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Friday, September 24, 2010


I want to start out saying that I generally try to stick pretty close to the truth as I see it.  That said, my mother wants me to say that she is a perfectly sane and rational person, who never freaks out over nothing, and is an astute observer of others.  She wanted to express that she accurately sees the world, and anything I say that may portray her to the contrary is entirely in my imagination or false observation.  I’ll let you decide.

Now that that’s out of the way, I have some more fun from the vacation to share.  I’m always cold.  It’s one of the reasons I moved down here.  I’m made fun of by my friends because I always need a sweater or blanket, and wear thermal shirts even when it’s 80.  My mother is even colder than I am.  The night we stayed in Chicago, we went to our fabulous favorite restaurant, Geja’s, and stayed overnight in a hotel.  Well, I should say motel.  Since budget was an issue, we splurged on the dinner, and went cheap on the lodging.  By that I mean the motel cost less than the meal.  Since it was part of the Choice Hotel group of chains, I thought it’d be ok, not like a Bates Motel, but it turns out I was only sort of correct.

After dinner we went to have drinks and listen to live piano music, so by the time we reached the motel to check in, it was around midnight.  The placed we’d gone to listen to music was packed, so we didn’t want to try and locate the restroom there.  By the time we drove 20 minutes to get to the hotel/motel, I was pretty much jumping from foot to foot.  The room was in my name, so we both went in to the office to check in.  A large and sleepy looking man was behind the counter, and the speed at which he spoke and worked would have fit right in here in the south.  After a thousand questions, getting my driver’s license photocopied, and signing a half dozen forms, we got a single room key.  We ran for the room.  Well, I ran for the room, and Mother chased me so that she wouldn’t get locked out when the door slammed behind me, since I wasn’t going to wait and hold it for her.

The room seemed a little chilly, around 68 degrees or so, and the AC was running.  On my way to the restroom, I flipped it off.  I looked around and noticed to my relief that everything seemed pretty clean and well maintained.  After washing my hands, I walked into the room to find my mother calling the office about the temperature.  Apparently, the on/off switch on the AC unit was the only option available.  I heard her say, “It’s freezing in this room.  Is there any way to get some heat?” 

I’m guessing he said, “Turn the AC off”, because she replied, “What?  Turn the AC off?  I did that already!  Don’t you have any heat?”  This was followed by, “What?  It’ll warm up eventually??  That’s just not acceptable.  Do you at least have any extra blankets?”  I think the answer he should have given was, “I’m the only one here, and I’m sorry, I can’t leave to get you any.”  Unfortunately, he said something else, because the next thing I heard was, “WHAT???  You don’t have any extra blankets?”…pause…“You’re completely out of blankets?  This is UNbelievable.  And TOTALLY unacceptable.”  This was followed by the phone slamming.  I think my time in the south has conditioned me to expect employees to be as lazy as they possibly can and still be employed.  My mother, however, expects much more of employees.

The next morning we went down to the breakfast buffet. We walked into the room behind a small Hispanic lady in a uniform.  As we got our food, she was fussing with the buffet, keeping everything full.  My mother and I went to sit at a table, and my mother saw an AC unit running, and said, “Brrr.  I’m so cold!” 

The lady manning the buffet must have thought my mother was speaking to her, because she looked up at my mother and shyly asked, “OK?”

My mother put her hands on her hips, leaned forward, and said, “Let me tell you – I have been cold since I got here.  The man in the office last night just said the room would warm up!”  She was gaining volume, and the woman was looking more and more scared.  “Also, when I asked for extra blankets, he said you didn’t have any!   Can you believe that?  NO extra blankets!”  She ended very emphatically, and I pulled her toward the table.  I sort of waved and nodded at the lady, who looked stricken and terrified, and she turned and went back to her business.  A little while later, when I deemed my mother was in a better mood, I asked her to let me know when it was alright to tease her a bit.  She said rather frostily, “It’s OK now.” 

I didn’t think from her tone of voice that it really was, but I just had to go on anyway.  I said, “Do you remember the lady in the breakfast room?”  When I got an affirmative, I said, “Beside the fact that somebody manning the buffet definitely has no authority over the person who mans the office, that lady clearly only spoke a word or two of English.  She had no idea what you were going on about, and probably thought she was going to get in trouble for something.”  And then I laughed hysterically while my mother sputtered.  Her only response was, “She’s working in America, you’d expect her to speak English!”  Well, maybe the American you live in, but certainly not where I live.  Hahahahahahahahahaha.

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