October 02, 2015
Random story time: Alamogordo
When I lived in Albuquerque, for a time I worked the front desk of a Best Western. This was back in ye olden days when cell phones were a rarity, so part of the job was answering the phone and patching callers through to guest rooms.
One evening I answered the phone and a woman asked for room 7. Trouble is, we didn't have a room 7--all the first floor rooms started with 1, and the second floor rooms with 2. So we had a 107 and a 207, but no 7, and I told her as much. She asked by name. Checked the guest registry, couldn't find a guest by that name. Could it be under another name? No, it could not.
"Well, that can't be right. He must be there. He called, left a message with this number, said he was in room 7 at the Best Western in Alamogordo--"
"Ma'am, this is the Best Western in Albuquerque."
"No, you're in Alamogordo." (This ranks as one of my all-time favorite "person insisting something that is 100% untrue" moments in all my days.)
"Ma'am, if I was in Alamogordo, I'm pretty sure I'd know." (Left unsaid: And I'd be trying to get out!*) "There must have been some kind of mix-up, but I'm quite sure your husband isn't here. I can find you the number for the Best Western in Alamogordo, maybe you could try them?"
She took that number and we hung up. She called back again two minutes later. He wasn't at that hotel either. Could I just patch her through to room 107, that surely must be what he meant? I refused, because the name on room 107 didn't match her husband's name at all. She hung up in frustration, then called back 30 seconds later--no caller ID in those days, but I KNEW it was her--and just said "Room 107, please." "Fine," I said, and put her through. Let the poor sap in 107 tell her that s/he is not her husband and has never heard of him.
To this day I wonder about that whole exchange. The guy probably just botched the message to his wife really badly--forgot what hotel he was in, gave her the wrong phone number, that kind of thing. But the evil part of me wants it to be the start of an epic plot to escape the authorities tracking him down for embezzlement, and this was an effort to throw them, and his wife, off the trail. He was really on his way to New Orleans to build a new life.
*I have never actually been to Alamogordo, so this may be totally out of line. It may be really nice for all I know.