Tissue issue

When I travel, odd, but memorable, little things happen. I stayed in a nice hotel in Venice, great location, at the intersection of two canals where stripe-shirted gondoliers serenaded me deep into the night while poling starry-eyed tourists through brackish waters.


My room was clean, modern and relatively spacious. The bathroom was largely white marble and chrome. A basket of shampoos, conditioners, soaps, shower bonnets, lotions, Q-tips, and miscellaneous whatnots perched handsomely on a shelf adjacent the extra wide gleaming porcelain sink.

The roll of toilet tissue though, was down to its final few squares and there was not an extra roll anywhere to be found in the bathroom. An extra roll of toilet paper is standard procedure even in the cheapest of hostelries. I considered it a singular oversight by the maid. Fortunately, I made it through the night but finished off the roll before departing the next morning.

Upon returning later that afternoon, my room was spick-and-span but, again, I had only the vestiges of a single roll of toilet tissue at my disposal. This time, I didn’t think there was sufficient paper to meet my needs for the evening. I cruised down the hotel corridor and spied the maid’s supply closet. Luckily, the door was ajar and I helped myself to a full roll of tissue from the large stack neatly lined up on a bottom shelf.

As it turned out, I didn’t need the extra roll but did, once again, finish off the tiny amount that had been left for me. I went out for the day leaving the new roll on the sink. When I returned, the new roll was missing and, again, I had been rationed a minuscule amount of paper for my needs. I slunk down to the maid’s stash and purloined three new rolls this time. One roll was put to use while the other two I locked into the room safe.

It was a wise decision because my newish roll had disappeared by the next evening replaced with the usual inadequate amount. I breathed easier after opening the safe and seeing my little horde of toilet tissue. I stroked them as if they were valuable gems. From then on, I locked all the toilet tissue in the safe regardless of how much or how little remained on the roll.

With the grandeur of San Marcos Square, the canals, the masses of tourists, the charming restaurants, the magnificent art and artifacts, the splendid architecture, the rich history, the delightful shops, the superb vistas, it’s a little weird that my most vivid memory of Venice was locking the toilet paper in a safe.