Ramblings From an Apathetic Adult Baby

From Justin Gawel: Eccentric Dirtbag

Category Archives: Complaints

In the Valley of Econo Lodge

“I was there, the second floor corridor trudging behind the one rickety cleaning cart. On top was my coffee, trembling, spattering and, much like myself, allowing its cheap, unhygienic aroma to permeate everything in the vicinity.


“Leading up to it, I can recall almost everything. Every trivial cigarette break, every irrelevant bit of gossip, every inconsequential guilt-riddled pang for me to give my mom that now-three-days-overdue birthday phone call was vividly preserved. As far as housekeepers go, the troop I served with at the Econo Lodge was by far the brashest and cockiest. Sure, we were good; we’d swarm through that two-story filth harbor daily with a jackrabbit-like quickness. Stoic and desensitized, we saw ourselves as a fearless machine, but, ultimately, we were only children toiling against impossible odds.


“Morning rounds that day were normal; they’d gone as expected. A few tips here, a pair of once-white-but-now-rubber-glove-worthy briefs to incinerate there, an abundance of caked after-love and chicken bones in 203’s bathtub, you know, pretty much the standard. Twenty-minutes ahead of schedule and already four-podcasts-deep, I stopped my cart outside 207—”


“Sorry, yeah, no, I’ll just take the entire Kleenex box, Doctor.


“From there on my memory’s only snippets, like a disc skipping or a partially developed roll of film. Wreckage and grime covered everything and immediately I thought I was going to be sick. The grubby, favela-like air clung to the inside of my lungs as I stifled the impending panic-vomit. Recklessly but instinctually, I charged into the fray. I thought I could be a hero and, foolishly, I underestimated the power this hygienic holocaust wielded.


“Second thoughts soon clouded my mind; this visceral frontier had assaulted every sense from every angle. I persisted, though, hoping I could clean my way out of this ambush. White-hot revulsion coursed through me. I’d never know the parents and their litter of children who had left this litter bonanza for me, but I knew then that they would always be a part of my life.


“No, no, I’ll be okay, Doctor; just give me a minute.


“Okay, sorry. Part of me remembers striping the one bed’s nest of blankets to find a trove of half-eaten Gobstoppers corralled in an empty pillowcase and from there I saw the dark red splotches smeared up and down one side of the fitted sheet. It could’ve been pizza sauce. It could have been tomato soup. But the lack of pizza boxes or discarded soup containers suggested this was nothing but chunky toddler blood from a Gobstopper-heavy disagreement or a game of The Floor is Made of Lava gone awry. I was only twenty-two; I wasn’t ready to piece this grim truth together.


“I had no backup; I’d moved in too fast and now had no cover. I needed to get away from the overwhelming mess of Dorito shrapnel, the broken toy that was still dripping with fresh child tears, and the TV remote with the partially-enjoyed Jolly Rancher in place of the usual pair of AA batteries. Frightened, I couldn’t remember any of my training, but that was nothing new. That day I’d been pretty hungover and nowhere near lucid during the four-hour orientation on sheet folding and sexual harassment policies. At this point I staggered to the bathroom, probably hoping to retreat into solace and get away from 207’s ground zero.


“No, it’s okay—I just need to get this all out.”


“I chose wrong. I was so wrong. The bathroom, that repellent coffin of gross, was the pinnacle of the nightmare. The tub was coated in hair, like a barbershop or wig factory floor.  At one end of the hair-carpet was a crumpled, fetid towel and at the other, God, I pray that was only chocolate speckled into a Jackson-Pollack-like buckshot. Pair that visual abhorrence with that mound of ill-fastened dirty diapers strewn around the overflowing garbage can and, yeah, you could say this tour of duty had quickly progressed into a tour of doody. Overpowered, that had to have been when I collapsed, either from the smell or a stress-induced aneurysm.


“Next thing I remember, I was in the hallway. Alessandra, another housekeeper, must’ve pulled me out. Relieved, my lungs filled with fresh hallway air.  I was now freed from the wreckage and smoldering horrors confined within 207.


“Nothing prepares you for that kind of mess. The Econo Lodge wasn’t prepared either; the manager destroyed the room through a controlled burn the following day. I can’t face an Econo Lodge hallway anywhere anymore—they’re all too similar and I’ll uncontrollably tense up. I had to step down from my post; I could handle 99.9% of this job, but you never know what’s going to be on the other side of the door and, eventually, everyone draws a 207. I’d clean up ten, no, ten thousand honeymoon suites from plushie weddings if you could guarantee me that I’d never face another ravished room from a family of six vacationing on a budget again. However, that’s not the reality, Doctor. I’m sorry, I can’t keep fighting the good fight.”




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I Think I’ve Been Pregnant For Years

Uncertainty and anxiety fester. My mind’s racing over the potential duties and doodys I’d be responsible for as a parent. I don’t know how this could’ve happened; I never hot tub naked with others and I’m always vigilant to wipe off seats in all public toilets no matter what country I’m in.

I should just man up and take the pregnancy test but, alas, I can’t. A truth-shrapnel-heavy bombshell could provide a definitive answer but could also eradicate what remains of the sweet delusional bliss I’ve been clinging to. I suppose I’m only deceiving myself, though. The writing’s been on the wall—any idiot could tell you that missing your period for this many months, my entire life in fact, likely means I’ve been totes preggers for at least a few years now.

The proof has accumulated steadily over time. Suspicions first began when my appetite surged to a level of routine gluttony. Gone were the days of being satiated by a paltry six-piece McNugget and medium fry. No, now a ravenous, adult-onset-diabetes-inducing hunger coursed throughout me. Orders of family-sized McNugget cartons and vats of McFlurry paired with near-violent, manager-directed diatribes to restore the Supersize option had become my new normal.

Blame boredom. Blame delicious salt. Blame Netflix. No matter your angle, I’m gorging for at least two now. It doesn’t matter where we are or what we we’re doing, much like a dumpy girl on Prom Night unsuccessfully parting with her virginity and subsequently eating her feelings, I’m getting filled one way or another.

My weight, much like the pregnancy evidence, soon began aggressively accruing. This non-sexual girth first appeared in my ankles. These once-slim beauties, my sexiest feature according to my nineteenth-century Englishmen friends, ballooned into varicose-vein-riddled stumps that branched off into a pair of equally-swollen feet like I was just another patron in a Midwestern strip mall.

Missing periods, being obnoxiously cankled, living in a constant state of food lust: the proof was in the Snack Packs.

Not long after I’d exiled my skinny jeans and sexy underwear to the back of the closet, a sore-nipple epidemic broke out in my life. Maybe it was just that I was distracted with the potential looming pregnancy or maybe I just wasn’t as quick on my cankles now, but the fellow passengers on my morning commute took full advantage. Once upon a time I’d had the quickest pair of hands and the slipperiest pair of nips on the bus; but, lately, the culture of rampant titty-twisting has left me perpetually surrendering window seats in order to stop my nurples from becoming any more raw and purpled.

Mood swings have now crept their way into daily life. I caught an errant whiff of garlic-stuffed olives yesterday and couldn’t shake the craving. When I couldn’t find them in the grocery store I panicked, collapsing on the tile floor in a ball of tears. Perspective completely gone, I latched onto a clerk, pleading that he find the olives for me, but he scurried away, probably rushing off to help a hotter, trimmer, not-possibly-pregnant person.

Magic Eight Ball, you were right; the signs all do point to yes.

Fine, I’ll be the man and do it; I’ll take the pregnancy test and finally know for sure if I’m carrying little Obi-Wan McFly Gawel in my tummy after all.

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