Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Wandering Drunk

For six years, I've worked the graveyard shift behind the front desk at a major hotel in the seaside resort town of Newport, Rhode Island. This has given me the opportunity to observe the actions of literally thousands of inebriated people.

One fortunately rare type of inebriate is one I call the Wandering Drunk. The Wandering Drunk is always thoroughly intoxicated, often to the point of being barely able to stand upright. The Wandering Drunk's M.O. is to wander up and down the halls of the hotel, looking for his (the Wandering Drunk is usually, though not always, male) room. He will continue to do so for as long as he is allowed, or until his alcohol intake catches up with him and he passes out on the floor.

The reason the Wandering Drunk can never find his room is because he's in the wrong hotel. A conversation with the Wandering Drunk will usually go something like this:

WD: I can't find my room.

Me: What room number are you in?

WD: I'm in room 1088.

Me: We don't have a room 1088. Which hotel are you staying at?

WD: This one.

Me: No, you're not staying at this one because we don't have a room 1088. Which hotel are you staying at?

WD: This one.

Once the Wandering Drunk has finally been persuaded to give the name of his hotel, the security guard will escort him out the front door and give him directions there. This doesn't always work. Usually, the Wandering Drunk will stagger around the hotel parking lot for a while, then stagger back into the hotel and once again start looking for his room. This can happen multiple times. Only when the security guard has actually escorted the Wandering Drunk entirely off of hotel property is it fairly certain he won't be back.