Reports of bad human behavior are nothing new, particularly here. But once in awhile there are behaviors so novel, so compelling, they really do warrant a tale.
Picture if you will a 250 year old inn, nestled in the Berkshires. It is a grand home festooned with an expansive porch, (blessedly outfitted daily with afternoon tea.) The cultivated gardens burst forth under the watchful eye of a colonial era church, which adorably bongs out the hour. Inside, there is an extensive library and dozens of board games and puzzles lining the walls of an enormous living room.
There is a sitting room at the entrance to the dining room. Guests gather after a groggy trip to the coffee bar. They await their gourmet 3-course breakfast while perusing the inn’s newspapers. There is a very quiet rustic elegance to the inn. Guests are quiet yet friendly.
So there I was, coffee in hand, alone in the sitting room, looking fruitlessly for the front section of the paper. (For those who are not familiar with news delivered on “paper” the front section is the meat of the issue.) I looked high, I looked low. The inn manager was engaged in the search as well. An hour and three cups of coffee later, I had made my way through every other section of the New York paper, the entirety of the local paper, 2 catalogs of cotton drapey clothes and successfully ignored the towering stack of Gourmet magazines. By this time I was joined by others looking for the paper as well. It was then that a woman walked out of the dining room (with her companion) holding what looked suspiciously like the front section of the newspaper under her arm. I called out a modulated; “excuse me, is that the front section of the paper?” Her answer? “Yes, I’m not done with it.” My look must have expressed what my sputtering brain could not. She looked at me and with just a hint of sarcasm (yet, no apparent irony) said; “why? is it yours?” She then went upstairs to her room. With the communal paper.
Now I admit, I didn’t even consider using my indoor voice when commenting with my fellow aghast guests. I think I might have even been a wee snide.
Look, we all want what we want when we want it. That is the human condition. But sometimes those impulses erode into truly antisocial behavior (like hiding a newspaper at your breakfast table so that no one but you can have it and you’ll be assured your private bedroom date with it after your repast.) But I have to ask myself, if one is that anti-social or anti-communal, what is one doing in an inn? Surely there are 5-star hotels or campers which would better serve.