23 November 2013

hotel lore - no 13th floor, Gideon and Bibles

Chicago's Fairfield Inn by Marriott at river north location on Illinois Street.
This screenshot from the computer shows two photos taken at the hotel to show two cultural features.
In hindsight the breakfast selection --choices and arrangement-- would be another worthy facet to consider through the lens of cultural analysis, too.
     By comparison to Japan's numerology and the inauspicious overlap between pronunciation of '4' (homophone to 'death') and of '9' (homophone to 'hardship' or 'burden'), in USA and perhaps other anglophone societies, it is 13 that is inauspicious. Places like hospitals, where one's health is vulnerable or at risk, and schools (where one's life chances are in development), and hotels (where one is sometimes far from familiar social networks of support) all seem to skip from 12 to 14 in order to bypass the unlucky number 13 in naming of floors. It would be interesting to consider a complete range of tall buildings to see if more types avoid the number 13 in naming floors and rooms, for instance. Perhaps the same occurs after 100 floors, too; skipping from 112 to 114?
     As for placing of Bibles in hotel rooms, that is wide-spread; but I don't know the moment that the society of Gideons (named for the figure of Gideon in the Bible) began the practice, or whether all chains of hotels permit this service. Nor do I know when the Mormon Bible began to accompany the Gideon one, or how widely both Bibles are distributed. One interesting feature, at least of the Gideon bibles, is an index to some of the generally known stories and lessons found scattered through its pages. And I seem to recall also a Question and Answer section to a few dozen complaints and sources of distress of the human heart and social relationships for which a person in a hotel room may turn to the Bible for advice: "what the Bible says about…" (some examples could be things like adultery, betrayed trust, friendship, money troubles, suicide and murder).

elevator keys (no 13); bedside drawer (Bibles)

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