Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Today Kate, my boss, asked me how many people were staying in my room. The rest of this entry, like too many episodes of The X Files, will be told in flashback.

When I first checked-into the 4-bedded room 704 on August 10th last year, I had two room-mates - Pat and Paulo. Kenta was currently back home in Thailand, but after a few weeks he returned and worked again for a while, before leaving to attend University in the US. Kenta was replaced by the Chinese Wei. (pronounced "Way")

One morning, Wei didn't show up for work, prompting exclamations of "No Wei, dude!"

Eventually, towards the end of the year, Wei moved out. A few miscellaneous backpackers were put through the room by accident, but on the whole his bed was now empty. Then, in December, Pat moved out to another backpackers. Finally, on 15th December, Paulo moved-out. I had the room to myself.

I had been considering going home for Christmas, but ultimately concluded that this was not where God was leading me, so I decided to stay. I would have told my boss Kate, but she was off sick. So Barbie on reception phoned and told her.

Then Christmas happened, and Kate remained away.

A backpacker called Derek was checked-in by accident for a few days, but I was grateful of his company. He had spent the last year teaching English in Japan, and we got along famously.

He told me that while in Japan, he'd seen a guy fall out of his wheelchair in front of a vending machine. Derek had been unable to help him though, due to not wanting to embarrass him. Helping him would have implied to everyone else around, who also wasn't helping, that the guy on the floor was weak. That's the Klingon homeworld for you.

Then Derek left. I was alone again.

In the new year Kate returned, having completely forgotten that I had not gone home for Christmas after all. As a result, for a few days she actually didn't realise that I was still working for her.

When the penny dropped, I knew it was the end of my luxurious single accomodation. Except it wasn't. Somehow the fact of my solitude got overlooked, and for some time everyone knew that I had a room to myself. I was never asked, and I certainly wasn't about to make everyone's life harder by demanding that I be squeezed in with 3 of them.

I was the envy of the other housekeepers. What they didn't realise was what a double-edged sword my position was. With no-one to talk to, I would waste an awful lot of time doing nothing. I realised that I needed someone's company, if only to make me talk more and think-dream-sleep less.

Today Kate, my boss, asked me how many people were staying in my room. And tomorrow Nat would move in.

And Nat and I would get along brilliantly.


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