Remember that bitchy hospital administrator in Little Miss Sunshine, the one who told the family (Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin) that they couldn’t take Alan Arkin‘s body with them because of all the rules and regulations? Well, four years ago in Telluride I ran into the same kind of person. Let’s call her Ilsa, and describe her as the most reptilian and cold-blooded Airbnb host I’ve ever exchanged words with.

Posted on 9.4.17: During the just-concluded Telluride Film Festival, Tatyana and I stayed in a second-floor unit at the Mountainside Inn. The MI is a simple, clean, unpretentious operation, and not too pricey, at least by Telluride standards — just under a grand for four nights and a wake-up. For years it’s been known as the poor man’s solution to lodging during this excellent, world-class festival.

Our unit was fine. Okay, the shower nozzle wasn’t working very well but you can’t have everything. Well located (333 South Davis street), comfortable, no major concerns. The wifi was surprisingly excellent, and that obviously matters a lot.

I do think, however, that it was dishonest of the owner, a local attorney named Jerry, to not state in the Airbnb posting that he wasn’t subletting a presumably attractive stand-alone condo but a down-at-the-heels Mountainside Inn unit. There was no indication of this on the Airbnb profile page. Again, I wasn’t especially displeased by our stay, but Jerry should have laid his cards face-up.

A pretty local named Ilsa greeted us when we arrived. Pretty but, to be honest, a bit brittle and bitchy. After showing me the place and giving me a single room key (the MI manager graciously offered a second), Ilsa asked if I was happy with the place. I said I was feeling a bit underwhelmed, to be perfectly honest, as I’d been under an impression that the unit would be some kind of upscale condo. I said it would have to do, but that I wasn’t thrilled.

Ilsa didn’t care for the candor. Adopting an icy, officious tone, she said that if I felt that way maybe it would be a good idea if I stayed somewhere else. No fooling, she actually said that. My jaw dropped. I had just driven six hours from Albuquerque, I told her, and so I was rather tired and stressed. Plus I had paid for this unit a few months earlier and everything was set. And yet Ilsa actually suggested what she suggested.

Sensing danger, I pleaded with Ilsa not to be punitive. I all but dropped to my knees and begged. She finally took pity and agreed to honor the Airbnb contract. Thank you, I said. You’re so kind and considerate.

I am hereby nominating Ilsa for the Telluride Chamber of Commerce Hospitality award. But there’s no need to harp on this. I’ve stayed at the MI before. The sheets are clean and every unit has a little refrigerator and stove. The TV wasn’t of this era (probably made during the George W. Bush administration) but there was no time to watch it anyway.