Doggone It: or, How to Avoid being Kicked out of a Boston Hotel with a Service Animal

Thursday, April 12th, 5:00PM, Boston

I’m standing at the front desk in the Boston Copley Marriott with my friend and colleague, the lovely and talented K. Flush with the success of having completed the Sherlock Holmes book chapter we’ve been slaving over for the better part of this past year, we have arrived to present our labor of love at the 2012 conference of the Popular Culture Association. The day has been a haze of airports, metal detectors, and bad coffee. (I am still determining whether or not to grant amnesty to the Atlanta airport for that assault on my digestive system they called coffee). My guidedog is unceremoniously dripping rain-water on the highly polished lobby floor, and after months of anticipation, I’m thinking this is a rather inauspicious beginning to our adventure.

After determining which of the hotel’s approximately eight elevators will take us to our room and depositing our belongings, K and I descend to the lobby to discretely inquire where we might find a patch of grass for my dog to relieve his bladder. Being a suburban Floridian where foliage is plentiful, I have apparently underestimated the difficulty of locating greenery in downtown Boston. A severe-looking bellhop informs us that our only option is to walk around the corner of the hotel, which seems simple enough until K and I walk outside and discover that a: it’s still raining, and b: “around the corner” is actually about three blocks away. A simple trip outside has now become operation dogwalk, which we will execute about four times a day during the duration of our stay. (On Friday I will attempt, with only partial success, to execute operation dogwalk in high-heeled boots, a decision for which K will remonstrate with me in mingled amusement and exasperation). For now, we slosh through the puddle-dotted streets, dodging raindrops and the occasional pedestrian-oblivious driver, Zeus does what he set out to do, and we trudge back to the hotel. I am about to express my relief at being indoors when my dog, ever a paragon of poise and grace (except when he isn’t) performs a muddy paw-print prance across the lobby, shaking the water from his back and spraying a half-amused, half-disgruntled bellhop in the process.
“Bit wet out there, eh?” he remarks as we pass. Since my teeth are chattering with cold, I cannot smile without biting my tongue, so I settle on a nod of acknowledgement as we head for the bank of elevators that seem more at home in Panem’s District 13 than here.
“I think he shook his fist at us,” whispers K as the doors close behind us. She doesn’t think he’s actually angry; Zeus has probably managed to diffuse the situation with cuteness, but I wonder if there’s a button on the wall panel that will take us to a subbasement, since there doesn’t seem any hope of the earth opening and swallowing me whole. We’re going to be kicked out…and we haven’t even made it to the hotel bar yet.


After what will hereafter be referred to as the “lobby incident,” nothing—not even increasingly painful stabs of hunger—could convince me to leave my room, where I was content to hide my face in shame for the remainder of my stay (assuming, of course, that we weren’t going to be asked to leave, or at the very least to mop the floor). It was with the suggestion of alcohol and the assurance that the hotel’s restaurant’s location on the 2nd floor would allow us to avoid another encounter with the wet bellhop that K coaxed me to leave. We ate a celebratory “hurrah, we are in Boston and will kick ass tomorrow” dinner in the hotel restaurant, where I am compelled to emphasize that we partook of only one adult beverage each. Note this for future reference: it will become important later in the story.

After another trek to the poop park to avoid potential dog-related shit hitting the fan, we popped into 7-11 to obtain alcohol only to remember that grocery and convenience stores in the North do not carry alcohol. From the perspective of the girl who runs into her local grocery at 12:45PM on a Sunday for a bottle of wine and purposely spends an unnecessary amount of time deliberating over red or white until 1:00PM so she can purchase said wine under Florida law, I found the resignation of returning to the hotel from an aborted mission to obtain adult beverages just a little sad.

In any case, we are now snugly settled in our room for the night, depressed by, well, our failure to obtain depressants. We discuss what time we should be up and about the following morning, and K heads for the bathroom to brush her teeth.

K: We have a problem.
Me (pausing in the search for my own toothbrush, which I suspect might be buried in the dog food): What’s the matter now?
K: it’s…the bathroom door.
Me: What’s wrong with it?
K: It’s stuck. I think it’s locked.
Side Note: the bathroom door is a sliding contraption with no outer handle–just a screw to indicate where the inside lock has probably, and, inexplicably, gotten stuck. Additional note: alcohol has been consumed only in limited quantities–see above.
Me: but that’s impossible. It can’t just lock itself. Are you sure?
K: Well, I can’t open it.
Me: Let me try. (Pull, grunt, insert four-letter expletive of your choice. Lather, rinse, repeat).
Zeus: looks on in bewilderment at strange humanoid antics.
Me: Um, you’re right. It’s locked.
K: (in v. “Thank you, Captain Obvious” tone)I told you it was.
Me: Well, I just wanted to be sure. I guess we should call the front desk.
K: Which would be fine, but I don’t see any numbers posted anywhere.

We begin searching for paper containing need-to-know information. We discover a room-service menu advertising Eggs Benedict for the reasonable price of $17.00. (Let it be known that unless the Benedict associated with said eggs is one named Cumberbatch, I cannot justify the cost).

K: I’ve found something. This says to call “at your service, and we’ll be happy to assist you.” Which would be great, except there’s no number listed.
Me: Maybe there are dialing instructions on the phone?
K: I don’t see any.
Me: Are you sure? (Pointing to phone on nightstand).
K: Oh my god, there are two phones. (Walks over to examine keypad) and, there’s a button labeled “At your service” right here on this phone. What a waste of time!
Me: Just so we’re clear on this, I’m the blind one, right? But wait…what phone were you using? I’m confused.
K: This one, over here (pointing to phone at the other side of the room).
Me: I…what?

Apparently, for reasons clear only to the hotel staff, there are two phones approximately 10 feet from each other, both of which connect to the same line, rendering the necessity of two phones essentially pointless, what with this being the 21st century and all, where people need to be surgically detached from their portable electronic devices. I want to laugh, but consider banning this activity until the bathroom door has been unlocked, because I’m not sure my bladder can withstand the unnecessary pressure.

K has successfully placed a call to the front desk, after which we endure an agonizing waiting period. Finally two men from the maintenance staff arrive, screwdriver in hand, and the path to the porcelain throne is unbarred, much to our relief.

Me: Well, we’re off to an interesting start.
K: That was weird. Two strange guys with screwdrivers just came into our room, at 1:00 in the morning.
Me: and I wasn’t wearing a bra. V. awkward, that.
The only thought I can form as I crawl into bed is “Thank god they haven’t kicked us out…yet.”

Coming soon: Episode 2 of the Boston Chronicles-stay tuned!


  1. breezyk said

    haha my favourite was the bit about deciding over red or white until 1:00pm so you were allowed to buy the wine. That is Klassy with a K for sure.
    Can’t wait to hear more of your adventures 🙂

    • poetprodigy7 said

      Right. I’m just an alcoholic with a law-abiding problem. 😉

  2. Loved this post! Always was tricky finding a spot for relieving… Also next time pack tools so you can open the bathroom door yourself 😀

  3. John said

    That first entry was a lot of fun! The bathroom incident reminds me of a trip I took with a program in undergrad. I did something in our hotel room to knock the toilet seat offline, and I hadn’t realized I was to blame even as the others in the room questioned me about it. We had a mock court trial in which each person presented evidence as to why he hadn’t done it, and it was only then that I finally recalled having nearly fallen out of the shower and my wild attempts to grab anything to stop me on the way down. lol It was 5 AM and I was practically still asleep!

  4. And this is only the begining! What adventures we have! I look forward to the next update 😉

    • poetprodigy7 said

      Ha, that was my reaction too, re: tools. I don’t trust myself not to let that happen again.

  5. sandra said

    Finally got a chance to read. Oh dear, oh dear.

    • poetprodigy7 said

      I swear. The actual thing in realtime was funnier. It was like: Bridget and Shazer take on America.

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