Hotel Porter. Conker
When you work in a place like a hotel you are gradually getting used to a great diversity of cultures, customs and traditions that people bring from all around the world. Working in a hotel you stop calling people strange or odd. A man is wearing a skirt? No problem! Just another guest from Scotland. A friendly woman, but avoids eye contact? Never mind. She might be Japanese. Robert Truman has seen a lot of extraordinary clothes, manners and behaviors. But even Robert was really intrigued when one man came to the hotel the other day. The man was covered with (you will not believe!) – horse chestnuts. Many brown gleaming chestnuts were hung all over his clothes. Even his hat was made from chestnuts.
First Mr. Truman thought it was a joke. The man looked like a comedian, one of those who always amuse a passerby on the street. But the man in a funny costume was carrying two suitcases and obviously had an intention to take a room. He approached the reception desk and asked for a single room.
Meanwhile a family with two dogs entered the lobby. The dogs were very lively and active. As soon as they saw the man with chestnuts they rushed to him and started tearing and chewing it. This bustle was continuing for a few minutes until Mr. Truman took the dogs out and then another porter gave to the chestnut man his key. Because of that accident nobody had opportunity to ask the man about his weird costume. So there was nothing to do but to make assumptions.
- Mr. Truman, what if he was invited to a child's birthday party and decided to make a surprise? – supposed another porter.
- A child's birthday? In another city? I don't think so. – replied Mr. Truman. – Besides he could at least travel in his normal clothes and then change in the hotel for a party. He might be hiding from somebody. Nobody can recognize him in those stupid chestnut clothes.
- He must be a criminal escaping from the police! – the young porter got excited.
- I have doubt about that. He could be a cheating husband rather than a killer.
- No, Mr. Truman, he is a maniac. I'm telling you. I heard maniacs are always very strange and weird. Only freak can wear chestnut, Mr. Truman.
- Oh, George, you are such a dreamer.
Few days later they found out that the chestnut man was a normal person. Moreover, he was a nice and easy-going person. His name was Pablo and he came to London to take part in a world championship. Pablo had an unusual hobby. He was a conker player. Conker – is another word for a horse chestnut. But also it is a name of an old school children game. A large brown shiny nut is threaded onto a string and then swung to hit an opponent's conker. The last conker left on the string is the winner. Pablo had won a championship twice! And that time he was also hoping to get a prize.
Conkers is a traditional game played by school children in the United Kingdom but has long since been adopted by adults – and has now turned into the world championship. It is very, very important for people to stay childish.