Saturday, September 14, 2019

Random Rants: The Constant Pillow Fight at Hotels

We all know that traveling can be stressful. From long car rides in unfamiliar vehicles to going through security at the airport and putting up with last-minute gate changes when flying, it’s usually never simple to get from one destination to another. So, when you arrive at a new place for business or pleasure, you probably will be tired, antsy, and a little anxious.

Taking a trip can also mean staying in hotels. Whether you’re budgeting for a room at Motel 6 where they’ll leave the light on for you or you have some money to drop at the Hilton, it’s almost always a guarantee that you’ll have a pillow fight on your hands. No, I’m not talking about actually fighting your brother or significant other with pillows in the hotel room (unless you’re into that). Rather, I’m referring to battling with the pillow itself all night.

It seems as if there are absolutely zero hotels that exist on our vast planet offering comfortable pillows. A pillow might be too firm. It might be too lumpy. It might be too soft, too small, or just plain weird in texture. This means tossing and turning in order to find the most obscure angle at which to position your head and neck in order to feel a fraction of comfort while you try to catch some z’s.

Many hotels will also put four pillows on one bed, presumably assuming that their guests might be interested in stacking two pillows together or using one for leg or back support. In theory, this gives guests a little more flexibility, but it certainly doesn’t help most sleep. Two lumpy pillows are just as ridiculous as one.

It’s also worth mentioning that if I have the opportunity and space to do so, I’ll drag my own pillow with me on a trip, generally if it’s only a car ride away. Unfortunately, this isn’t really an option if you are flying and attempt to stuff a large pillow into an already jammed-packed suitcase.

I don’t like arguing, let alone fighting, with anyone or any object. When I’m out of town, I look for any comforts I can find. I’m still waiting for the day when I won’t have to put up a fight with such an inane item like a pillow one day when I’m just trying to get enough rest for my marketing conference for work or tour of Alcatraz the following day. If a hotel could promise this, I’d be the first one at their front desk checking in and swiping my key card to let me into a room of comfort.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Random Rants: Sneezes are as Unique as Snowflakes

When I was a junior at Palm Harbor University High School, I had a physics teacher named Dr. Wilson. He was a bit of a quirky gentleman (but aren’t all high school physics teachers?), and it was something he said that really stuck with me. The funny thing is that it had nothing to do with physics at all – or certainly was not part of the curriculum but, now that I think about it, could be tied to physics in some way.

One day, somebody sneezed in our class. It must have been a loud one that caught everyone’s attention in the middle of a lecture. Dr. Wilson and some of the students were quick to “bless” the sneezer, but that wasn’t the end of the acknowledgement as it normally would be. Instead, Dr. Wilson spent a minute or two talking about sneezes. He talked about how differently some people sneeze, from a very soft-sounding sneeze that might be confused for a cough to a very violent sneeze that is practically alarming to those around the culprit and could literally cause an injury to one’s neck.

This one quick discussion got me thinking about a few things. Obviously, males and females seem to have noticeably different sneezes. The same can be said about younger kids compared to older individuals. Some people only sneeze once or twice during an “attack,” while others can keep the “sneezin’ mo-jo” going for more than just a split second.

I sometimes wonder how someone’s sneezes and personality stack up. Are “violent” sneezers who put their whole body into this natural event generally louder, more boisterous individuals? Are those who hardly make a peep typically soft spoken and fall into the category of introverts? Based on my observations, it doesn’t seem like you can draw a perfect line between a person’s sneeze and their overall characteristics. I’ve met some people who constantly use an “outside voice” whose sneezes are barely detectable. On the flipside, I know of those whose voices can barely be heard but can let loose with the best of them when sneezing.

This is why in my view, sneezes are like snowflakes. Each human being has a slightly different sneeze. Whether it’s a loud “ahh-choo” or a modest squeak, it is fascinating how this human reaction to various conditions can vary so much.

So, the next time you hear someone sneeze, do a quick mental evaluation to see if you expected or were surprised by the sound they made. There’s a good chance you’ll be surprised.