I have never spent a single, solitary night in a hostel of any kind.
A non sequitur? I think not.
¿Que? You might ask—that is, if you spoke Spanish.
(English translation: “Whatcha talking about Willis?”)
But, when it comes to sleeping in multi-bunked beds, sharing coed bathrooms, cooking in a common kitchen, and arguing what to watch on TV, well, I’ve been around.
It just so happens it was not during travel for travel’s sake but during 30 years of employment that required these kinds of living conditions. (No, it was not with a bunch of guys wearing camo and carrying guns.)
My imagined expertise is also a result of research from some of the finest sources of cheap online information.
The first reference is from the famous world-wandering hostelerist, Nomadic Matt, who has recently published the definitive guide to Hostel Etiquette. Matt, in his normal manner, provides a polite path to public living in shared living spaces, while he travels the planet.
Then, there is a slightly more edgy version of hostel etiquette from someone who is a real life, professionally paid and published guidebook author, but albeit sometimes, somewhat of a global circumnavigating curmudgeon, especially when agitated by the dis-etiquetted tourist within his sphere of annoyance. What would you expect from someone who Kills Batteries?
So, armed with that personal experience and outside expertise, I must conclude that I have little desire to ever stay in a hostel and let me assure you…you really, really don’t want me there with you, anyway.
And to prove my point, here is the ubiquitous list of The Top Ten…
The Top Ten Reasons Why You Don’t Want Me Staying With You In A Hostel
1.) Apparently, according to my extensive web research, making “excessive” noise in any fashion is considered a faux pas. We can start with the ruckus I make while I am sound asleep. Let’s just say, if our hostel were situated directly on an edge of the ocean with typhoon-strength waves crashing onto the rocky shore, with the windows wide open…you would still hear the crescendo of my nasal concerto. I have had people who refused to sleep in a room even NEXT to mine.
And even if the place was right next to an outdoor explosives testing facility…still me…
2.) Bathroom tenure and cleanliness are clear concerns with hostel dwellers. I have oft mentioned my overly hirsute condition, or in other words, use the bathroom after me and expect to find a scattering of little dark hairs—some curlier than others—on the floor, in and around the toilet bowl, in the general vicinity of the sink, and in a clogging mat over the shower drain, looking all too much like a recent road kill.
3.) On the issue of night disturbances, when you get to a certain age, having only looked at a picture of a glass of water will cause at least five noisy trips to the bathroom during the night.
And to exasperate the matter, since I only sleep of five or six hours a night, shortly after you come in from your evening out and have settled in for a long desired sleep, I will be getting up before the crack of dawn, futzing with crinkly plastic storage bags, multiple zippers, and other sleep-disturbing items as I pack up.
4.) Another sign of the aging process is hearing loss; this is where every conversation involves yelling at the level usually reserved for football games (either the American or international variety). The corollary to this problem is that you will be asked to repeat, repeatedly, anything you might say to me, or I even think you are saying to me.
5.) And in an inexplicable antithesis to the previous item, I will likely ask you to turn down what ever music you might happen to be enjoying, even if you are using ear buds with the volume turned down to level 2. Go figure.
6.) You should plan on me bugging you for the instructions as how to use the one and only computer in the hostel, as I ask you where the pictures went that I downloaded to email to my daughters, all the while whining about them never returning my emails or calls.
Also, you can expect me to describe in mind-numbing detail the litany of my bodily demise, especially my lack of satisfaction with my bowel movements.
7.) At least one of the articles on etiquette mentioned the auditory and olfactory displeasure with someone who might happen to have gaseous leakage. I distinctly remember when my dad was at the age where sometimes he would toot with every step he would take. My sister and I would think that was hilarious.
Yes, you guessed it: how funny will you find it when it is me doing it as I walk by your bunk, or worse yet, your seat at the breakfast table?
Mr. Killing Batteries had this to say about that from his list of hostel etiquette,
“18. Spontaneous farting is only funny under very precise circumstances. It requires exquisite comic timing that most of you don’t have, so better to just save yourself the embarrassment and do the slow release or, better yet, leave the room.”
8.) Another topic is regarding who would have charge of the communal television remote control. Well, since I am prone to dine during the prime dinner time of around 5 p.m., by the time you come in, I will already be watching some exciting six hour show on the History Channel, that is while I am not napping—and snoring—in the only comfortable chair in the room.
You will also come in to likely find me with my hand down somewhere in front, scratching whatever, as is the age-old tradition among men. You just have to hope I have been operating the TV remote with my OTHER hand.
9.) Expect to hear numerous random noises emanating from my bunk. I tend to moan when I go to bed, when I get up, and sometimes between. Please, don’t let the cracking sounds coming from my joints discombobulate you. Also, people my age tend to yawn big, loud and long, which is often accompanied by certain follow-up sounds, kind of like aftershocks for emphasis that we are yawning.
10.) And lastly, hostel nudity is often mentioned as an undesirable trait. At my age, you might expect me to forget where I was and to get up to go to the bathroom, or be returning from there, with little on, save my slippers. Just try to picture your friends if they happened to come upon your parents in that state of affairs.
And we won’t even broach the subject of old people doing the nasty in the bunk right next to yours…
Can you say permanent psychological damage?