But never, NEVER, book a smoking room in an hotel. I never do. Except for this once. It was already booked. “oh, you asked for a smoking room” says the receptionist avoiding eye contact with me. Normally I make a point of asking for a non smoking room. I struggle
with my bags to the second floor. As the lift door opens the stench hits me – the entire floor reeks of cigarettes. It clings to the carpet and fills all space in between. I am sure I can hear a respirator machine inhale and exhale as I pass through the corridors. It feels a little like The Shining. America is telling me something and America is right. Smoking sucks. Period.
My bags, one which is full of books that I am reading for a fiction competition, are hurting my fingers. My rooms smells worse than the corridor. It takes ten minutes to open the balcony door. it’s only then that I realise that all the rooms have balconies. All of them. I
would’ve chosen a non smoking room and smoked in the comfort of my own freakin balcony. But in some crazy place in the smokers brain he thinks he deserves this. Like the guy in the da vinci code who ties barbed belts to his thigh as atonement for his sins in the eyes of his god. I too have my barbed wire. In England there was once a pack of
cigarettes called Death and smokers loved them “I’m smoking Death” we’d say. It was a black cigarette packet with a silver skull and crossbones. It wouldn’t be so bad here, as wallpaper. I call reception. Desperate. “I’ve changed my mind. I don’t smoke. I want a non smoking room”. The softly spoken receptionist says “I’m sorry sir we are fully
booked”. But All I hear is a spoonerism. “Bully fucked”. I take my barbed belt and accept my lot. After all it was my choice. Fortunately the next morning I get a beautiful room on
the beautiful 7th floor where I watch the sunset each evening kick back and relax.
I imagine that hotel floor to be booked by rich old American divorcees who had left their husbands and wives on account of their smoking. I imagine them day after day talking to themselves through their respirators “I showed him. I showed him I moved out the god damn house and got me a smokin parlour. Yes I did”.
I have got to stop smokin