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Sunday, January 16, 2011

13th Floor Foibles

Should I be bothered that this was my hotel shower curtain? I'm sure it's fine.
Is it just me or is it supremely stupid that there was no 13th floor on the hotel I stayed at last week? Wait, let me correct that: There was no Floor #13. There was, of course, a 13th floor and it was Floor #14, my floor. You can put whatever number  on it that you want, but the floor that comes after #12 is still the 13th floor.

What century are we living in? (No, really, do you know? Because I can never figure out if you add or subtract one after dividing the year by 100.) To avoid putting unlucky 13 on a hotel floor is admitting to believing in one of the more ridiculous superstitions.

I spouted off about this every time we got in the elevator to go up and I was unprepared to get off so quickly. It gave us something to talk about besides my son’s diatribe on the Elevator Door Close Button Scam of the 20th Century (or is that the 18th Century?). He believes that the Door Close Button does absolutely nothing and is only in there to make people feel more powerful and in control of their elevator and, in turn, of their trip in general. He may not be able to change the thermostat in his room, work the mini-coffee-maker or get the alarm clock to go off in time for him to get to the meeting that this whole trip is about, but damnit, he can try to close that elevator door, so the talkative creepy guy doesn’t get on.

Why would hotels cater to such an old fashioned superstition and skip 13 in the numbering of floors? “God forbid you should offend anyone in your market,” said Joe McInerney, CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, in a 19th-or-21st-century USA Today article. Even if the people in that market are hanging dead chickens over their doors back home?

Only 13 percent of people would be bothered by getting a room assigned on the 13th floor, a survey in USA Today said.

I imagine if they gave the rooms on the 13th floor working alarm clocks and decent coffee makers, they might be able to fill them up. And how about a Door Close Button that works only on Floor 13? We’d be lining up.

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