Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Fame has Reached a New Level - as an Astronaut

Recently I had an experience with Twitter that could be either amusing, terrifying, confusing or all the above.  I haven’t decided where I land but I have decided to share this experience, for good or for bad.  At the very least, I hope the perpetrators get a good laugh out of it.

A few weeks ago I checked into a hotel in Bothell, WA, a suburb just north of Seattle.  I’ve stayed at this hotel many times before and checked in not thinking anything special about this time.

I got to my room around 10:45pm and shortly after at 10:55pm the phone in my room started to ring.  I figured it was someone in my traveling party calling so I picked it up.

A young voice on the other end asks if I was “Jonathan Smith.”  I said yes.  He then asked, “Are you an astronaut?”  I found that an interesting question as I recently spoke to an elementary school of K-6 grade students about space and some of my NASA experiences and I often found myself reminding them that I am not an astronaut.

I responded that I was not an astronaut.  The young man then asked why I had a NASA logo on my Twitter picture.  I explained that it was called a Twibbon and that anyone could get one.  He again asked if I was an astronaut and I said no.  Then there was 10 seconds of nothing although I could hear a little scuffling.  Then the voice told me I could hang up now.  I said nothing and 10 seconds later, he hung up.

I called down to the front desk and asked if they had caller ID available for incoming calls.  I was told they didn’t and when I explained what happened the desk agent told me that they had asked for me as if they knew me.  That made sense if they were looking at my Twitter profile, which is public after all.

I told the desk agent that it was either a prank call or some kids who were trying to talk to an actual astronaut and were sorely disappointed when I answered the phone.  The hotel manager then got involved and they placed a block on outside calls to my room by placing my on their VIP list.

Unfortunately, for my young friends I was not able to make their night, however they made mine as I had finally arrived and my fame required the hotel to treat me like an A-lister.  I'm posting this from yet another hotel so who knows what this stay will hold. Should I warn the front desk now?