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Grand Hotel

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
Names certainly can be misleading. For example, you hear of someplace called the Grand Hotel and you think to yourself…”Well that must be grand..” but when you arrive you find it might have been grand in the late 1800’s. Never trust a photograph you find on the internet. I repeat never trust a photograph you find on the internet.

I’m one to talk and should follow my own advice, but often times I forget to do so and it gets me in the jam I find myself in at this moment. I am in New York City for a writers conference and located a ‘grand’ hotel a few blocks down from the conference. No problem so far, rates were reasonable, which should have been my first clue and they had plenty of rooms available for the dates I selected. This should have been my second clue.

I arrive at noon. Their desk manager tells me that I cannot check in until three in the afternoon since housekeeping doesn’t get finished until that time. So I cool my heels in the lobby watching the house detectives turn the hookers away from the elevators as they arrive, this should have been my third strike and I’m out of there clue. But I’m stuck with my prepaid reservation, so here is where I’ll be for the next couple of days.

Three hours passes and I finally get the key. I’m so glad I opted for the executive size room instead of the deluxe, even though it cost another twenty bucks a night. Once I open the door, I shudder to think what size I missed by taking the upgrade. If I was about four inches taller, then I could touch all four walls of my ‘executive’ room at the same time. I wonder what the ‘deluxe’ one looks like.

This room is so small that if I sit in the chair at the desk, then I cannot open the door to the room. If I were to fall out of bed, I guess I’d get stuck in-between the bed and the wall. In addition to the room size, they are in the process of remodeling the hotel. I always seem to find these. Of course I never get one of the rooms that have actually been remodeled; I only get the ones on the floors where the remodeling is actually taking place. I choose to see this as a plus since it allows me to keep up with the latest trends in construction. For example in the room next to me is a new high velocity jack hammer which I had never seen or heard before this trip. If I had gotten a better room in a better hotel, I might have missed it altogether. Fortunately all of the workers are union so they do quit each afternoon at five. About the time the police sirens start.

I don’t want you to get the idea that I’m cramped in here, but listen to this. When I arrived, I discovered that I had not packed any spare trousers. I left the hotel in search of something a man of my age might be able to wear. An hour later I have some of the latest hip-hop pants you’ve ever seen…at least they were on sale.

Now what I have to do is to iron them so they look half way presentable. The only problem is the ironing board is in the closet. I have to move the chair so I can open the closet door. Then I drag the board out, but wait…. There isn’t any room to set it up. I finally decide to lay it on top of the sink in the bathroom since I need the electrical plug that powers up the hair dryer. No problem so far, I think I’m smarter than the average rabbit.

Now I find that the cord to the iron is about two feet long and won’t reach from one end of the board to the other. So I can either move the pants all over the place or plaster them up on the wall and iron them from there. I wish I had a video of this to show the folks back home.

No problem, I got it done….when in Rome or New York…just do as the locals do. Not that this always makes any sense, but it does keep you from going insane.
© Peary Perry
Letters From North America

September 19, 2007 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com

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