From the Other Side
Aug. 29, 2008

"Hello? Is this the Holly Days Inn Express in Boulder?"

"Yes sir, how can I help you, sir?"

"Please tell me you have a room!"

"We do indeed. Smoking or non?"

"Non. Do you allow pets?"

"Oh, I’m sorry, sir, all our pet-friendly rooms have been taken."

"But they’re not trouble at all, really."

"I’m sorry, I can’t change the rules."

"Look, it’s just a Lab. An old Lab. She’s 14. She won’t cause any fuss."

"You just said ‘they.’ Now you say it’s just one."

"Oh, did I? I misspoke. Just one. Daisy. Isn’t that a pretty name? She’s 14. You know, that’s 98 in human years. She’s learned a lot in that time, like not to chew stuff or wet the floor."

*Awkward silence* "Well, again, I’m sorry. I can’t change the policies of my employers."

"Fine, then. I’ll just leave them in the back of the truck. The two dogs and the cat. Give me a room for two and a single, please."

"Sir, I told you, no pets…"

"No, no, the single is for my mother."


"Oh, stop it. You can come check to make sure it’s her."

"I believe you. Do you have a credit card to reserve the rooms?"

"Here you go." (Reads number to clerk. What, you think I’m stupid or something?)

"Listen, is your hotel one of those where all the rooms are under one roof from the lobby, or one of the old style where you drive around to your room and all the doors face outside?"

"Why do you ask, sir?"

"Just curious. Easier to carry luggage, you know."

"You wouldn’t be considering sneaking your pets in, would you?"

"Of course not! Madam, I will have you know I am a 28-year journalist and upstanding member of this community – depending on who you ask, I can provide references – have never been arrested or sued. I resent your implication."

"I apologize. All our room entrances are inside."

*Awkward silence*

"Sir? Are you there? Do you still want your room?"

"Are there any other hotels around you that might have vacancies that have doors opening to the outside?"

"According to my computer network of hospitality venues, there are no more hotel rooms meeting your specifications, sir."

"OK, sign me up."

"When will you be arriving for check-in?"

"I don’t know exactly. I’ve been sitting here in Alexandria idling away about eighty bucks worth of gas for the last four hours."

"It’s okay, we’ll say this time tomorrow."

"Say, did you watch the news reports on CNN about Hurricane Katrina?"

"Why, I did, sir. Very tragic, wasn’t it?"

"Absolutely. To me, just as a bystander and a good Christian soul, the heartbreaking thing was all the abandoned dogs and cats."

"Well, I…"

"I mean, can you imagine the terror a poor housedog would go through, all that howling wind and the water rising. Horrible! And then their owners were scattered to the four directions and couldn’t come back for them. Completely horrible."

"But I…"

"So certainly you can see why I simply couldn’t leave my beloved pets home to weather Hurricane Gustav alone. It would be inhumane. It would be cruel. Don’t you agree?"

"Really, there’s nothing I can do, sir. I could lose my job."

"I understand. Wouldn’t want that to happen. Listen, I’m just wondering…there must be a back entrance to the building, huh? You know, the cleaning staff and such to go through."

"There is but it’s always locked and only supervisors have the key."

"Oh, that’s a great safety measure. It must lock when you shut it going out."

"Yes, sir."

"Interesting. Oh, one more thing."


"I forgot to mention my children will be staying."

"Children stay free, sir."

"Oh, that’s great news."


"Yes, ma’am?"

"I don’t mean to disrespect you again…"


"Are you planning on stopping at a Wal-Mart and finding children’s clothing to fit your dogs and cat and try to sneak them in here?"

*Awkward silence* "Of course not. They can’t walk on two legs, silly."

"Oh. Whew! I was worried there for a minute."

"Besides, our children are infants and toddlers. They’re in strollers."

"Uh-huh. And if someone bent over to see your babies, how would you explain the long noses and fur?"


"Excuse me?"

"Excessive hairiness. That’s where the legend of lycanthropy came from."


"Lycanthropy. Werewolves. See, some children – like ours – have this genetic thing that makes them covered with hair. So people thought they were werewolves. Luckily, my children don’t have such a stigma. We keep them trimmed and flea-bathed."


"Not buying it, are you?"

"No, sir."

*Raising voice* "Heck, what the heck kind of country have we turned into, anyway? Oh sure, you watch the television and they show all these happy families with their kids and their two-car garages and their American dreams which include a dog that catches Frisbees and a cat that rubs against the mommy’s ankles while she’s doing dishes but just let one stinking hurricane come into the Gulf of Mexico and swoosh! There goes the American dream! Oh yeah! Your pets are fine and cute and cuddly until they bite the postman, doo-doo in your petunias or you have to evacuate for a hurricane, is that it, lady? Well, let me tell you something, this country was founded on the principles of equal rights for pet owners. Yeah. Yeah! You think I’m making this up? Go read your history. It’s in there. You’ll find it. Look hard. A country that has always prided itself on its pets, and how we care for them, how we chastise other nations for their treatment of our feline and canine friends, and we can’t get a room for them with a Category 5 hurricane bearing down our throats. Is that democracy? Is that civilized? By thunder, is that the ethical treatment of animals?"



"While you were making your speech, another agent just booked our last room. According to the hospitality reservation network, the next motel room available is…Yellowstone, Wyoming."

*Awkward silence*

"Sir…sir…are you there, sir?"


"Are you okay?"


"What’s wrong?"


"Sir? It’s just that what?"

"…I…didn’t…pack…the…fly rods!"