|Jinny has been very ill and is currently undergoing rehabilitation in a Bangor facility so she will not be writing her article for awhile. She is making excellent progress and hopes to be able to return to writing her column in the near future... Adele.
I am currently working in management in a resort hotel. I have worked in several similar positions in the past in hotels, but this is the first time in a really big 15 story resort hotel in a tourist town. It is quite the experience.
We had a meeting today to prepare for what the staff refers to as "The Dark Side". This is the time of Spring Break for colleges and universities when thousands of students come down here to have fun in the sun, party way too much, and generally carry on like the poster children for bad behavior.
I have not lived down here during this time period and after listening to some of the stories told to me by the staff members who have, I cannot say that I am looking forward to it.
During this time the security team on the property increases from 4 to 12 people. Everything hanging on the walls that can be taken down is removed because the student guests have a tendency to rip things off of the walls and throw them off of the balconies. Because it is an expensive resort hotel, most of the rooms are full suites with kitchens, including refrigerators, stoves, china, flatware, and microwaves. Needless to say, everything that isn't nailed down is taken out of the rooms during Spring Break, particularly since they had to fish two microwaves out of the pool last year.
All the good linen and towels are removed and the cheapest possible variety substituted. There are several reasons for this; believe me when I say that you don't want to know any of them. Room service is completely suspended, and the restaurants and lounges only use paper and plastic dishes and utensils. The hotel does not take it kindly when guests use their dinner plates as frisbees and attempt to hurl them into the ocean. Nor, for that matter, does anyone who might find themselves cracked over the head with a plate while strolling in the sand.
After our meeting, we had a lecture given by some federal government officials and the local police regarding the various ways that college students under 21 will attempt to get their hands on alcohol and how to prevent it. They passed around a bunch of fake ID's that they had confiscated over the years that had been made on home computers, and except for the ones that were really amateurish, it was almost impossible to tell the counterfeits from the real thing. As a consequence, most states are beginning to adopt all sorts of tricky holograms and hidden seals that can only be seen under a UV light and are supposedly almost impossible to duplicate. I have my doubts about that.
In the meantime, we also must prepare for all sorts of national and international companies and media people who will also be descending upon the hotel during the break. For these people it is a golden opportunity to promote themselves, their products, and anything else they can think of. With this in mind, they naturally encourage as much irresponsible behavior as possible.
In conversation with one of the security guys I mentioned that I found the entire business incomprehensible in the extreme. He couldn't understand this since I had raised two college students myself. I informed him that my kids worked through Spring Break since they had to primarily put themselves through college and had neither the time nor the money to indulge in an expensive vacation to relieve the "stress" of going to college. He told me that most of the kids who come down during Spring Break were financed by their parents, even carrying credit cards their parents let them have so they can have fun, fun, fun. I find this unbelievable. No wonder so many of these young people behave irresponsibly; the apples are falling right next to the trees.
Things sure have changed since Connie Francis and her friends drove down to Florida for Spring Break all those years ago and she sang "Where the Boys Are", a little ditty that I read somewhere shocked and appalled more than a few parents at the time. I was a little kid when that movie came out and I have never actually seen it, but by today's standards it must seem like an episode from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.
After the maintenance guys took everything off the walls in the Lobby and corridors, the Army came in and covered up all the nails and whatnot with giant posters of incredibly goodlooking folks in designer combat uniforms urging college students to join up. I'm not certain what they hope to gain by this. I have known plenty of young people who foolishly had one too many and ended up impulsively getting tattoos or odd piercings at the urging of their pals, but I can honestly say that I have never heard of anyone under the influence enough to impulsively join the army during war time at the urgings of giant advertising posters. No one could ever be that far gone, could they? I'll let you know if I'm wrong.