I’ve spent a bit of time in the last two weeks staying in motel rooms. Not to be confused with fancy city hotels used by the likes of airline cabin crews, I was accommodated in the type of country motels that haven’t been renovated since the 80’s. I don’t mind the retro bathroom with the brown tiles and chunky plastic tap ware, it reminds me of the places my parents managed when we were kids. At the end of the day the rooms are always clean and anything is better that sharing a tent in a base camp.
But is a decent iron too much to ask for?
Given that motels are built specifically to cater for the traveler, and traveling entails living out of a suitcase, and suite cases invariably crumble your clothing, surely a functional iron is an essential piece of a motel rooms accessories? Along with an ironing board. Preferably a free standing one that doesn’t wobble precariously as soon as you load it up with the outrageous weight of a threadbare handkerchief. Or worse, collapse at your feet the second you press down on your shirt collar. Just getting the thing to stand up is a struggle. After years of abuse the legs don’t line up with the rails so now it’s upside down on the bed with you trying to repair it. Or launching it in disgust back into the wardrobe.
All of which proceeds the trauma of turning on the iron.
If you’re lucky and it works, you’re guaranteed to have an ironing board cover which is thread bare and burnt through in the middle. This means your freshly pressed shirt will come complete with an impression of the steel mesh of the board beneath it. More likely the iron just won’t work, or be so tepid as to be the same thing. Some irons are little more than booby traps; like the steam bomb. Having been through the rigmarole of filling a coffee cup with water to fill the kettle so you can fill the iron, you test the steam button. Happy it works and is clean, you start on your shirt. And then it happens. With a huge exhalation of steam and water, twenty years’ worth of brown crud explodes from the iron all over your white shirt front.
And then the ironing board collapses. Again.
The dribbler is my pet hate. No matter what setting you put the iron to, it will always splash water the second you work faster than a snail’s pace. After drying each wet spot in turn your shirt will look like it was a test bed for the new $5 note watermark.
The seasoned traveling salesman however, wise in the ways of the outback motel, avoids such travesties by the simple inclusion within their overnight bag, of an iron.
I’ll have a bit of overtime coming my way now. If I get my hands on it before Gretta does, I’ll be buying myself an iron too.