May 8: Munich

This is how movements get started…

The most gratifying thing as a writer and musician is the moment you know–really know–you’ve connected with your audience.

Apparently, my May 7 blog resonated powerfully with many readers. In the past twenty-four hours, musicians and lay people alike, some of them people I hardly know, have unburdened themselves to me, revealing personal stories of struggle and loss against a common enemy: the hotel shower. One musician told of a flooded bathroom, another of the stinging humiliation of having to call the front desk to show him how to turn on the shower. The stories goes on and on…

What it shows me is that there are many more like us than we thought. Many who have remained silent, in the shadows. Many who have suffered, not only from hotel showers, but from automated toilets with instructions in Japanese, from light switches that turn on nothing and lights that have no switches, from electronically controlled window curtains whose switches are hidden somewhere in the room but not near the window, from windows that have handles but don’t open, from automatic wake-up calls that come two hours early, from air conditioning operating instructions more cryptic than the Rosetta Stone. And worst of all, from TV remote controls (like the one I’m looking at right now) that say: energy, a/v mode, input, TV/rad, list, q.view, mark, ratio, page, guide, portal, info, menu, exit, text, t.opt, subtitle,, ad, and alarm–when all I want to do is watch the news. I’m afraid that if I push the wrong button the shower is going to turn on.

To show you how conditioned we’ve become to unquestioningly accept technology, one time I got into bed the first night in a Japanese hotel. As soon as I lay down the bed started vibrating. A massage bed! Felt great. After it stopped vibrating I looked for the on-off switch. There was none. It had been an earthquake.

Look how well green-yellow-red have worked for traffic lights around the world! No need to reinvent that wheel. What would be so bad with a universal on-off? Hot-cold? Maybe it’s time to stand up to the hospitality-technology complex. Maybe it’s time to say: “No More!”

Please feel free to share your stories of hotel room travails. I’ll be happy to reprint them if you want me to. They’re all pretty funny.

And don’t forget about the caption contest!!! For a chance to win a great prize, send me your caption to this photo:



(For details, check yesterday’s blog.)


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