally drag you from under the duvet and kick you to the curb. Go home to your own country and drink a bottle of maple syrup. Indulge in some free health care. Count your blessings.
The title of this snarky little rant is “The Best Thing About American Chain Hotels” and let me tell you what that is – the complimentary toothpaste.
You forgot your toothpaste and you’re in Buffalo about to get fucking bombed out of your mind on American free-poured bourbon and you know you definitely don’t want to wake up without any toothpaste and you don’t want to wander the streets looking for a Walgreen’s either (that will cut into your precious drinking time). The average American chain hotel has complimentary toothpaste. They could easily charge you a fortune for the convenience of buying these items but instead, maybe because of the mint they’re making on the room service Clubhouse, they just give them away. That’s the best thing.
Also the pillow. I don’t care how many double penetrated hookers slept off a k-hole on the very same pillow, that doesn’t make it any less a slice of heaven.
*according to Wikipedia. Also, great band name.
**not even fake maple syrup but a fake of a fake maple syrup. Double fake. Like many of the boobs pictured.