New York Story-Summer 2010

“Though I get home …how late, how late! So I get home…t’will compensate.”

Yeah, whatever.

I was in no mood to encounter Emily Dickinson and this chirpy attitude at La Guardia yesterday…where Susan Lipstick and I spent about 4 and a half hours pondering what kind of “non-weather related event” was mysteriously keeping US Airways only available aircraft from leaving Norfolk , Va.

Suffice to say, we were finally able to switch planes, but unable to sit together. Susan drew the Seatmate of the Year, an agitated young man who seemingly did not speak English. He was darting up and down the aisle in an odd fashion when we boarded, creating a nuisance…and then spent part of the flight running in place, knees bobbing up and down in his seat , interrupted by intervals wherein he oddly laid his head sideways on the tray-table and stared wide-eyed as if he were in prayer. He tried to jump up a few times when the seatbelt sign was on but the stewardess had already made herself omnipresent by his seat. Anyhoo, whatever she and the rest of us thought about this kid was cleared up upon touchdown, when he revealed (non-verbally) that his actions were not due to nefarious intentions…but nausea…and he promptly threw up.

Yes, as Susan and I like to say…another New York Story.

Actually, this road trip provided a plethora of good material.

Like our hotel.

Susan and I have a philosophical belief that our business must support these trips, not ourselves or our husbands. Therefore, at this stage, our choice in hotels is somewhat “limited.” Basically, we look for places that are clean, in a good neighborhood, and have a lobby that appears free of individuals soliciting for any type of criminal enterprise. I start looking months before for good rates.

We have a few “favorites.” One is a former “condo” hotel up in the fifties in a great area. For around $225 a night (not including taxes and fees), one has a living room, kitchen, and bedroom with two beds. This place however, is a chiropractor’s dream…the mattresses have been there since the Eisenhower administration and there are actual springs popping up in the upholstered furniture. One has to rotate in and out of this place just to get in shape to stay there again.

The glitzy Marriott Marquis has a great rate every now and then…if you have your own oxygen tank and want to try wading through the huddled Masses yearning to do…. God knows what…in Times Square. That hotel also has the most hideous elevator concept…obviously dreamed up by a bunch of engineers who don’t get out much. Picture a large crowd of people waiting in an area served by a large bank of elevators. Suddenly an elevator “lands.” Doors open. But WAIT!!! This elevator only serves the 7th, 12th, 19th, 28th, and 30th floors. The rest of you are out of luck. The crowds now surge to other opening doors, to see what Lucky People THIS TIME may have made the cut. Try doing this in the morning when everyone has somewhere they really need to be. No, no…we prefer the rock-slab mattresses and popping springs to THIS anytime.

But this visit, I thought I’d really scored…$169 a night at the Sheraton Manhattan. Great Location, nice hotel. Imagine our surprise to pull up there and find the Sheraton “S” has been scoured from the building facade, replaced by an ominous big “M”…. and the Sheraton flag has been lowered in some sort of humiliating hotel break-up ceremony. Apparently, this property, for the time being, has been kicked out of the Sheraton fold.

We were soon to find out why.

Things started well. Susan and I were happy to find that our room was ready and set about unpacking and tidying up, getting ready to leave. That’s where the trouble started.

It was attempting the act of “leaving.”

We soon found our door would not open far enough to allow either one of us to exit. Let me just say here, that although neither one of us is a svelte as we used to be…leaving this room required the build of a narrow shouldered anorexic twelve-year old. Further inspection found a big screw on the ground, but neither Susan nor I could reach the upper door apparatus, so I called down to “Lisa” at the desk TO INFORM HER WE WERE TRAPPED IN THE ROOM. Lisa apparently saw no urgency in this…the “M’ was not on fire…YET…so I had to call two more times before the Calvary arrived and freed us.

Late in the afternoon, we returned to our room at the “M” and yes, the door appeared fixed (we did our own “tests” before both entering) but now it was evident the hallway was cooler than the room.

MUCH cooler.

No air was emanating from any of the blowers. Imagine here an atmosphere in this room that approximates something like the two of us being shut in a crate in a very hot NYC warehouse. (which, in fairness, probably rents for more than $169 a night, I’ll admit) So-o-o I called Lisa again, assured her, no, we were not trapped again…but nevertheless, somewhat traumatized by the heat. The Calvary arrived again…and moved us to another, much cooler room.

Alrighty then.

About an hour later, somewhat revived, I tried to go on the Internet…for which we were paying. You guessed it…no luck. By now, Lisa knows my voice and is getting a little snippy in the tone. She pawns me off on someone somewhere in India who handles their Internet issues when possible…but in this case…”not possible.” So I ring up ole Lisa again.

Now Lisa sends up one of the familiar faces from our previous adventures who proceeds to get in quite a heated debate with his international other half…shouting into the phone…”You don’t know NUTHIN’ over there! I am here! You don’t know NUTHIN’!” For about 20 long minutes, he is yelling into the phone, then muttering in my direction, and then banging wired stuff around. Finally, he condescends to replace the modem cord to “prove you wrong” and…. lo and behold!…it works! Somewhere in New Delhi…a slammed receiver reverberates through an ear drum. As he departs, I try to make some friendly conciliatory comments, but I sense I am no favorite of his either.

So now Susan and I dress and go to dinner. Returning home to the Ex-Sheraton, we now discover another piece in the puzzle as to why this property may have fallen from hotel grace: the walls are paper-thin. There is now, as the song says, “a party going down” in the adjacent room…with loud music, strange whoops at certain intervals, and VERY LOUD, excited repartee in some oriental language. Let’s just insert here that these rooms each had a small bath, two double beds, a desk and chair, and about a 6 (six) inch periphery around which to move in beyond that. So Susan is guessing it’s an (a la Francaise) “intime” Korean cock-fight; I’m thinking it’s an early evening cocktail party mixer for “The Real Housewives of Pyongyang.”

In any event, as the “festivities” drag on until the eleven clock hour… we are weighing our options. Hope-to-God that “Lisa” is off -duty by now, but, even so, we fear being booted out onto the street if we call the desk again. As for banging on the wall, or worse yet, actually confronting Whatever-Activity-In-Progress…we have watched collectively FAR too many “Law and Order-Special Victims Unit” episodes for THAT. But as luck would have it, numerous door slams indicate The Neighbors are now “taking it to the street.”

Susan Lipstick and I decide to get some sleep. They may be back.

But we never hear another peep. Perhaps they visited another room in the hotel and, knowing this place as we do now..are trapped in there behind a door that only opens to about 3 inches…or perhaps they are passed out from all that “exercise” and lack of air conditioning.

The mystery remains….

In any event…Susan and I persevered…and enjoyed our trip as we always do.

We are Strong.

We are Invincible.

We are…WOMAN.

And we are finally home in our cool, comfortable air-conditioned houses…with more great material for our “New York Stories.”


7 Responses

  1. Your posting arrived fortuitously – I came home from my first day “back in the saddle” in a bad mood that only administrators can induce in a teacher – and I thought why not see if the dynamic duo (as that how I like to think of you and Susan Lipstick) had returned from their adventures…….and there was your hilarious posting. I look forward to reading about your adventures – hope that you both managed to avoid the fluid projectiles of the young airline lad.

  2. Very amusing stuff! But while you were away, your own “City of the Big Shoulders” was doing its best to muscle New York off the stage of “Laugh-in.”

    Sam, my one and only godson, attended a party this past weekend in Chicago at the home of the grandparents of a young lady who had recently smiled upon him. The elderly hosts proved most hospitable, even opening their liquor cabinet to the twenty-somethings who roamed through their large house. When the time came for a now tipsy Sam to look for a bathroom, his girlfriend directed him, for reasons not yet clear to me, to the little-used one in the basement. Sam soon discovered to his dismay that the toilet flushed most meekly. Looking around for a plunger in the dimly lit room, he spotted one in a far corner, in the midst of three rifle-like objects leaning against the wall. Stumbling for the plunger, Sam inadvertently knocked over a loaded two-barrel shotgun—which promptly discharged, blowing the toilet into a parallel universe.

    Sam escaped without injury. His father, not as amused as I by the adventures of his young Werther, has instructed his son henceforth to avoid any bathroom stocked with more than two Winchesters or one bazooka.

    • Benny, that is a classic (words fail me on how hard I’ve laughed over this comment!)

      Suffice to say…I’ve read Elvis shot up TVs when the programming offended him…but TOILETS? I hope your Godson doesn’t inspire a rash of copycat unsatisfied flushers. 🙂

      • “I hope your Godson doesn’t inspire a rash of copycat unsatisfied flushers. ”

        Indeed. I can see it now: Nancy Grace pontificating about weapons of ass destruction . . .

  3. Benny:

    I can barely stop laughing hard enough to type. Here is the more important question – its the young woman who smiled so favorably upon your godson still smiling? Will her grandparents invite the toilet slayer back? Wil the grandparents think twice the next time about a generous liquor cabinet? Inquiring minds, as the add used to say, want to know!

    My guess is that your godson had the quickest sober upping in the record books.

    • Sam’s father, my best friend, told me of his son’s adventure only today at lunch. Two hours later, I left the office for home, as the heartburn induced by my laughter at lunch rendered me useless for the balance of the afternoon.

      I cannot yet say how things are going with Sam and his squeeze. I do know, though, that Sam’s father has told his son NOT to pay the $600 for the new toilet that her grandfather wishes to install. (It seems that Sam picked on a “specialty” toilet, one that only Kohler can replicate–at a specialty price.) I understand that some testy e-mails are being exchanged. My friend, a crack lawyer, has yet to join the fray.

      If one can sober up TOO quickly, Sam almost surely confronted a peculiar variation on the bends.

  4. Theme music…

    “I Shot the Kohler…but I didn’t shoot no Toilet Seat”


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