Bunk Beds

As much as I enjoy the repetition of the daily tasks like cleaning the onsens, scrubbing the toilets, and lint rolling the stairs, I do sometimes crave a little variety. Now imagine my delight when I was told I would be doing “special cleaning” today.

Special cleaning, it turns out, is code for way more cleaning than normal. Special cleaning found me taking the mattresses and supports off of bunk beds in order to dust every nook and cranny of their frames. Once the frames were clean, I had to vacuum and scrub the tatami floor underneath. Finally, once the frame was dusted and the tatami floor clean, I could put the bed all back together again and move on to the next bunk bed.

Luckily I was working alone, because I brewed up an ungodly atmosphere of swears that I’m sure is still wafting around those rooms. Those bunks hadn’t seen a cleaning since the dawn age, understandably too, because who is going to check and see if the hidden tatami and bunk supports are properly dusted? Musing over this, I became unreasonably upset with the bunk beds, so I took a minute to cool off. What was I really mad about? I reminded myself that I am wholly responsible for my current occupation. I could blame the boss, but what do I gain from silently cursing him out? Resentment only, it seems. My anger at these bunk beds is totally my own, I thought. They will bother me only as much as I let them.

I congratulated myself on my noble sentiment and got right back to work, and, after only a few short moments, right back to swearing, too.


Conversation had at the hostel’s kitchen table.

Margaret. You think there are weird people at this hostel? I met the weirdest guy ever at a hostel I volunteered for in Scotland.

Billy. What was he like?

Margaret. Well first of all, his name was Octavian and he was a thirty-six years old Romanian guy volunteering in Scotland so he could sample all the different varieties of scotch.

Billy. He already sounds like a winner.

Margaret. What was even weirder was that he volunteered at all these hostels and yet he didn’t know how to make a bed. That, and he would constantly talk about how much money he had. “Oh Margaret,” he would say, “I just bought a boat for back home.”

Billy. Sounds like he was trying to impress you.

Margaret. Yeah he tried to sleep with me. *shudders*

Billy. I’m surprised that no lucky lady had already locked him down.

Margaret. He did have a girlfriend I think. But he referred to her as his Muse, and apparently she was doing volunteer work in Africa.

Billy. Probably to get away from him.

Margaret. He would talk about his knife collection, and wax poetic about his guns back home.

Billy. What a catch.

Margaret. And there was this one time where he baked everyone scones—seems like a nice gesture, right? Well no one ate them because the day before he was talking about how he hadn’t seen a whole hostel with food poisoning in a while.

Billy. No one here even comes close to that level of insanity.

Margaret. No one yet. Oh, and did I mention he had a pony tail?