Saturday, August 30, 2008


Poisons are often labelled with a skull and crossbones logo to warn of their toxicity, but I've found another skull-related warning symbol: the skull of a hooved mammal warns of poor living accommodations.

The remnants of this antlered beast indicated appalling crew quarters at Victory Airways. The building had actually been condemned twice but pilots were still housed in it.

The skull of this antelope is in better shape, and I must admit so was the Days Inn whose breakfast room it was mounted in, but the service there was bizarrely poor. When I checked in, my bill indicated that I was named Christopher, and lived in Phoenix. When I complained that this was not me, and that I wanted to have the points credited to my own account, the clerk "fixed" the problem by crossing out Christopher's name and account, and pencilling in mine, then giving me back the printout. The customer who had been served before me then noticed that her bill too was in the name of a completely different person. And the same thing happened to others in my crew. They seemed to be pulling up random accounts instead of ours.

Early the next morning, when I was looking for information on the status of military airspace, I discovered that my telephone didn't work. I mentioned it on the way out, and they promised me maintenance. None had occurred by the time I returned, so I ostentatiously used the desk phone to make my calls the next day, hoping that would make them remember. As I left, I pointed out that the members of the large tour group that had just checked out probably had all had telephones, so could I please have one of their phones? That evening, still my phone does not work. I brought it downstairs to test in the jack by the desk, and it didn't work there, either. The next day, my third in the hotel, someone brought me a phone just before I left for the day. When I returned that evening I discovered that I had a phone, just a phone. No cord. I should have known from the antelope skull.

The motel with this ashtray(?) mounted cow skull was a place I stayed on a personal trip, not for work. And you know, I think it was was worth all of the $44 a night I paid.

So the question is, does the symbol of death suck the life out of the place? Or does the deathly atmosphere inspires the decor? I don't know, but today's advice from Aviatrix is to avoid hotels decorated with animal skulls.

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