We took turns showering, the kids and Melinda going ahead of me so I could make sure the sand they brought back from the beach was at max levels in the bottom of the tub. But just as I’d availed myself of my bathing suit and started the water, Melinda stuck her head out from the kitchen.
“There’s no can opener and I can’t make dinner without one,” she said. “Would you mind going down to the front desk and seeing if they have one?”
I groaned. I hate asking for stuff. I think it’s because I’ve worked in customer service and know how annoying it is when customers ask me for obscure things.
Customer: Hi, do you happen to have any size four diapers?
Me: Ma’am, this is a brewery.
Me: No, we don’t. Sorry.
Customer: Okay. I just thought you might have some diapers in the back or something.
My anxiety at Melinda’s request was augmented by the fact that since we checked in, I’d seen two different guests accosting maids in the hallway for supplies. One woman was so brazen she pecked through the supply cart like it was the bargain bin at Target.
“Oh, and I’m going to take two of these dish soaps also,” she said to the helpless maid, who just stood there and smiled.
I sheepishly approached the front desk and said hello to Jennifer, a woman in her mid-40s with a tattoo behind her right ear and a superfluous piercing above her cheek.
“My wife has sent me in search of a can opener,” I said. “Any ideas?”
Jennifer opened a drawer, which from my vantage point seemed to be full of only pens. She shook her head.
“I can send Rodrigo up to your suite with one,” she said, pulling a walkie talkie from her belt.
I thanked her for the help, satisfied I managed to both solve Melinda’s issue and not fall into the category of needy guest.
Rodrigo delivered the goods while I showered, but by the time I got out, a new issue presented itself.
“Could you tell Rodrigo to bring us two forks and a spoon?” Melinda asked, holding up a fistful of mismatched silverware.
“We don’t have enough silverware?” I said.
“Not unless you want to take turns eating.”
Okay fine. Asking for silverware felt like less of a random request than a can opener, and I doubted the hotel staff stocked our room with two forks and three spoons on purpose.
So I rode the elevator six floors down to the desk, where my new friend Jennifer looked surprised to see me back so soon.
“Is the can opener okay?” she asked.
“Yeah, it’s great, probably the best can opener I’ve ever used,” I said, hoping a little utensil flattery would soften my request. “I’m sorry to bug you again, but would it be possible to get two forks and a spoon? We didn’t have a full set in our cupboard.”
Jennifer didn’t waste any time in the pen drawer. She called out to a passing Rodrigo, but he was already out of earshot, no doubt speeding toward another annoying customer issue.
“Oh, Dustin!” She flagged down a shirtless dude making a beeline for the front door. “Could you please get me two forks and a spoon?”
Dustin looked like Jeff Spicoli after a bit at San Quentin. He regarded Jennifer with dead eyes and set his cup of beer on the front desk.
“…kay.” He disappeared behind a door and returned with three individually wrapped plastic forks, the kind you get with your takeout. He put them on the counter, picked up his beer and turned toward the front door without saying a word.
“Did you get the spoon?” Jennifer asked.
Dustin paused in the doorway. “You didn’t ask for a spoon,” he said over his shoulder.
“I certainly did.”
“If you did, I would have gotten one, wouldn’t I?”
If there was a time in my life I wished I had the ability to melt into the fucking wall, this was it.
“I did, and now I need you to get one for this guest,” Jennifer said. “Go.”
Dustin gave a heaving sigh and disappeared again into the back room. He tossed the individually-wrapped spoon onto the desk with a flourish and dashed out the door before Jennifer could eek out a reply.
I thanked Jennifer for her efforts and made the journey back to the sixth floor. I knew Melinda would not be pleased when I returned with plasticware instead of true cutlery, but I was not about to make more of an issue than had already transpired.
She was annoyed until I told her the story, embellishing it a bit to justify the fact I didn’t speak up.
“…And then he held the fork to my throat and said ‘you’ll take this plastic shit and you’ll like it, understand?’ I was lucky to leave with my life, Melinda.”
“Uh huh,” she said, unsuccessfully twirling her spaghetti with her plastic fork and spoon.