Yes. I'm going away again. This time Auntie Nettie and Grandmary are heading to North Carolina for a week and I'm being dragged along ... I mean ... I was asked along. I'm going as an intermediary, documentarian, and "buffergirl." I thought I'd also pretend to be an anthropologist--visiting the native Southerners and getting a sense for the different culture.I thought I'd hang out with some farm folks here in NY to get an idea of what I'm getting into down south. I'm sure it will be more than I'm anticipating. I know there will be some kind of running around whole hog, and feathers may fly between Auntie Nettie and Grandmary after 17 hours in a car. Talk about basket cases. Am I sure that this will be all that it's quacked up to be?Anyway. Enough anticipation about that trip.
Let's talk about my last set of adventures in the Big City with Christine and Auntie Nettie. I took the train down to Manhattan to stay overnight in a hotel and to attend a major rock concert. I'm an old hand at train travel by now, but it's always good to check out the warning signs. I don't want to slip into the gap.
In light of yesterday's post about subway etiquette, can the MTA make up some signs about the posterior gaps in peoples' pants? You know the ones ... between the boxer shorts and home-boy jeans with some extra "crack" thrown in? Sadly, the same tragic results could occur because of these gaps -- passing out in shock from the view and slipping onto the tracks.I had to beverage myself up in preparation for a long night. This is NOT a decaf. It's a double Caff, with an extra shot of espresso. Diet Coke just doesn't do it for me anymore.
The girls smuggled me into the hotel so they wouldn't have to pay tax on another occupant, so there are no pictures of the very nice lobby of the Grand Hyatt by Grand Central. Lots of over sized furniture. Helpful check-in ladies. Waterfalls and water features. Check-out kiosks and a quick and easy access snack bar.
We took elevators way way way up and wandered up and down the halls to our rooms. While the girls were exploring, I gravitated to the windows. Talk about a view! We were right next door to the Chrysler Building. Love the Art Deco decor.After a long day in the office, the girls preferred to eat en suite before a long night of rocking out. Everyone brought some sort of refreshment, and they were typical for the girls: Diet Coke for Auntie Nettie and Champagne for Christine. I thought I had provided my rider for when I do travel critiques, but it must not have made it from my editor's in-box to hotel management. I will HAVE to do something about that in the future.Wait! How did this get on here!? Auntie Nettie! I told you to delete this photo. I was just goofing around. I didn't mean to break the fancy glass vase.
In all seriousness, I was there to do a job. I can faithfully report that the beds were firm and delightful and that this bolster was a very nice touch. It propped me up to just the right height to see the television.Which was HUGE, I might add. I have to talk to Auntie Nettie about upgrading to a large flat screen like this one. With my limited vision, I need larger screens. (It's time to visit the eye doctor and talk about a new prescription, but wouldn't you know it ... it's not covered on the paltry insurance that I'm lucky enough to have, while I'm still lucky to be employed!)As another part of my job as a travel writer, I like to spend lots of time reviewing the guest services manual. I don't think I'm supposed to review it as a copy writer, but I can't help myself.I should send these over to the Blog of Unnecessary Quotation Marks. "Stay fit" Is that a code for "eat like a pig?" or street code for something else?"Menu" button. I'd love for my phone to have one of these. Then I wouldn't feel so odd about having the local Chinese-takeout place on speed dial. There'd be a dedicated button just for it! But really ... people, you don't need the quotesI also get the feeling that the Grand Hyatt isn't completely pleased by the hygiene of some of its guests. This sign is encouraging me to be "fresh." Wait -- Did it want me to actually feel fresh or to act "fresh?" Because I know I had a workplace harassment seminar and the lecturers were quite emphatic that "fresh" can be interpreted a lot of way. Most of them negatively.I can't quite decide how I feel about a hotel that gets its complimentary bath products to be color coordinated with the decor.At some point in my explorations of the room and the manuals, I emerged to find that Christine had decided to rustle up more room service. I just noticed that somehow SHE was color coordinated to the decor too. I REALLY don't know how I feel about that. I think it's a tad too much.To go with her Champagne, Christine selected a lovely cheese and cracker platter. So sophisticated. You'd think that she was going to a museum or gallery opening or a chamber music concert and not a very loud rock concert with lots of screaming and dancing. She wouldn't let me see the bill for the room service, but I suspect that it cost more than my normal Velveeta or spraycan cheese and Ritz crackers meals.I hadn't realized how hungry I was, so I dug right into the brie. Those grapes are larger than my head. And lo and behold the GIANT Mutant Strawberries. I want the name of the Grand Hyatt's suppliers. Where were these grown? Am I eating locally?We demolished that thing. Except for the prunes. Why prunes? Why ruin a nice platter with prunes?I started to write a note on hotel stationary to express my displeasure with the prunes, but it was time to leave and head over to the concert.We were headed to an a-ha concert. This is the hotel aka. What a difference a consonant and thousands of dollars makes. Here I am mocking the behaviour of two grown women. They were feigning a faint, so here's my version. Informative and a little stiff, no? And a bit ironic, seeing as we were in standing room and I'm flat on my back.The Nokia Theatre is at 1515 Broadway. Here's the back of the line .... all the way around the block, near other venus. I look like I'm perched on the steps to a high-brow theatrical performance, not ready to rock out.One thing I've learned in hanging around with Christine and Auntie Nettie in their years of working at Caramoor is the wisdom of getting to be friends with the tech and events crew. (Remember Nettie's friend Cynthia and the Sting sightings?!) Well, somehow the girls sidled their way over to the side of the stage and between the opening act and the main show started to get to know the event staff. After a while, they persuaded Mike here to sneak me behind the ropes and then he agreed to pose with me. I should have left well enough alone, but I just never know when to stop. I thought Mike and I had a thing going. I thought our relationship was special and would stand all the tests I could throw at it. When Mike's back was turned, I decided to test the boundaries of our bonding.
I mean, I just had to rush the stage. Wouldn't you? The girls were too chicken and I was mesmerized by Morten's dulcet tones. Mike was not amused. He yanked me offstage, gave me a stern talking to, and escorted me out the door. I thought it was just tough love. I mean, who doesn't like bracelets? (Wait, handcuffs don't count as gifts of jewelry?) The girls assure me that I was assuming too much, too soon -- which just goes to show that you can't learn everything by reading how-to relationship books in the reference section of the library or perusing lots of romance novels. Here I am after Christine bailed me out AFTER THE CONCERT! HOURS LATER. She just left me there and enjoyed herself. What kind of friend ... (sputter, sputter!)??? OKAY. I have to admit I'd do the same thing if our roles were reversed. I am calling my lawyer to make sure that no charges will be filed.
I think Mike and I must have really broken up, because he hasn't called or texted or anything. It was really all a silly misunderstanding.
As for my concert coverage, my legal council is not amused and my editor/liaisons at some magazines have been strictly instructed to keep me off the rock beat. (Punny, no?) HR reps at other institutions are hauling me in to review the harassment policy and to talk about what is or is not appropriate "color" to put in articles. Luckily, as a freelancer, I can write up my stories with different slants and sell them to various outfits. Can you imagine the material I'll have when I get back from the SOUTH!?
Until then, I'm The Shushing Librarian, shushing up.
Remember to support your local libraries.
(Mike, call me!?)