Monday, July 10, 2006

Do you know which way counter-clockwise is?

Thursday night we went out for some awesome Italian on Coronado Island, in San Diego bay. My choice:

Linguine Mare Chiaro - Thin flat pasta with clams, mussels, prawns and scallops; seasoned with tomatoes, crushed red pepper, garlic and trebbiano wine.

Yeah, just as good as it sounds. After dinner, we started to talk about the famous Hotel del Coronado located on the other side of the island. It's big, it's old, it wouldn't stand a chance against a match and some kerosene... And it's within walking distance, according to the valet guy.

valet guy (vă-lā' gī) n.
1. An employee, as in a hotel or on a ship, who performs personal services for guests or passengers.
2. A generally underpaid college student who fucks with tourists for fun and then tells his friends how he got 5 idiots to walk ALL THE WAY ACROSS the island to that dumb hotel.

So off we go, into the dark night, to walk to the big hotel, just a short walk away - it's just like a mile away, he said. Right - the half of an hour later we're still walking, mildly annoyed, and I gotta pee. So with the hotel still 11 blocks away (we called and they laughed at us), I dash across the street to a coffee shop to use the facilities. Two guys sat outside, either customers or employees, and tell me that they are closing soon, but yeah there's a bathroom I can use, no problem. The following is an account of what happened:

Me: Knocking on the bar as I walk in, "Hi, are you still open?"

The guy: Counting out his cash drawer, "No, close at 10."

Me: Since it's 9:50 and the neon OPEN sign is still on, "Oh sorry, do you have a restroom I can use?"

The guy: Pointing to unisex bathroom, "Sure, it's right there."

Me: "Thanks." I go in, pull the door closed and - this is important - turn the lock. I pee, I wash, I leave. Or so I think. I turn the lock back counter-clockwise, the opposite way from locking it, grasp the door handle and, turning it, push to open the door. The door does not open at this time. The handle merely turns loosely in my hand. So I keep turning the handle, waiting for it to catch, but it doesn't. I push again. Nothing. I turn the handle the other way, now starting to angle it, trying to get it to catch the mechanism inside, the whole process making a little more noise now. After about 20 - 30 seconds of fiddling I hear the guy outside.

The guy: Already bothered, "Turn it counter-clockwise."

Me: Turning the knob back counter-clockwise, "OK."

The guy: Very bothered, "Turn it counter-clockwise."

Me: Still turning, "It just spins. It's not doing anything."

The guy: Becoming agitated, "No. The lock. Turn it counter-clockwise."

Me: Oh, the lock. I grab the lock, which is already turned counter-clockwise (unlocked), and turn. It doesn't turn. I say, "It doesn't turn."

The guy: Indeed agitated, "Turn THE LOCK counter-clockwise. Do not push on the door."

Me: Wondering why I shouldn't push an outward-swinging door to open it, twisting harder now, not moving the lock, not pushing on the door, "It's not turning."

The guy: Angry, "Do not push on the door. DO YOU KNOW WHICH WAY COUNTER-CLOCKWISE IS???"

Me: Not-so-much-amused anymore, "Yeah, I know which way counter-clockwise is." Resisting the urge to quote lefty-loosey, righty-tighty, turning so hard I have red dents in my fingers.

The guy: Very angry, "DO NOT PUSH ON THE DOOR."

Me: Now pulling on the useless door knob and the tiny lock itself to somehow reverse my stupid pushing of the door. At the same time the guy, my nemesis, pushes on the door from the other side to releasing it from whatever lock-turn preventive position it was in. I grab and turn the lock (counter-clockwise) one last sliver of an inch, it clicks open, the door swings and I am free.

The guy: Angry, disgusted, oozing sarcasm, "There you go."

Me: Without so much as another word or backwards glance, I walk swiftly to the door and out into the night. Behind me I hear the unashamed laughter of the two guys sitting in front. They had heard the whole thing, and I don't think this was the first time it had happened.

20 minutes later we were on the other side of the island checking out the hotel, the beach. It was a pretty cool place and it did make the long walk and ordeal worthwhile. The breeze blew in from the ocean, the flags around the courtyard flowed and dipped, and a silver wind gauge spun...counter-clockwise.


Sarah said...

If you had been on the other side of the earthquater, I'm sure you would have gotten out of the stupid bathroom just fine... and the bar would have been open later.

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