Dodging the DNC (or “Those Capybaras Will Cut a Bitch”)

As most of you undoubtedly know, the Democratic National Convention has been going on in my home city of Charlotte for much of the past week.  President Obama was in fact staying at a resort right down the street from me.  Roads would shut down without provocation as he and other political dignitaries moved about; police cruisers and security cars were everywhere.  Without warning, we’d be trapped in our homes for hours on end.

Having been given sufficient heads up, the neighborhood took this in stride; treating it not unlike a hurricane advisory.  They laid in bread, liquor and milk, and taped up the windows.  I honestly think the leader of my HOA wept at how good our lawns all looked, thanks to her enforcement efforts, knowing that the President and his family might, just might, catch a glance at them rolling by.

With such a landmark national event going on in such close proximity — dozens of swanky delegate parties, black tie fund raisers and glittering media meet and greets — it was virtually impossible not to become involved.  You won’t be surprised to learn that I managed to avoid the entire thing.  I was traveling for work.

And what I have to blog about is this — the hotel I stayed at and the scratches on the toilet seat covers.  As if some huge rabid rodent had mauled them furiously, savagely, for hours on end.  Feathery clouds of deep grooved scratches.  Just the tops though, as if the lids were all down when the rodents attacked.  Or perhaps the rodents feared water.  And it was a nice hotel too… Very modern. Very CB2.  And the scratches were in all the rooms.  I know this because I made all of the colleagues traveling with me show me the tops of their toilet lids too.

This begs the question “Why?”  I spent the entire trip obsessing about it and polling others for their theories.  I did everything but actually ask the hotel staff.  The exhaustive effort has led me to three possible theories:

Theory 1: Thrift.  Having splurged the entire amenities budget on bold pop art wall prints and art deco light fixtures, Rudy, the lead designer for the Junior Executive suites, realized he’d have to cut corners somewhere. Perhaps by skimping on new toilet seat covers and acquiring “vintage” (or up-cycled or whatever the Hell word we’re using to describe junk these days) from another hotel that had recently been torn down.

Theory 2: Ghosts. My co-project lead, Mike, said he heard something scratching at the door of the room above him most of the first two nights. He thinks it was a very small breed of dog shut inside the room.  But, the hotel is not pet friendly, and this, paired with the mysterious scratches, leads me to theory two… The vengeful ghost of a former guest’s deceased pet.

Imagine, if you will, a capybara named Clementine, left alone and crated, hidden away by her owner due to the no pets policy.  All is well, until the terrible, tragic fire.  Overlooked by the rescue crew, Clementine perishes in the flames.  Perishes… only to return a dozen years later on the anniversary of her death, and gain revenge against hotel management by clawing up the toilet seats.

Mike thought this was utter nonsense when I shared it during the brainstorming session I led on the toilet seat scratch topic the next morning.  He apparently believes in neither ghosts nor capybaras.  His theory, which we’ll label Theory 3: Abrasive Cleaning Agent, is that someone on the cleaning crew ordered the wrong kind of scouring pads one week, and only realized their mistake the following day when they saw the plastic in all the rooms was marked up.

I include Theory Three here only to keep Mike’s spirits bolstered.   I like my theory better… The revenant of an enraged rodent of unusual size roaming the hallways at night… Tormented, alone and seeking vindication for some horrible wrong done in the past…

Clementine, oh, Clementine.

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