Hostel freak

I adore hostels.  Give me a hostel any day over a fancy hotel.  But I, and anyone else who has ever stayed in a hostel, is most likely familiar with a certain kind of person.
The odd one out.  You would never say anything nasty to them of course, but maybe you don't strike up a conversation with them like you would with the more regular-seeming guests.  You don't even say anything about them to your companions (at least not while they are in the room!), but maybe you stare at them for just a second longer than perhaps you should.  Let's just be honest, they aren't merely the odd one out, they are the hostel freak.
Charleston, South Carolina. The woman who wandered around in a full length evening gown at 3 am, neither going to or returning from anywhere at all. 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The man who formulated a toga from his bed sheet while he did his washing, and proceed to swirl and twirl and flounce his way about the place.

Manchester, England.  Me.

I stayed in a hostel the night after having laser eye surgery.  I swanned around the hostel in my sunglasses the previous evening, pretending to myself that I was a famous celebrity.  When my dorm-mates entered the room for the first time at 9 pm, there I was, in bed, reading, with sunglasses on.  They looked a little scared when I cheerily greeted them, their English didn't seem quite up to understanding the concept of LASIK.
The next morning, whether it was caused by the eye drops, the heat or the sleep deprivation due to the incessant snoring of said dorm-mates I do not know, but what I do know is that I did proceed to pass out in the bathroom.  Twice.  Cue very loud crashes and one ghostly white, bruised and battered me sitting on the bedroom floor dripping with sweat until I felt human again.  They didn't ask if I was OK, but they did stare.  I concluded they probably thought I was on drugs.
I'm not sure I have ever felt more socially outcast in my life.  Not as the only white person for miles in rural Tanzania, with every passing child shouting "White person" at me.  Not amongst the public school kids at the Cambridge University interview day I accompanied a friend to, where every word I spoke betrayed my differences.  Nope, I felt more like a leper sitting on that Manchester hostel bedroom floor, trying my very best not to cry.
I slunk out of the hostel with my sunglasses on, bruises and bumps slowly spreading across my face, dejectedly clutching a coffee and looking more like a beaten wife on the run than a fabulous celebrity undercover amongst the lowly normals.

So next time you find yourself in a hostel, if you notice the hostel freak, maybe just make that extra effort to treat them the same as you do everyone else.

You never know when it could be your turn!

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