Location: MANCHESTER, ENGLAND
When I go traveling I try to find a good story to tell my friends when I return. This story found me. As noted in my previous post, Manchester, my friend, Kate, and I stopped in this glorious city as a midpoint between London and Edinburgh, but it ended up being one of my favorite parts of the trip.
On a Tuesday, we checked into our hostel, excited to be in a new city and for all the prospects this place could bring. We settled into our two bunks in a dorm of six and planned what we would do for the evening. While relaxing, a man comes in that seems to be our roommate. The first thing I notice: he’s got no front teeth. Kate points out that he is barefoot and each toe seems to be bleeding from some sort of cut. Second thing I notice is that he’s got a bottle of pills next to his bed that Kate later googled and found out they were for ADHD. Regardless, he looks at us, walks out, walks back in, walks out, walks in again and finally introduces himself. We shake his hand and introduce ourselves and within seconds he is out of the room again. We laugh it off, joke about being back in Camden, New Jersey (it’s not that bad) and continue our planning.
Fast forward to 3 in the morning, that night. I’m wide awake, next to a tall window without any curtains and a streetlamp glaring down on my face. Drunk people are singing and stumbling and yelling about how fucking cold it is! I play on my phone and listen to the people in the dorm snore and those outside until suddenly someone burps and bursts out of their bunk. I peek my eye away from my phone and below me is the man from earlier walking towards the door… stark naked. He grabs a towel and walks out of the room and my mind is racing. What the hell was that? Minutes later he returns, disrobes and begins to pace the room, occasionally stopping by our bunk. My eyes are tightly shut and I don’t even dare to move in case he sees I’m awake. Eventually, he drifts back to his bed and back to sleep.
I tell Kate the next morning and she is in stitches from laughing. Of course, we get stuck with this guy. We also talked to a couple others who were staying in the hostel and we got stories regarding that he was doing crack in the bathrooms, was a bipolar scizophrenic, or homeless. Regardless, we continue on with our trip. He isn’t much of a bother for the next two days, especially for me since I am only spending about 5 hours in bed (in between going to bars and getting up early to sightsee, I’m in by 5 am and out by 10 am). It wasn’t until I left Kate in the hostel that things really heated up.
I decided to go to a coffee shop nearby to do some journaling and prepare my bullet journal for the new year. As I’m leisurely creating a grid for my habit tracker, my phone blows up with texts from Kate. Apparently, and there’s video documentation, she was the only one in the dorm when he came in, disrobed to his naked skin, and began to run around the entire dorm. He climbed up my bed and ran on the tops of the bunks, fell and tipped into other people’s beds, and even began army marching across the limited space in the room. Kate is dying of laughter and I’m sweating that something is going to go wrong. He began crawling around on the floor and Kate said he was blocking the doorway so she couldn’t get out. I packed my things and ran as fast as I could to the hostel to tell the front desk. Luckily, by the time I got there she was already out in just her socks and telling another man that was staying in that dorm with us.
Out of breath, I ask her what happened and we decide to get switched out of the room. As we tell the front desk, he looked at us with wide eyes and was so dumbfounded that this was actually going on in his hostel. There were two German girls that got switched out of our room because of the Naked Man and had apparently talked to the manager about him, yet when we told this guy at the front desk, he had no idea this was happening. He switched us out and I ran to the room to get my stuff out of there. But, of course, as I open the door, the Naked Man is standing right in front of me.
Can you please move, I need to get something? I ask. He stares at the wall to the left of me and says, can you give me a minute? Mind you, he is absolutely naked and less than a foot away from me. My heart is pounding and I don’t know if I was ready to punch him or yell at him but I definitely was not happy. He picked his jacket off the hook and then contemplated which one he should put it back on. He took a step closer to me and that’s when I thought I was going to fight him, but after a couple of seconds of pure stillness, not even a single exhale from me, did he do an army 180-degree turn and literally dive 10 feet into his bunk.
I grabbed my shit and left. While walking up the three flights of stairs to our new bunk, my friend is laughing at this whole situation and I’m still a bit appalled and outraged and probably even traumatized. But we got our new room and set out on another adventure.
Sometimes you don’t have to make a good story. Sometimes they find you.