27 August 2011

The Artwork of Toronto Hotel Rooms, Part 2

I got up early this morning and went for a brisk walk around the block. The air was cool and damp. Surprise: it's another gray morning here in Toronto. Gray mornings seem to be a Toronto specialty.

While I was sleeping, a heavy fog was busy blowing in. It's out there now, even as I type this, blanketing the city. It's winding its way between the buildings, coiling around the CN Tower, pressing up against the side of my Marriott, kissing the window of my room.

Side note: Toronto Fog = OK name for a high school jazz quintet.

I love getting up early in strange cities and walking about while the streets are still quiet and vacant. Traffic lights change then change again without any cars around to heed them. Early on, before everyone else wakes up and starts moving about and making their noise? That's the best time of day to get to know a city.

I usually snap a few random photos of the empty streets, thinking that maybe years from now, when I'm in my dotage, in the landfill of god-awful photos that my iPhone seems to naturally accrue, I'll discover these particular photos and think, Remember that one time I got up really early in Toronto and went for a walk? Man. (Pause...) That was kind of a weird time.

A few years ago, when I was traveling more often, back when game publishers were still flying writers all over the place on silly, unnecessary trips, I had the idea that I would take a photo of every hotel room I had stayed in. When I had accumulated a few dozen of those photos, I would arrange them into a collage, have it framed, and give it a pretentious title like "Vacancy/No Vacancy," or "Loneliness #2," or "Tiny Free Soaps."

Side note: Tiny Free Soaps = also an OK name for a high school jazz quintet.

Who knows. I still might wind up doing that.

Another remarkable thing about my Toronto hotel room: There is no phone in the toilet. In fact, this has to be one of the first hotels I've ever stayed in that does not have the de rigueur telephone located in the can. I've never understood the toilet phone as a concept. Who makes calls on those things? If I need to order room service or extra towels, am I going to use the toilet phone to ring the front desk? Answer: I'm not. I'm going to choose the regular phone which, considering the limited square footage of the hotel rooms I have stayed in, is usually only an additional three or four steps away from the toilet phone.

One more thing: Considering the location of the toilet phone, i.e. the toilet, I'm not sure I'd be terribly anxious to make calls from a phone that previous guests, who were all presumably seated on the bowl at the time of their calls, have also used. Then again, anyone interested in using a toilet phone is not exactly obsessed with good hygiene.

The world, once again, can be divided into two kinds of people: those who are for toilet phones, a.k.a. THE ABSOLUTE PINNACLE OF MODERN LIVING, and those who are against them. The eHarmony people should probably query singles if they've ever used a toilet phone--check YES or NO--and save hundreds, maybe thousands of people from unnecessary heartbreak and ruin.

Imagine this: you are on a romantic getaway to a mountain lodge with someone for the first time. Suddenly you overhear this person, who you think has at least a modicum of potential to be the love of your life (no one goes to a mountain lodge unless there is a modicum of potential), placing a call from the toilet. "Hey Tim? It's Fred. How are you? Yep, I'm at the mountain lodge." Etc.

No one--no, not even terrible people--should have to discover this about a possible mate in this fashion.

Anyway, I'd better get to today's painting.

TODAY'S PAINTING: This one looks like a famished, loin-cloth-wearing giant put an entire jazz quintet--saxophone, clarinet, guitar, trumpet and piano--in his giant mouth, gave the quintet a couple of chews with his back molars, then spit the whole mess out on the ground where a terrible painter was standing by with an easel and oil paints ready to record the whole thing for posterity and/or Bed, Bath & Beyonds everywhere.

Painting Score: 2 out of 10.

Artist: The work is, not surprisingly, unsigned.

Can I remove the painting from the room wall? Answer: I cannot. (Though, I confess, I didn't try terribly hard to jigger this one loose.)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I used to work for Marriot. All in all, they're a fairly solid company. But like every other major hotel chain they buy their art in bulk and with the intent of getting it to match the overall colour scheme of the room. The content doesn't really matter, nor does the quality.

    I should also point out that I've recieved phone calls from guests on the toilet phones. And I've been aware of this fact because they couldn't cease bodily functions long enough to have a conversation with me.

    There are two types of people who do this:

    People who think it's hilarious to order room service while loudly sharting in the background. There's no one else around to laugh with them, it just strikes them as eminently funny and the very height of comedy.

    People who are so comfortable with their bodily functions that it doesn't even occur to them that the person on the other end of the line may have an issue with it.

    I don't know which one is worse but I'm absolutely certain that if *I* answered the guest services phone while also loudly sharting they would complain about it to the manager. And that would have been me. And I would have met with them in adjoining bathroom stalls.

    Deleted and reposted because I wrote words wrong 'cause of lack of coffee and brain. (Note: There may be more words spelled wrong. Woops)

  3. I always wondered why so many of my relationships failed. I was clearly dating from the pool of men that would emphatically check 'yes' on the "toilet-phone survey". 

  4. It would appear to me that phones in hotel bathrooms are there strictly for medical emergency purposes. It would definitely speak volumes about a "person" who would actually use it just as a gag...

    Someone could easily have a slip & fall in the shower (maybe from a bad hangover?), a heart attack (too much Viagra perhaps?), or just a bad case of food poisoning (seafood gone wrong?). It would be best not to have to crawl over to the other phone if experiencing any of those things & need help.

    So yeah overall, I think hotel bathroom phones are there for fairly obvious reasons, no?