Friday, November 07, 2008
More of the fun that I had on Wednesday
It was Wednesday night. I had survived the panic attack, I had re-met a lovely French lady (I don’t remember her name – is it bad that I call her Juliette in my mind? Complete with the pronunciation that Meg Ryan used in French Kiss? Because I totally think of her as JJhhuuliette); I got to my hotel with no incident, checked in and totally fell in love with my room – here’s why: This wing of 5 rooms has only been open for 10 days. Brand new, and I found out later that I was the first person to stay in mine. So, I lounge around for an hour looking at maps and restaurants online, chatting with my sister and watching TV– did I mention the free wifi? – and then head out to the conference reception where I find – blessed be! – free wine. I drink about a glass and a half and head back to the hotel on foot. My feet are killing me – I vow that the shoes I am wearing will never be on my feet again after I get to my room – and so I call the Bestest Friend to distract me for the 12 minute walk. It works (I developed a new mantra for her in her classroom: “The Children are the future and the volunteers are free” – say it, BFF!) and I arrive in my hotel ready for another glass of wine. Problem The First : My card key doesn’t work. No problem, they gave me 2! Problem The Second : It doesn’t work either. So I go back to the front desk – it is, of course, across the building - they cheerfully reprogram my keys and I head back. Problem The Third: They don’t work either. I stand in the hallway wondering if this is the kind of place that will mind if I run around in my socks and try to convince myself that someone with a master’s degree should really be able to open a hotel room all by herself. Unfortunately, the lock didn’t listen to me and I had to go back up front the lady working the desk. I want to say right now that this woman was incredibly nice, funny and just an all around great receptionist. I almost looked forward to going up front. Except…Have I mentioned my laptop was on the other side of that locked door? I was beginning the early stages of withdrawal. This time, she gave me some kind of master key that will open any door in the building. As I trekked back down the hallways – they were growing about a yard on each trip – I had fun imagining what was behind all the doors I passed, because some of them weren’t numbered. They could be ANYthing and I wondered if each one held the secret wine stash for the complimentary 5 o’clock cheese and wine fun that I had missed out on. Problem the Fourth: The master key did not work on my room. It did work on the unmarked door next to my room (it was a conference room, no wine in sight). So I begin walking back up front. Have I mentioned I’m lugging around a bag of conference materials which – since I am a librarian – is just full of publishers’ catalogs? This time, the lovely lady sends her assistant with me without pointing out that trained monkeys have fewer problems getting into hotel rooms. But… Guess what? His key doesn’t work either. The lock is completely malfunctioning. We begin our walk back up front. I’m terrified to look at my feet – I’m convinced that by now, they are oozing out of the seams on the sides of the shoes. But then something wonderful happens. Halfway between the desk and my room is the hospitality suite; we meet the angel from the front on our meanderings and she guides me in, seats me at a very comfy table, brings me the newspaper and asks would I like a glass of wine? Red or white? Do I need a cigarette? She has a Camel Light. I take the wine, refuse the cigarette and settle in to watch Brian Williams on NBC talk about President-Elect Obama, OMG I LOVE TYPING THOSE WORDS SO MUCH I HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN. President-Elect Obama. Can you see my grin? Angel floats in the room 10 minutes later to refill my glass and let me know the repairman’s on his way and they would be more than happy to give me another suite to wait in, if that’s what I’d prefer. Later they would bring my stuff to my new room. At this point, I was more annoyed that she was talking over Mr Williams recap of PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA’S life (because we don’t all know the story by heart by now), but she had brought wine, so I just said no thanks and settled back in. 45 minutes later, the repairman – also an incredibly nice person – came and told me he had replaced my lock. He escorted me back to my room – he refilled my wine glass on the way and apologized profusely for the problems. He’s the one that renovated this wing, and he was horrified that the first person to stay in this room was having a problem. I found out he lived in Birmingham 20 years ago, and we chatted about Riverchase. I did NOT add him to my Christmas card list, but I liked him enough to almost ask his name before I realized I was on the slippery slope of making connections with random strangers all over the place and never remembering any of their names. I may have flirted a little, but I blame it on the wine and the fact that he was reconnecting me with my laptop which I hadn’t touched in TWO AND A HALF HOURS. I have to say that a hotel that cures all its problems with complimentary wine is a place that I will be happy to stay in the future.