Thursday, July 19, 2007
I'm away on a work trip to Canada until the weekend. Really, really hard to be away from the family, but I always end up learning a lot when I do it to the benefit of my work, so we deal with the hassle.
Right now I'm in the lounge at the hotel eating dinner. The floor I'm on is on their "special" floor where everybody acts like they're rich, even if they're not. In the lounge there's a free buffet of appetizers...I eat ample amounts to skip buying dinner out. (A good friend of mine and I have been coming to this same place for the same meetings for about 5 years; unfortunately he's unable to come this year, which is a bit of a bummer. Long-term friendships are still susceptible to disappointment when you're not able to see each other when you otherwise would.)
So here I sit, having my ample glass of Balvenie 15yr single malt scotch whiskey for CAN$10.00, and the room is slowly growing with snobby people. Case in point: hubby and wifey walk up to the honor-system bar cabinet, glance it over carefully, and with a dramatic sigh wifey announces to the room, "Well, that might do..."
The cabinet is an old wooden case with display shelves on either side holding the various kinds of glasses, and the middle is a pair of shelves with lots of liquor, open red and white wines (acceptable years---cough),
and other bits: ice, tobasco sauce, lemon slices, et al. Under the shelves are two small (college-style) refridgerators holding a range of beers, sodas, juices, water, etc. And two small bottles of champagne for that clever lover who proposes out of the blue on vacation and couldn't find a more appealing setting than in a hotel.
Next to the wines is a small box with sheets of paper in it: this is the honor part. You fill in your name, room number, and list out what you had: ITEM, QUANTITY, COST. I'm sure plenty of people fudge their own honesty when it comes to this little sheet of guilt. But the concierge staff who work the desk for the floor are pretty good at recognizing everyone. Like, everyone. So go ahead, if you're staying only one night and don't come here much, have what you want. But if you're here for more than one night, or have repeat visits, they'll know not only your name, but little idiocyncracies you didn't think anyone ever noticed. Case in point: I walk in here this morning for breakfast, and the same lady who was here last year walks up to me and says, "Welcome back! Would you like a latte this morning?" (Last year I asked her for the same, but apparently it's not something they document as an option to the guests---just a detail that's ready to happen if someone should ask. )
There are now three couples, none of them under the age of 50. All of the women have blindingly shiny bits of light dancing on their fingers as they gesture around telling a witty story to their husbands. I'm at a table by a window, plates of food around my laptop, my whiskey doing little trembles as I type. (Cut to a clip
from Jurassic Park as they tremble to the footsteps of the T-Rex, the water in their glass rippling.)
I think what makes me not belong is my jeans and these great Teva sandals with no socks to hide my bare feet. Then it could be the three small plates of food distributed around my laptop on this fine black marble table-for-two.
I'll finish my food then go in a bit to hang out with folks from the meeting I'm attending. I wonder if Mr Receding and Mrs Rocks will look at each other with relief when they see the rules of good society and order are finally back in place?