Det blev en text på engelska denna gång. Men den är ganska kort! Välkommen in!
Sanitized, for your protection
He would never go to this country for vacation. But this was work. The system their customer had bought needed to installed and tested. In other words, it was a typical 2-weeks trip.
While his taxi was driving him from the airport to the hotel, he looked at the city. The traffic was chaotic. A myriad of small cars were all the time trying to steal a meter, or two, ahead of all the other cars. The whole city seemed to consist of one single huge traffic jam. As they crawled over a bridge, Patrick could see a bit more around them. Over the whole city he could see a thick layer of gray smog, hanging there in the chilly air. He had a vague feeling that this place reminded him about something else, but so far, he couldn’t nail it down.
He checked in at the hotel. As he got to his room, first thing, he went to the bathroom. Across the toilet seat, a piece of paper declared “Sanitized, for your protection”. Now he understood, what this city reminded him about: Europe some 30 years ago, or Moscow, some 20 years ago. That was the time when many hotels thought that good service was about declaring cleanliness. But the customers wanted nice and fresh furniture, a convenient bed and several electrical outlets in every room.
To his surprise, the internet connection seemed to work, although it was slow. Patrick slept a few hours, and then went to work.
When he returned to the hotel in the evening, that proud note on the toilet had reappeared. That fact made this place stand out even more. Back in those days, a typical hotel might put notes about “sanitized” on glasses, bath tubs and the washbasin, but only the first day. The hotel would continue cleaning the room, of course, but they wouldn’t bother you with these notes for the rest of your stay.
Patrick tore the “sanitized” note in small pieces and threw in the dustbin. Then he went for dinner. He came back around midnight and fell asleep at once, without even brushing his teeth. Next morning, he noted with astonishment that the note on the toilet had reappeared. This was the first time ever that he encountered a hotel that would “sanitize” anything in your room more than once a day.
These pieces of paper fascinated him. He started making notes about when he left the room and when he got back. A couple of days he even managed to go to the hotel during the lunch break. And every single time there was a fresh reminder for him on the toilet. Patrick started collecting these messages in his locked suitcase. After the first week, he had already collected 15 pieces, not counting the first four or five notes, which he threw away in the beginning.
During the weekend, he decided to try it to the fullest extent. And, yes. He got a fresh declaration immediately after breakfast. Then he went for a walk and got back an hour later to find a new piece of paper. After lunch, he got another one, again. In the afternoon, he stayed in the room, reading a book. When he went to the lavatory after an hour, there was a fresh piece of paper there, again. Somehow, the paper got there while Patrick was still in the room!
This scared him. These guys must by spying at me, he thought. He looked at the mirror and wondered if this was one of those mirrors, where someone would be spying at you from the other side. How else would they know, when he was in or out. But still, even if they had a police mirror, how could they get into the bathroom and place the note on the john when Patrick was still in the room?
He wanted to get home and started working longer hours. He didn’t shower anymore. And he would use any bathroom, except the one in his hotel room.
A couple of days later, he had finished his work. The customer was happy and signed all acceptance documents, and Patrick went home.
He was exhausted after a long journey home to current time, where internet just works, and so on. First thing, he went to the toilet. And here, on his own W.C., he found a proud paper note, saying: “Sanitized, for your protection”.
Tor-Björn Fjellner (Mr T)