Letter from Bill Moggridge to Cass Moggridge (Bill’s sister-in-law), 23rd of June (year not given).
Well I suppose I must tell you the story of my terrible adventure in Kalamazoo. Kalamazoo sounds as if it should be in the middle of the Sahara desert doesn’t it, but it is in the flat lands of Michigan between three of the great lakes.
I was staying in the Sheraton hotel in one of those hotel rooms on the sixth floor which was entirely indistinguishable from all those other hotel rooms on the sixth floor of any Sheraton anywhere. I went to sleep at about 11.30 pm and slept soundly for a time; then woke up suddenly, put on the light and walked straight to the door of the hotel room. I opened it and checked that the corridor was empty and then took half a step forward. I can still feel the sensation of the door pushing against my bottom and gently propelling me into the corridor, followed by that inexorable click as it shut leaving me in the corridor without a stitch of clothing on.
My room was near the lift so I thought it would be wise to head off in the other direction in search of an open door to a laundry cupboard with a towel in or something, or perhaps a waste paper basket, or a polythene bag, or anything.
The corridor was completely empty; just locked doors and an ice machine, with an exit staircase at the end. I tried going up to the roof but even that was locked.
By this time I realized that I’d probably been woken by the urgent need to pee. But where? No receptacles visible, so I was forced to dismantle a wall mounted ashtray, which when duly filled I deposited on the exit staircase.
Well would the next floor down be exactly the same or would it offer some magical garment or covering? It was exactly the same of course – just locked doors and an ice machine. And so was the next and the next. Finally I arrived at the ground floor level and cautiously peered into the corridor, to find with some dismay that it could not be the witching hour as the music was still coming from the bar and that someone was walking along the corridor towards the bar and the reception desk beyond it.
There seemed no alternative to the parking lot. Quite cool and refreshing really. Round the back of the hotel I spied an enormous skip and thought. “Ah- lovely rubbish.” Lifting up the heavy steel lid I rummaged around inside, just reaching in by standing on tiptoe. And then the reward. Newspaper! Folding the sheets together I manufactured a sort of Hawaiian skirt; unfortunately it was not entirely secure so I had to walk with both elbows tucked in to hold it up.
I then marched into the hotel along past the bar and up to reception where a guest was talking to the receptionist. “ You’ll never believe this but I locked myself out of my room” was my explanation. The receptionist had never moved so fast I had another key in my hand within 3 seconds.
Then back past the bar, up in the lift, dressed, down the corridor, picked up my ashtray and brought it back, emptied cleaned and returned it, back to bed and fell into a dreamless sleep.
The poltergeist had not quite left however; before I got back to Palo Alto I missed 2 planes and got myself booked on another which had been cancelled for the last four months.
PS I hope you will be persuaded by Karin’s suggestion and take a week off (or two) with us.
submitted by Cass Moggridge