From the sublime: in a Las Vegas casino...
On returning to my room, having parted with a great deal of money for what actually amounts to a protracted lesson in basic addition at a green baize covered table, I get that sinking feeling that suggests I don't actually have the means of gaining entry to it. I perform the pathetic yet time honoured mime of finding the object of one's desire - a sort of Marcel Marceau homage to the gods of lost things. A subsequent search of the pockets reveals a driving licence, three hundred and sixteen dollars and forty-seven cents, and what appears to be a bus ticket.
This latter item is a mystery to me, since I do not willingly avail myself of this particular form of hoi-polloi transport - especially having sat, horrified and transfixed, through a collague's description of his morning journey amongst the likes of Cough-lady, Twitcher, Munter and Headphone-bloke. Perhaps someone else has been borrowing my trousers for illicit midnight charabanc shenanigans. Eurgh!
I haul my not inconsiderable ass (hotel food, y'know) unwillingly to reception and join a fetid queue of potential gamblers, moist with the anticipation of checking in to this temple of money-loss. Bleak depression settles on me - I must rise above this...
Finally, its my turn. I approach the besuited individual resplendent behind his crumbling Formica fronted counter, and announce in my best "English upper class twit" accent (a cross between Terry Thomas, John Cleese and Hugh Grant, if you simply must know) "Helleaux my good fellow. I find myself embarrassed to inform you that I appear to have denied myself access to my temporary abode by the simple expedient of leaving my Key-card within its confines prior to exiting. Do you think you might provide me with a replacement, or other means of entry therein?"
Randy, as his name badge proclaims him to be, regards me with a drooping visage that would not only be the envy of that paragon of enthusiasm Sir Clement Freud, but would probably stir feelings of jealousy in the breast of "Henry", the minced-morsel loving hound with whom he made several television advertisements. "Do you have any identification?" he asks me?
I ruthlessly suppress an overwhelming desire to prove myself "Saint Michael" by flashing Randy the name sewn into my underpants. Partially because I know there to be no person of that name checked into the Casino, and partially because we are on day three of the "chuddie stock rotation plan". Still, that does mean that the label is at the front, on the outside. Instead, I present my driving licence. Wordlessly, I am handed a replacement room key. Almost weeping with gratitude, still I can't resist: "Thank you, splendid fellow. I must profess myself both grateful and embarrassed, but at least I'm not naked, ha ha. What?".
The eyes swivel my way, creaking in their sockets, as Randy declares "Oh my. You would not believe how often THAT happens". It is more than likely that Douglas Adams met this man while dreaming up the character of Marvin the Paranoid Android.
To the ridiculous: in a San Francisco Airport Hotel
"Good morning Sir, how may I help you?" Tilly says to me through a smile framed by several thousand watts of pristine Californian dentistry.
"Ah, yes, good morning! My room card isn't letting me out of the parking garage, do you think that you could, um..."
"Yes, of course Sir!" Tilly throws away my card with a flourish, and runs a new one through the machine marked Parking, presenting it to me with another smile which threatens to burn my retinae.
"Er, thank you. And, that will get me in to my room too will it?" I ask rhetorically...
"Well no Sir, I didn't know you wanted room access too." ("Well, not simultaneously" I think to myself) "which room are you in?"
"Fifteen thirty-six, please" - knowing the drill here, I prepare the underwear for identification.
"Excellent." (swipe, swipe) "Thank you, your Royal Majesty Prince Bacon of Gerbrovia, you have a lovely day now." Yet another smile, and a proffered key-card.
"Oh, gosh, I'm terribly sorry. I meant fifteen sixty-three - I'm not actually Prince wossname, My name is Jockey-Thong XL (one of a three part set)".
(swipe, swipe, thrust) "Tsk. Here." The smile is replaced by a glare, though the candle power is, if anything, even higher.
Chastened, I have already snatched up the card and scuttled off to put out the flames in what remains of my hair after the scorching disdain has set fire to my precious golden locks before it occurs to me that security wise, Old Randy wasn't such a bad bloke...