I travel a lot. I stay in many hotels, see many cities, eat at MANY fast food restaurants. Basically, I'm looking for simple, courteous service. Something I can understand, something I can appreciate, something I can at least tolerate. Allow me to take a moment of your time to discuss an adventure I had in the recent past.
The town is New Orleans, Lousiana. The French Quarter, true Dixieland music, the famed Hurricanes; it's a city that never sleeps. You can buy anything, anytime, anywhere. I wasn't there during Mardi Gras, but nonetheless, I thought I'd enjoy my stay. The weather was great. During the days, I sat by the waterfront in the sun, writing, reading, or just enjoying the fresh air. I worked in the evenings, at a theater on Canal Street. And after work, I'd enjoy myself around town with friends, visiting various jazz clubs, satiating my appetite with some local cuisine, and generally having a good time. So with all this glory, what was wrong with this picture?
I think I'll start with my lovely place of temporary residence: the Pallas Hotel. I should have known immediately that I was in trouble. They pronounce it "Palace" yet spell it "Pallas." Go figure. By the end of my stay, I was calling it the "Pal-Ass."
I took to calling it "The Fleabag Hotel." I would answer the phone, "Hello, Fleabag..." I have since decided that "fleabag" is inappropriate. "Bag" isn't encompassing enough. I thought of "fleasuitcase" or perhaps "fleacloset", both of which are much larger than a "bag", but still, not enough. Welcome to the Flea Storage Center!
Now, the general disgust I would experience upon simply EXISTING in the hotel was one lovely aspect of my stay. Another was the delightful front desk service this hotel had to offer. I call this portion of our story "The Fax Episode."
Time: 10:45am Place: The Big Jew's room. [THE BIG JEW (hereafter TBJ) is on the phone.] TBJ: Okay, so you'll send me that fax? CUSTOMER SUPPORT FROM APPLE: Yes, in about ten minutes. TBJ: Thank you. [Ten minutes pass. The phone rings. TBJ answers it.] TBJ: Hello? FRONT DESK PERSON #1: Front desk. We have a fax for you. TBJ: Thank you.
Time: 4:30pm Place: The Front Desk [TBJ goes downstairs... Oh, the elevator is another saga in itself.] TBJ: Hi, I'm from Room 654. I have a fax here? FRONT DESK PERSON #2: Just a minute. [He checks his stack of faxes.] No, sorry, there's nothing here. TBJ: I got a call this morning that said I had a fax here. FDP2: What room are you in again? TBJ: 654. FDP2: Just a minute. [He checks the stack again.] No, I'm sorry. There's no fax for you. TBJ: I got a call this morning. Someone told me there was a fax here. I was expecting a fax. FDP2: Are you sure they got the right number? TBJ: Yes, I was expecting a fax this morning. FDP2: What room are you in again? TBJ [beginning to fume]: 6-5-4. FDP2: Let me look again. [He brings back one fax.] Is this it? TBJ [reading the fax, seeing that it's for someone named Linda]: No, that's not for me. FDP2: Just a minute. [He goes back to the stack, gets another fax.] Is this it? TBJ [reading the new fax, seeing that it's for someone named Billy]: No, that's not it either. [this bit is repeated *seven times*. None of the faxes are for TBJ.] FDP2: I'm sorry, those are all the faxes. TBJ: It must be here. This morning, someone from this front desk called me and said, "You have a fax here." So I came downstairs to get it. FDP2: What time this morning? TBJ: About 11:00. FDP2: Oh, see, that was the morning shift. TBJ: What? FDP2: The morning shift. I'm on the afternoon shift. TBJ: So when the morning shift leaves, they throw away all remaining faxes? [HINT: I think I confused him with the word "remaining."] FDP2: No. TBJ: So it should still be here? FDP2: Yes. TBJ: Maybe it's near the fax machine. [FDP2 leaves. Minutes later, he returns with FRONT DESK PERSON #3.] FDP3: You have a fax here? TBJ: Yes. FDP3: What room are you in. TBJ: I'M IN ALL THE ROOMS... (Actually, I didn't say that... I did say:) TBJ: 654. [FDP3 flips through a box DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF ME ON THE DESK. She finds the tab marker for "654", pulls out a sheaf of papers.] FDP3: Is this it? TBJ: Yes. Thank you.
It's amazing exactly how insanely stupid some people can be. Perhaps I shouldn't get so riled up about all this... I mean, people are always going to be dumb, and there's little I can do about it, so why get pissed off? It's just my defense mechanism. I have to reassert my awareness that I'm a little quicker than the average bear. Otherwise, I might just melt into a puddle of my own -- Well, never mind. I wonder if I'll ever understand how their minds work. Maybe they're a bizarre unfinished collective, like the Borg. Maybe they're one of God's failed experiments, like Andrew Dice Clay, The Bangles, or the TRS-80. And maybe they have a hidden agenda, and some day, I'll be the subject of their web site. In the meantime, I just have to accept the fact that I don't get it.