Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Door to Door

"It is wiser to find out than to suppose."
-Mark Twain

Once, in Ireland, my Spouse and I checked into a Bed and Breakfast before wandering out in search of dinner. We had found the inn by strolling along the street and keeping an eye out for signs that said 'VACANCY' and hoped that finding a suitably decent restaurant in a small town would be as easy.
We found a delightful little place and I recall that I had some marvellous seafood. Afterward we walked about for a bit and then I began to notice a vague feeling of uneasiness about my person and in my stomach. Spouse was concerned and as the pain grew, hurried us back to our Bed and Breakfast. Spouse quickly pulled from his pocket the key we had been given earlier by the landlady and inserted it into the lock.
It did not work. We were feeling quite foolish for not having checked to ensure that the key worked; it was now late in the evening and our only option was to awaken the poor woman who, judging by the fact that she gave us a key, would not be particularly pleased to be obliged to let us in.
With me in some pain, Spouse could not dawdle and knocked loudly on the door. There was nothing from within, and Spouse tried again.
After a long period of waiting in which my trouble grew increasingly bothersome, the door was opened.
"Hah?" said the fellow. We had woken him up, that much was certain.
"Our key does not work," said Spouse.
The fellow did not shift to the side as we had hoped he would. He barely blinked.
Oh, dear. If only we had managed to awaken a sharper being.
"We booked in here earlier." There seemed nothing much else to say, but the fellow was not enlightened.
"Don't know." He rubbed his eyes.
Spouse was now seriously worried. "Our bags are in there," he said, beginning to imagine that we would not be sleeping there tonight. If we could at least get our belongings, though, we could sort out the matter with greater ease.
"Your bags?"
"Yes." Spouse's tone turned crisp. This fellow was too much! "We left our bags in there this evening. The lady left us this key. It doesn't work."
The chap, slack-jawed and bleary, looked at each of us as best he could: his eyes could hardly focus.
"What lady?"
Now Spouse was angry and decided to follow down the Wife route if the other insisted upon it.
"My wife is sick. We need to get in to this Bed and Breakfast now."
Somebody inside the sleepy one's head opened a fridge and the little light came on.
"Oh," he said. "You probably mean the Bed and Breakfast next door."
He pointed. It seemed that we were at the wrong house. The doors were identical in colour and, of course, in shape.
In our defence, though, I do not comprehend why on earth he found it so difficult to grasp our mistake and save us all a lot of time.
If one runs a shoe store that happens to be next to a bakery, and a customer comes rushing in for a loaf of warm something or other, I should think it most sensible to say, "we sell shoes here. Perhaps you meant to go next door?"
It all sounds so simple, really.

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