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More tales from an Innkeeper's crypt

Updated on June 21, 2009
she kept shaking her finger in my face
she kept shaking her finger in my face

Confrontation with country folk

Every once in a while we have to deal with some sort of confrontation at the Aleksander House. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it's memorable. Occasionally, a guest doesn't show up, or decides for some reason or another that he or she doesn't want to stay. You'd be surprised at the people, who live in the country, who are afraid of the city. When they arrive and see that I have an "in-town" bed and breakfast situated only 12 blocks form the downtown area, some of them freak out. I don't know what they think is going to happen; our neighborhood is very safe. I've been living here for fifteen years alone and have had no mishaps. But it is the city.

It's been years since someone arrived at my Inn and decided they didn't want to stay. But occasionally it happens, like the day a young couple strolled up the front walkway to my Inn and rang the bell. It was a few years ago on a lovely spring day, so I was in the garden. By the time I got to the front door, they were banging on it loudly. In retrospect, I guess they were afraid that, while they were standing on the front porch, one of the local "city people" would snatch them up and whisk them away or grab their belongings or whatever.

Anyhow, when I opened the door, they both had weird looks on their faces; she more than he. "My wife doesn't want to stay here" the young man said timidly. I told them to come on in. I thought, if I showed them around my beautiful Inn and assured them there was no problem and the neighborhood was safe, they would be just fine. The woman appeared a little shy and frightened, as her eyes darted quickly around the room. "We live in the country", she said. "And I'm not used to the city." They had made the reservation on-line a couple of weeks before and should have been aware that my Inn was in the city; it says so right on my website.

As it happened, the couple, actually it was more the woman than her husband, would not leave my house. As we were discussing the situation I mentioned the fact that I would have to charge them for the night. That revelation set the women off. She no longer appeared shy and reticent. In fact, her face took on a bright red hue and her body went into action. Then, when I told her that I'd sent her a confirmation letter stating that "...You must cancel at least 72 hours prior to arrival time to avoid charges on one night's stay of 50% of the total cost." she started going into anger mode.

An argument ensued and her anger began to escalate. At this point, she was right up in my face, yelling at the top of her lungs. She would back off and then kind of lunge at me. I thought she was going to hit me at one point. She was obviously trying to intimidate me, but I didn't back down. It was then that I asked the two of them to leave. But she stated she would not leave until I told her they would not be charged for the night. I said I had already put the charges through.

Well, she went absolutely ballistic and started calling me all kinds of names; screaming "Gimme my money back! Gimme my money back! I'm not leaving until you do!" I still didn't back down, although I was thinking about it, seriously. I asked them again to leave, but she refused. In fact, she announced that she was going to call the police on me. All this time, her husband never said a word.

When the police knocked on the door, I calmly ushered them in and stood back to see just how they were going to handle the situation. My totally out of control guest rushed up and started rattling off her sad tale, making me look like a crook and a shrew. I tried to get a word or two in in my defense, but soon the room was teeming with accusations.

Finally the police separated us and listened to both of our stories. They told her that they couldn't force me to give her money back, and that they couldn't arrest me like she wanted them to. Then, they informed her that she would have to "leave the premises". I breathed a sigh of relief as the door slammed shut and hoped I would never have to go through that again

Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville: Ohio River
Louisville: Ohio River
Louisville: Churchill Downs
Louisville: Churchill Downs
Chicago: Lake michigan
Chicago: Lake michigan
Chicago beaches
Chicago beaches
New York: broadway
New York: broadway
Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Life in the city

I have always lived right in the city. I love the city. I was born in Detroit and lived in Dallas, San Francisco and Chicago. To me the city is exciting. That's where everything is happening. I know a lot of bad things happen in our society nowadays, but I'm not a fearful person, and to live in constant fear in your own country, or state, or city must be a terrible thing. I guess that's why people have guns.

Granted, we live in a culture of fear and mistrust and warnings. Just watch a TV ad for any prescription drug. The side effects may include dizziness, nausea, fainting, blurred vision, hemorrhaging, numbness, and in some cases, death. That sounds worse than what I'm trying to cure. Security cameras are everywhere. Many of us now regard strangers with automatic suspicion.

Even I succumb to a supposed threat now and then. The other day, as I was waiting to pick up my daughter, a man approached my car. Instinctively, I locked the doors. He only wanted to know where Main street was. But, I'm a woman alone. Maybe he was a potential attacker or rapist. This is what goes through my head in some situations. But this could happen in the country too, not just in the city.

Too many of us have isolated ourselves, lonely and disconnected out of fear. British psychologist Daniel Freeman, who just published a book about paranoia, has argued that living in a big city means "many ambiguous events can lead to paranoid thoughts" because "we constantly make snap judgments based on limited information." (like I did with the car situation) And that is why, I have decided I will not give into paranoia; that living in the city, which I prefer, isn't any more dangerous than other areas of the country. I could, of course, hold myself up somewhere where no one can find me. Then, again, you can never be sure. We just have to make a decision to trust that everything will be alright.

Now, make no mistake, I'm not telling anyone where to live or how to live. If they want to live in constant fear, that's their decision to make. And, of course, there are plenty of people who will disagree with me. And, that's okay too. But I couldn't do it. Life is too short not to take advantage of everything it has to offer. And a lot of what it has to offer is in the city: wonderful art and culture, community, theater, fabulous restaurants, interesting people and so much more. Yeah, I know what you're thinking..................but I guess I'm just a city gal.


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    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      10 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      So glad you found the time to read some of my hibs. It's very much appreciated.

    • The Rope profile image

      The Rope 

      10 years ago from SE US

      Thanks for a great read. I've lived and loved both the city and the country - and the suburbs, with all of their individual trials, tribulations and joys. As you say..."Life is too short not to take advantage of everything it has to offer." Too bad your young lady hadn't had time to learn that yet.

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      10 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Thanks for the comment and for siding with me. I really appreciate it.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      10 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Alek, I think you handled that situation in such a mature and sensible manner! And I also think that you are being very kind and understanding toward that 'guest.' It sounds to me like she was mentally unbalanced.

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      11 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Thanks, PM, have you been to Louisville to visit? If you come back, let me know, and I'll put you up at my bed and breakfast. Thanks for the comments.

    • Paper Moon profile image

      Paper Moon 

      11 years ago from In the clouds

      I get a lot of crazies at my work. I tend to not feel safe in many cities, ( I could write enough hubs on my expiriences to last a year) but Louisville is different. It is by far the most friendly city in America. My wife and I have wanted to move there since we met. It has such a great vibe. I enjoyed your story immensely.

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      11 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      CR, Thanks for stopping by. Appreciate the comments.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      11 years ago from St. Louis

      You're absolutely right, Alek. Living in fear is no way o live. Living in Chicago, and then in NY for 10 years, I ran into my share of conflicts, but it didn't make me fearful at all. Quite the opposite. Fun story!

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      11 years ago from Chicago

      Great story. I think that woman was off her meds. And I wonder why Mr. Mouse didn't take control of her? The photo of your B&B looks very nice. Thanks for the fine Hub.

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      11 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Thanks, Dori, It gets a little hectic around here at times. But I've been doing it for 15 years and still love it. Actually, I'm thinking about retiring in the near future.

    • fortunerep profile image

      Dori S Matte 

      11 years ago from Hillsborough

      I love your stories!! It must be so fun to own your own B&B, loving it. Sounds like that lady was a spoiled witch. Glad everything worked out.


    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      11 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      trooper: Yeah, this is exactly how I feel:  "I love the country, but the city is in my blood, and I always find my way home"  Thanks for the comments. And I know you live in the city cause it says so on your profile page

      About the screaming: So Maybe it's good that your ex wife is your "ex"

    • trooper22 profile image


      11 years ago from Chicago

      Great story Alekhouse, that woman reminds me of my ex-wife.  OMG that woman could scream your hair straight.  I to am a city dweller as I am sure you have already guessed.  I love the country, but the city is in my blood, and I always find my way home.

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      11 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Thanks, Beauty for the nice comments. Glad you stopped by

    • BeautySpeaks profile image


      11 years ago from Prince Georges County, Maryland

      This was a good hub. Some people are always afraid of new things. And people that live in the country (I have family in the Appalachian Mountains of VA) have such misconceptions about us "city folk" (i live in the Washington, DC Metro region)- from the way we dress, to the way we talk. The news tells the story for them, and unfortunately in big cities, the news is more geared to the negative side of life, than the positive. But oh well...their loss. The city presents lots, and lots of opportunities that they will never know about!!

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      11 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Rose, Thanks for the comment. Well, a bunch of hubbers will have to get together for a weekend at my Inn. I would love it. Where do you live now, country mouse?

      Signed: city mouse

    • rosecobra profile image


      11 years ago

      I lived in Columbus Ohio for twelve years. Finally got out. Sorry but I'm not much of a city girl. Just call me a country mouse, but I don't mind being in the city for a little while here and there. That woman acted like a fool. Before I go on vacation I research the area first. By the way your B&B looks great.

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      11 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Thanks for the comments, Maggs.I would love to have you come and visit me. You are always welcome

    • maggs224 profile image


      11 years ago from Sunny Spain

       I am with Teresa, the way this girl went off says a lot more about her and the best thing to do was what you did, stay calm but don't let her bully you.

      Obviously she has a lot of issues going on in her life that have nothing to do with you, which were causing her fear and stress levels to elevate until she just exploded.

      The fact that her husband didn't  say a word I think speaks volumes, I am sure that if he thought his wife's demands were legitimate he would have been agreeing with her. Another interesting and well written hub if ever I come to your neck of the woods your place sound just like the sort of place I would like to come and stay in.

    • Queen of the Lint profile image

      Queen of the Lint 

      11 years ago from The Laundry Room

      Hey, I grew up in Detroit, too, and lived in Fort Worth (Dallas traffic was meaner).I've met lots of "country" people - or small town people- who were afraid of the city. They're scared of crime, of the traffic, of the noise.

      Personally, I'm more afraid of the country. If I get lost in a city I can ask for directions. But if I get lost in the country, in the woods, who am I going to ask?: A bear?

      Oh, wait. Last summer I got lost in Chicago - not lost exactly, but the road I was looking for wasn't where I thought it was. And I was not in a neighborhood that I felt comfortable asking directions to just any passer by. I mean, having lived in cities like Detroit and frequently going to others like Chicago, NYC, Dumont (just kidding about Dumont! I think), I do know that some of the concerns are valid. Some neighborhoods deserve caution. And it's better to err on the side of caution, like you locking the doors.

    • alekhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      11 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Hey Terersa, thanks for the nice comment. I've spent a lot of time on both the north and south carolina coasts. I can see why you love it there. I think by the time I retire again, which wont be long, I'll move to a quieter place,

    • Teresa McGurk profile image


      11 years ago from The Other Bangor

      I lived in cities all my life until 1993, when I came down to the coast of SC. I don't think I could live in a city again, but if visiting, the prospect of staying in a B&B like yours is very attractive, for the simple reason that I would not feel anonymous and alone. The young woman you describe was out of line, but she probably wasn't even angry at you, necessarily. Wonder what their story was, and why she was acting out? Times like that you just have to stand back and let them rail. A woman once called the police on me for parking too close to her car in an unmarked, over-used, free parking lot behind our university (where parking was expensive). She claimed I had singled her car out repeatedly to park close to. I had never seen her before, or her car. The policeman came, listened to her, smiled at me, and told her, more or less, to shut the hell up. Turns out she was nervous about one of her exams.


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