I’m in the middle of a bit of a mystery. I noticed it a long time ago and I’m starting to think that it’s a conspiracy against the elderly, the handicapped, and against inflexible men in their early forties. There’s nothing like waking up in a strange bed, stiff and sore from your latest attempt to “start working out again” from the night before. You limp along to the bathroom with your old knee and shoulder surgeries telling you “Good Morning” then you pick up the USA Today and you make some coffee and you sit down to read the paper and to let your body catch up with your brain while the shower water warms up. Then you hear it: the collection of water in the bathtub due to the tub drain being CLOSED!
Why does the maid do this to me? In hotels across the country it happens, they come to clean the room and the tub. I admire them for this, and I presume they close the drain and run in a bit of water to develop a base of cleaning fluid but when they’re done, they have to OPEN the drain to let out the dirty water, right? Why on God’s earth do they always close it back up again? Maybe I’m the only one who’s been taking showers rather than baths since I was 10 or 11, I have no idea. But here I am again, one foot soaked in a tub full of hot water, the other wedged between the wall and the toilet, half bent over and still stiff from my workout, trying to open the drain so I can take a morning shower.
Don’t think I haven’t asked. Those who know me will tell you I am not shy when it comes to things like this. So far, I’ve asked one hotel housekeeping supervisor and three different housekeepers (five, if you count the two who spoke no English at all). The supervisor assured me there is no policy that dictates such behavior and all of the maids I’ve asked so far have had the same answer, “I don’t know!”
“Hi, can I talk to you for a second? You have done a spectacular job with my room this week and I really appreciate it! Thank you very much. Do you mind if I ask you a question?”
“I’ve noticed at hotels all across the country, housekeepers close the bathtub drains after they clean the tub and they do that at this hotel too. Do you know why?”
“That’s funny, I don’t know!”
It’s a small thing, a particulate in the heaving mass of other things to worry about when you’re traveling. Still… I’ve googled the web to death and the answer was truly elusive. Just before I decided to throw up my hands and give up, I talked to my friend Denise.
Denise has been a devoted wife to the same kooky husband (sorry, Mark) since she was a teenager. She’s an excitable, hyperactive loving mother of three and a blissful homemaker, soccer mom, gymnastics mentor, and lover of roller coasters, motorcycles, convertibles and anything with some speed behind it. As a mom, she’s incredible. She knows more about meal planning and child taxi running than most people forget in their lifetimes and I realized that if anybody might know the answer, Denise would. It’s difficult to hold her attention for more than 5 minutes since she always seems to have so many things going on all the time, so I sent her an email. Less than three minutes later, I had her response and the answer: “I’ve always thought they closed the drain for ‘smell’ reasons… I know that’s why you do it in a camper full of kids 🙂 “ There it was. Simple, yet elegant. Imagine what would happen if they left the drain open and the area under the tub dried out due to the lack of the room’s use? Stinko!
I don’t mind when I find the drain closed anymore, and I’m confident that it’s not a conspiracy. Now, every time I smell dirty sewage I shall think of Denise!