Monday, September 14, 2009

B&B Etiquette: On Noise

Some noise from bed & breakfast guests is to be expected but yesterday evening was out of the ordinary. A seemingly quiet couple morphed into power rangers.

“Hey, Monica! Can you bring me my comb?”

Sven and I exchange glances. These words reach us quite clearly despite the fact the door to the kitchen is shut tight. The man is in the bathroom, on the second floor of our house. His wife is in the main Liberty Coin Suite room.

Sven and I sit at the dinner table downstairs. He’s having steamers. My stomach is unsettled so I grilled a fillet of flounder instead. The air smells of garlic, which I braised with tomato halves and fresh butter beans. It has been a tranquil Indian summer afternoon. We went down to the fish store, since it closes later in the week. I took a nap, then watched an abundance of bees buzz amidst the flowers. The garden was busier than usual after three days of rain. Our new guests arrived an hour and a half early, never a good sign, and went cycling in P-town. Now they’re back. We hear heavy footsteps above our heads. A door slams.

“Well, these guys sure get the prize for noise!” I say softly.

Sven nods as bare feet again slap across the floor and the television roars to life mid-commercial, something about cars. A Billy Mays-type voice booms through the ceiling, words that run together, desperate to sell something.

“Four years of guests and none like this,” I mutter.

“Oh! That’s a Yale student that disappeared right before her wedding?!” the wife exclaims, apparently turning pages in a newspaper.

Is he deaf, I wonder, for her to be talking loud enough for me to hear?

“What?” he calls across the room.

“Turn down the TV.”

Good idea, I think. From the applause, I can tell he’s a golf fan. I stick my head into our sitting room and angle my ear toward the blue stairs. Sometimes Sven turns the television up because he has a hearing problem, but now our TV must be on max. It’s a wonder the couple can hear each other and they’re talking non-stop. Uh-oh. Here he comes. I duck back into the kitchen.

“Got your keys?” she shouts down the stairs as the front door clicks open.

I’m glad to report the night was blissfully silent. Perhaps it took these folks a bit longer to kick into B&B-mode than the norm?

This, too, is the life of an innkeeper. We have been privileged to receive many guests who understand the constraints of being in a small bed & breakfast, sharing a space with innkeepers who live on the premises. Not everyone always does.