A Short Explanation of My Beliefs

For my mother, who always says, “I’m not sure what you believe now…”

Open me up and tell me what’s wrong with me.

When I was nine, I was baptized. I thought I understood what it all meant at the time, but now that I look back, I realize that I understood as much as a nine-year-old could – which was probably wrong. I was raised Baptist and grew up with multiple Bibles in my house. That’s not to mean my family was strictly religious. No, there were curse words and other sins more frequent than other families. But Christianity was always there. When the topic came up, it was a wholehearted conversation about God’s love and blessings. Church was on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. We even had a church family.

I’ve always said things I never mean which I guess takes meaning away from powerful words. I think a couple times in my life I actually felt the Holy Spirit, but it was always in short bursts. It never lasted. I become obsessed with things for a little while, and then I grow bored of them. There isn’t a specific time or moment I can pinpoint where I “lost my faith” because then I would be admitting that I had it to begin with. I think I had some version of it as a child. I do remember going through an atheist phase during my teenage years and later agnostic. A couple years ago I called myself a “non-practicing Christian”. Now I’m not sure what to believe. I’m very open, just not committed. I hate commitment. I believe God exists, but I also believe in luck, the universe, and some superstitions. So what does that make me? I hate church environments; which probably stems from my introverted nature. I’m the only one in my family that feels this way. The rest are devout Christians that love church. They don’t understand anything less. This outsider feeling doesn’t bother me so much anymore – if anything, I just become annoyed when they start talking about how everything in life points to God and we need to go to church every Sunday. You’d think they would realize by now that the more they try to force something down my throat, the farther away they push me. I just want to be left alone.

The world is obsessed with labels. How about I just be? Why do I need a label?

“What you are is what you have been. What you’ll be is what you do now.”

“Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.”

– Buddha

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Dexter

Dexter is the most satisfying scratch to the most pesky itch of my own inner serial killer feelings.

This character makes me feel so alive. He makes me feel like smirking at this secret knowledge of his existence and the possibilities when someone is aggravating me.

When I read or watch Dexter, I am instantly transported into a world more understandable than The Purge. He’s not just a serial killer, he’s a good person acting out dark thoughts for good reasons. He acts as a backup when the Justice system fails time and time again. He has an incessant need like a pedophile does but it turns into a duty.

It’s a relief to know I am not alone in the world with my thoughts.
Dexter is my hero. He is my ultimate favorite character. No matter what I write, you still won’t quite understand how much Dexter means to me.

My sincere thanks to Jeff Lindsay and his editors, and to the Showtime producers, cast and crew for bringing this to light.

Sincerely,

A delayed fan.

How to Be a Proper Hotel Guest

Dear Reader,

There’s a pretty good chance you have stayed in a hotel at least once in your life. For those of you who have never worked in customer service, here is a crash course in proper guest behavior:

(This is one particular brand of hotels, others may differ slightly)

#1 When you book a reservation, make sure you know how you’re booking it.
If you’re booking online and think you’re doing it on the actual hotel’s website, check again. There are misleading links/ads that will actually take you off the hotel website onto a third party website. You will end up paying more and will have less options if you need to make a change.
If you call to book a reservation, make sure you’re not talking to someone in a call center. This is very important. I’ve had so many guests yell at me for their reservation being screwed up, swearing up and down they called the actual hotel. No, your reservation history says you booked it through Reservations.

#2 Don’t expect to get a room at eight o’clock in the morning.
Early check in? Sure. But don’t be picky about it. We have limited rooms available in the morning and what you get is what we have. Check-in time is generally 3pm, and depending on how many departures we have that morning, housekeepers can only clean (without rushing) so fast. It’s safe to check in generally around noon and after.

#3 Don’t come before your mobile check-in time.
It’s not that we don’t like surprises (we actually don’t), as stated in #2, if you say on the mobile app that you’re going to check-in at 11AM, okay fine, we’ll try and find you a room in time, but we’re watching the clock constantly. So when you come in an hour or more early trying to check-in, you throw us off guard and we’re having to scramble to find you a room. We usually block you into a specific room (this guarantees you a room – see #4) and it’s usually not ready until maybe 2-3 hours before you said you would check in (if we’re not full).

#4 Want a guaranteed room? Come early or do the mobile check-in.
I know, I know. I just said don’t come early. What I mean is, if you are coming for a specific event in the area, don’t assume you’re the only one attending. Especially if the event is very close to the hotel. If you want a room, even if you have a reservation, it is not guaranteed unless you do the mobile check-in, or it’s first come first serve. We try and honor your reservation, but things happen and sometimes we book for more rooms than we have. Better to get there closer to 3PM than expect something after 9PM.

#5 “I’m a [blank] member, don’t I get something for free?”
Don’t do that. If you want to piss us off, go ahead and state your member status and tell us how long you’ve been coming to the hotel. Go ahead and try to use your member status to demand a certain room or say, “I’ve always gotten this when I come here.” The more you agitate us, the less likely we are to work with you.

#6 MOST IMPORTANT: DO NOT YELL AT THE STAFF FOR SOMETHING THAT IS BEYOND THEIR CONTROL.
Okay, we get it. You’re pissed because the air conditioner in your room went out and maintenance won’t be in until the morning. What good is it to yell at me about it if I just told you maintenance won’t be here until the morning? How is yelling at me going to fix the A/C? Yelling at me also decreases your chances of receiving something complimentary for your trouble.

#7 Do not weasel your way into a cheaper rate.
This is highly annoying and you are less likely to get what you want. You may ask a question or two about why the rate is what it is, but that’s it.

#8 Figure out how you want to pay for your room BEFORE you check in.
Nobody has time to play games with switching cards or deciding at the last minute to split payments.

#9 I asked for your phone number. Don’t worry, we won’t call you.
We ask for phone numbers just in case we need to contact you about either a billing issue, or (most common) if you left something in the room and want it back. We do not make harassing sales calls (I think that’s a different department – and only if you work for a big company).
Same goes for email. We email you the bill receipt. If you want a paper copy, that’s fine too.

#10 The lobby is not your home.
Do not put your feet on the furniture, keep your shoes (and everything else) on, do not hog an area, do not get drunk, and for Pete’s sake DO NOT PLACE A CALL ON SPEAKER. You have a bed, so sleep in it – not the couch. You are not the only guest.

#11 Thinking about stealing something from the market? Think again.
We have ways of catching you.

#12 Do not rush me or cut me off.
If I’m telling you something, it’s because you need to hear it. For you to wave me off when I’m explaining our hotel amenities is rude and stupid because you’re going to have these questions later.

#13 Do not expect whatever you left in the room to still be there after months have passed.
We have lost and found, but it gets cleaned out usually every two weeks (at most every month). Unless you call and tell us to hold it for you, there is no guarantee we will still have it if you come back looking for it three months later. It doesn’t work like that. And if you call and say you’re going to pick it up, pick it up within a day or two. Anything past that, it gets lost and/or thrown away.

#14 We do not accept pets (unless it’s a service animal).
Don’t be a horrible person and lie. If it’s a service animal, fine. Don’t lie and say it is when it’s not (karma is a bitch), and don’t try and sneak in your pet. We always find out if you have a pet and we charge a hefty fee to your card we have on file.

#15 Put your damn phone down when you’re checking in.
I do not have time to sit around and wait for you to finish your call or text. It’s very rude and holds up the line.

#16 Small chit-chat is fine, but I’m not your therapist.
I don’t have time (nor do I want to) to listen to your amazing experience with God, how your kid got into college, or what you did to need surgery. Also, if it’s about a horrible experience at the hotel, get to the point. I don’t need to know all the details.

#17 This is 2018. Fucking Google it.
Either buy a damn GPS, or use the one on your smartphone. Your phone is also capable of Googling how far away a restaurant is as well as their phone number. If you want a personal recommendation, fine, but do the rest yourself.

#18 I don’t care what the other hotels let you do, these are the rules for this hotel.
The other hotels had free breakfast? Great, go there. We do not. The other hotels had a busboy? We don’t. The other hotels let you get this for free? Doesn’t work that way here. Yes, we are a chain. No, we are not all the same. We have different branches that cater to different kinds of guests.

#19 Relax, the incidentals you pay for will be returned to you.
Paying for incidentals in non-negotiable. Period. But don’t worry, it will be returned to your card in 4-5 business days (depending on your bank) after you check out. You can also pay cash and get it back immediately when you check out.

#20 Do not go behind the desk and help yourself.
Give me a minute, and I’ll help you with whatever you need. Guests are not allowed behind the desk.

#21 Do not tell me what I need to do.
That’s the fastest way to piss us off (see #5 as to why you don’t want to do this).

#22 If you see me counting the cash drawer, do not pay with cash when purchasing something from the market.
You can add it to your room. I just counted the drawer, and you will mess me up completely. It’s a major inconvenience and it’s very inconsiderate.

#23 If your card is too damaged to swipe, it cannot be used to pay for your room.
You also look shady. No, we cannot (and will not) type in the numbers. No, we cannot just use the card on file that you booked with. We have to do a physical swipe of the card. You’re too stupid to realize your card is badly worn and needs to be replaced? Too bad. Use another card or you don’t get a room. Yelling at me for your card not working is useless (see #6).
You also will not get a room if your card is denied. Provide us with another form of payment or move on.

#24 Do not cut in line.
You see me busy. I. Am. Busy. I will get to you as soon as I can.

#25 Borrow something? Bring it back.
Please.

Lastly, remember, this is customer service. We have the power to make your experience miserable or at least very inconvenient. Think about that before you act like an asshole.