I hate it when people are nice to me.
Well, that’s a pretty ridiculous statement, but there are times that the best of intentions can go a long way into leading to bad choices. Something about the road to you-know-where being paved with good intentions. Particularly when those intentions take the shape of cookies.
So I travel a lot. I travel a ridiculous “a lot”. As a result, people, particularly at hotels, often make a big effort to be nice to me. Either they feel sorry for me for travelling so much or they want even MORE of my business. Last week, I inadvertently had the opportunity to use my travel to self-experiment. I had two trips, one in Arlington, VA and the other in Boston, MA.
The first trip to Virginia started on a Sunday night with me walking into my hotel room and being greeted by a huge plate of insanely large and appealing cookies on the desk. “Welcome Mr. Kirchhoff!”. My first reaction was to shriek as though I had just seen a mouse with blood dripping from its little mouse teeth. I had a split second to react. What should I do? Stand on a chair and scream for help? Tell myself that I’m too strong to bend to the cookies, and let them stay in the room untouched. Fortunately, I chose door number three, and I quickly grabbed the plate and showed it the door, placing the cookies in the hall to tempt some other slow witted traveller.
The second trip to Boston went the same way with exactly the same greeting of a cookie plate. In this trip, I might have said hello to a glass of wine before I got to my room, so my judgment deflector shields were down. I let the cookie plate stay in the room.
So what happened? On trip number one, I had no cookies. On trip number two, I had three cookies. With the cookies sitting in the room, it was only a matter of time until I would fold like a cheap suit, and fold I did.
Reams and reams of research would now tell me that I never really had a chance in the Boston room. When we sit in front of our sweets, in plain view, it’s only a matter of time before they seduce us with their Siren songs and send us crashing into their crumbly nugget rocks. We need to be more like Odysseus and bind our ears shut so we don’t hear their horrid music. In this case, hiding them (childish) or merely setting them outside is clearly the way to go.
So now I’m writing this at JFK airport where I am getting ready to head to London for two days. I’m then in Atlanta followed by San Francisco. I will be in many more hotel rooms over the next ten days than in my own bed. In addition to being a little homesick, I will be in my familiar danger zone of being in rooms with minibars and cookie plates. I think it would be in bad form to put the entire minibar into the hallway, so I will need a plan B.
Therefore, I am formally writing my plan for the next week. It’s pretty simple: I will not eat in my hotel room after dinner unless I order up some fruit. Further, I will bind myself to this pledge by confessing via Twitter each day I travel whether I lived up to the challenge. My theory is that I cannot always mold my environment, so I need a second, backup weapon, and that is making myself publically accountable.
I read somewhere that if you actually write your plan down, you are much more likely to stick with it. I hope that’s true!
Look for me on Twitter to see whether I can man up to the challenge.