Over the years, I’ve had some bad hostel roommates. They’ve been rude, messy, dirty, smelly, drunk, loud, and everything in between. Two girls in New Zealand were so bad they inspired me to write a post on hostel etiquette. But through it all, I’ve kept staying at hostels. I love hostels because of their gregarious social atmosphere. Hotels seem too sterile when compared with the energy and camaraderie of hostels. As I’ve gotten older, more set in my ways, and have become a lighter sleeper, I’ve often thought to myself, “Why do I stay in dorm rooms? I’m so over them.” But then I book one more night because I don’t want to pay extra for a private room. (Though I do get out of hostels and into hotels when I need a work break).
But that feeling changed when I had the shittiest roommate of all time. Hostel dorm rooms and I are now on an indefinite break.
Let me explain why (and warn you now that I wouldn’t be eating while reading this):
It all began on a lovely Barcelona Monday morning in September. I was enjoying a nice sleep, dreaming one of my typical surreal dreams — dreams that have me being Batman one moment and escaping aliens on ancient clipper ships in another. Awoken by a loud banging from using my superpowers to fight bad guys, I looked at my phone: 7:30am. The banging from the door continued. Groggy from sleep, I woke up, wished someone else had heard the noise instead of me, got out of bed, and opened the door. My Brazilian dorm mate standing in his towel said, “Sorry,” and rushed into the room.
This was the latest event on a long list of weekend rudeness. I was traveling with my friend Kiersten, and we had been staying four nights in a dorm with this Brazilian and his friend. They snored, turned the lights on at night, came home drunk, talked loudly, proposed marriage to Kiersten, and were very messy. We were happy to be checking out of the room that day.
After letting the Brazilian in, I went back to my bed, and just as I was about to lie down, I caught an odious whiff of something. “What is that smell? Why does it smell like shit?” I said to myself. I looked everywhere and couldn’t place it. I hadn’t pooped myself in my sleep. Being half asleep only added to my confusion.
“What is going on?”
I was perplexed.
Then I smelled my hand.
“Why does my hand smell like shit?” I thought.
I was now even more confused. I got back up and turned on the lights to the dorm.
And that’s when I noticed it. I had shit on my hand.
Because there was shit on the door handle.
And a poop trail back to the large Brazilian’s bed.
I stared in shock at my hand and turned to him. Catching my gaze, he looked at me and said, “I just got in, dude. I just got in!!!” He was playing dumb.
Now I understood why he was showering so early in the morning — he had shit himself, touched the doorknob on the way to the bathroom (in what I can only hope was a drunken accident because who would do that on purpose?!), and locked himself out of the room, leaving me as the unfortunate roommate to open the door. One can only imagine the reaction (eardrum-shattering shrieks) if one of the girls in the dorm had been the unfortunate one.
“I just got in, dude,” was all he kept saying to me, trying to pretend that he wasn’t clearly the cause of this mess.
“You shit yourself in bed and then grabbed the door handle! That is fucking disgusting! And just rude!” I swore, horrified and disgusted by this whole event.
I ran to the bathroom and sanitized the crap out of my hand (pun intended). I scrubbed to what felt like the bone. Grabbing a roll of toilet paper, I walked back to the room, noticed a dirty mattress outside the room, and opened the door.
The trail of shit to the bed was gone, but the inner door knob was not clean. “It wasn’t me,” the Brazilian guy said, trying to prove his innocence despite being caught in the act of cleaning the scene of his crime. Disgusted, I cleaned the doorknob myself, using all my remaining hand sanitizer and toilet paper.
I went back and washed my hands again, and then again, and then once more for good measure.
As I went back to the room, I looked into the dorm next door, as the door was wide open. Not a bed was missing. Inside my dorm, the Brazilian had fallen into a drunken sleep on a mattress. To this day, I still don’t know where that mattress in the hall came from. My roommate had managed to find a clean mattress somehow.
Back in my newly cleaned room, I lay back down on my bed and tried to sleep a little more.
Kiersten, who was in the dorm above me, didn’t believe me when I told her this story later in the morning, but upon seeing a missed poop stain on the floor and a brown handprint on my dorm curtain (which I innocently grabbed before I knew what was on my hand and ripped off my bed after I knew), she freaked out and exclaimed, “Thank God we are checking out today.”
As we left the hostel that day, I hailed a cab.
“The W Hotel,” I said.
As I stepped into the cab, I couldn’t have been happier to move from a hostel to a hotel. A shit-free future awaited me.
P.S. I’m not naming the hostel because it’s a really good one, and I had a great time there. This could have happened to anyone in any dorm in the world.
P.P.S. There were curtains on the bunk beds so people wouldn’t wake up, and light was already coming into the room from the poorly shaded window, so I wasn’t worried about waking anyone up.
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