Note: This story involves strangers and awkward conversations that would have been weird to photograph. Thus, all visuals are (admittedly, pretty terrible) hand-drawn cartoons.
Dorm rooms in hostels are a gamble. When you check in, you really hope that the strangers you are about to inhabit a tiny space with are cool people.
And with the Dorm Hostel Roommate Crapshoot, you win some and you lose some.
Unfortunately, we lost during our stay in Frankfurt.
But hey. One man’s night of horrible sleep is another man’s treasure. So enjoy our story.
Let’s start with the bed stealer.
At this particular hostel, you know that a given bed is available because it’s just a bare mattress with a pile of linens on it. You claim your bed by dressing it (with a fitted sheet, duvet cover, and pillowcase), and then you slip your name in a little plastic sleeve on the side of the bed so everybody knows to back off.
(Which seems like a really clear-cut system! Kudos, hostel. So clever!)
So Michael and I snag the last two bottom bunks. (Everybody knows top bunks are for suckers.) We put linens on the beds, name tags in the sleeves, and our bags in the lockers. Then we head out to see the city.
We come back a few hours later and there is some rando in my bed curled up under the covers. And it’s not like she was immediately jumping up, embarrassed that I caught her napping in my bed Goldilocks-style. She barely even looked at us.
Okayyyy. Surely this is a simple misunderstanding.
Me: “Oh hey, that’s my bed” (Doing my best “oops” shoulder shrug and pointing to my name in the sleeve)
Her: (Glancing over) “Oh, that’s your name?”
Me: “Yep.” (Sooooo go ahead and move, please and thanks)
Her: “But this is my bed.”
Me: (Thinking she just didn’t understand the system, despite this being VERY clearly explained during the check-in process.) “Oh. I think you have to claim an empty bed. You put the sheets on and then put your name in the sleeve. That’s what I did here, so this is my bed. That one (pointing to the last empty bed with an empty name tag sleeve) must be your bed.”
Her: “Yeah well, I’m not moving. Because this is my bed.”
It was like asking your roommate if they ate your Cheetos and they’re like “Nope!” But then you look and there’s orange dust all over their fingers. And wait a minute, they’re actually still holding the bag and actively munching on your Cheetos right in front of your face.
GAHHHH. I wanted to yell at this girl:
But instead, I moved over to the empty (top bunk) bed. Because I am a sucker. And for the second time that day, I put all the linen on the bed, put my name tag in the sleeve, and put my bag in the locker.
Grumble grumble Cheeto eating bed stealer.
I’m going to enjoy my time in Frankfurt. Byeeee.
We avoided going in the room for the rest of the day.
So when Michael and I went to bed around midnight, we’re fully expecting to have to tiptoe really quietly and use our phones as flashlights and be considerate of the other 4 people in the room who are probably already sleeping.
We opened the door and the huge fluorescent ceiling light is still on.
Yes, two people were already in bed… presumably trying to sleep? Of note: The girl/monster who stole my bed has mysteriously vanished (wat?!?), and now someone else is sleeping in that bed (wait, who is that guy?? what is going on here?!?)
Sigh. Whatever. My new bed was still empty. (It was also still a top bunk. And I was still a sucker.)
But now the ceiling light is the new confusing issue.
Why is that still on? There are individual reading lights at every single bed. Doesn’t it just make sense to use your tiny, less in-everyone-else’s-eyeballs light when other people are trying to sleep? Soooo why isn’t that happening…?
The two girls that are still awake appear to be getting ready for bed, so we just kinda tuck under the covers and assume that, as the last people to go to sleep, they’ll turn the light off like regular humans.
NOPE. We were mistaken. They never turned the light off! And one of them talked on the phone for 3 hours, from 1:00 to 4:00 in the morning. In a room full of strangers. Like whattttttt are you doing???
I ended up sleeping with a jacket tied over my head and earplugs stuffed so far into my ear canals that I was worried a doctor might have to surgically remove them the next morning.
(Michael is the real hero of this story. He eventually got up to pee and just turned off the light when he came back in the room.)
These two incidents prompted the following public service announcement.
To: All Hostel Dorm Roommates (Everywhere, All The Time)
Re: How To Be a Normal Human
- Apparently this is a real thing I have to tell you: Do NOT steal things that aren’t yours! This may be a bed or a towel or maybe even Cheetos! Don’t do it. Stealing is not nice.
- If you are caught stealing things that aren’t yours, don’t lie and say that they are yours. Because they aren’t. And saying so does not automatically transfer ownership to you.
- Turn off giant fluorescent lights when you notice that other people are trying to sleep. (This involves noticing that other people are trying to sleep.) At the very least, turn them off when you are the last person to go to bed.
- Go to bed. Don’t talk on the phone, in a shared space, at ridiculously early hours in the morning. There are a million other places in a hostel for you to be loud and on the phone. Don’t do it where people are trying to sleep.
- BASICALLY JUST BE A NORMAL CONSIDERATE HUMAN BEING THAT IS AWARE OF THE OTHER PEOPLE AROUND THEM (INSTEAD OF A SOUL-SUCKING DORM MONSTER), THIS ISN’T DIFFICULT. THANKS.
Ah well. Better luck next time, I suppose.