Indigo On The East Coast - Part 4
I believe that when things go wrong, if you can keep your head, things tend to work out ok in the end.
But as I head up in the lift at two in the afternoon, I'm just not feeling it. Things have gone wrong, and I'm really annoyed.
Six months earlier, when I was invited to a friend's wedding in Princeton, I decided to make a break of it, and stay overnight in New York before heading back to London. So I booked a room at the Millennium U.N. Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. It's an impressive skyscraper hotel on the East River, with equally impressive views of the city and the river in all directions.
It was the view that drew me to the hotel, in fact; I am a big fan of the Chrysler Building, a beautiful art-deco skyscraper at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. There's taller buildings, but none with as much style.
And so I was thrilled - a rare thing for me - when I managed to book a room with a view across Manhattan, including a clear and close encounter with my favourite bit of 1930s architecture.
I didn't do this lightly; I called first to inquire about the room, checked the details thoroughly, and gave specific instructions. These were all recorded and confirmed.
No problem, sir.
I then looked forward to it for six months. I even rang to confirm a week before departure.
No problem, sir.
I was excited, giddy almost.
First thing this morning, with a fresh head of memories from the fabulous wedding and reception with good friends, I caught the train to New York from Princeton.
Ten minutes ago, I arrived at the hotel, having walked across town from Penn Station, a tidy step; I was hot and bothered. As I checked in, the friendly and helpful lady on the reception apologised profusely, and said they didn't have the room I requested.
Nothing with that view today at all.
I showed her all the booking details, the confirmations, and explained my love of the Chrysler. She apologised again, and confirmed that she could let me have the room I wanted tomorrow. I explained that as I was staying for a single night, that wouldn't help.
I was polite, if a bit tetchy, and to her credit she sensed my frustration and promised me a lovely alternative with a great view. And I realised that getting angry with her wasn't going to conjure the room I wanted from thin air. She apologised again, and seemed to mean it. She would do her best. Disarmed, I conceded with good grace, and thanked her wearily for her help.
No problem, sir.
But back in the now, heading up in the lift, I'm still annoyed. Annoyed with the hotel for screwing up, and with myself for not asserting myself in a way that got the result I wanted. But had I made a scene, I'd probably be heading to a broom cupboard right now. And who knows, maybe I am?
It's just so damned disappointing.
As the lift hisses open, I stride out purposefully with my single, small suitcase and stomp off angrily to find my room. It's at the end of a corridor, and for once the key works first time. I let myself in.
Actually, the room looks pretty good, much larger than similar hotel rooms in England. There's a nice big bed, a spacious bathroom, a large wardrobe and what looks like a closet. Ooh, and a big plasma TV with cable, which is something.
A broad window occupies the full width of one wall. I walk across the room and check out the view. It's uptown, straight up First Avenue. Not a tourist mecca, not very rock'n'roll, but interesting and Big City I suppose. Just not what I had my heart set upon.
Peering round the corner, I can just see the river. Ah well, it could be worse.
I flop into bed, tired from the train journey and the walk across town, and try to grab a siesta. I'm at the theatre tonight, seeing Spamalot on Broadway, also booked six months earlier. Sleep doesn't come immediately; I worry about the theatre booking going wrong, and there's some general tossing and turning and residual annoyance.
I wake up an hour later. As I lay there, cool and comfortable, I decide that it really is a nice room. I feel calmer and more reflective; perhaps the sleep has helped? I fumble for the remote and click the TV on, quickly finding my way to BBC America; a taste of home. Yeah, this is pretty sweet. I watch a rerun of Doctor Who and after it finishes, I take a shower.
Fresh and awake, and in a better mood, I unpack my clothes, find some underwear, and realise that I have to iron a shirt before I can go out. I remember the closet and wander over to start my search for what will hopefully be a steam iron.
It's not a closet. In fact, Toto, I'm not in Kansas anymore.
It's the other room in my suite. Damn.
I stand dumbfounded. There's comfy sofas, another plasma TV, nice furniture, and windows occupying two walls. It's a corner suite. Good grief, I'm glad I'm only paying for a standard room; this suite would break the bank. I check the view from the corner of the room.
Ah yes, an impressive view of the East River and Roosevelt Island. And what's that building slightly further down the river?
Ah yes, it's The United Nations Building. This is the Millenium U.N. Plaza, I suppose.
This is too much. I call down to reception, and speak to the lady who gave me the room. I thank her profusely, and apologise for being snitty with her earlier.
No problem, sir.
Mistakes happen every day, but it's how people react to correct their mistakes that defines your memory of the experience. And the hotel have reacted well, even if I was too dim to realise it immediately.
They've done me proud in fact; I've landed on my feet.
So, half an hour later, as I stand in my underpants, ironing a shirt ready for a Broadway show, gazing out at the U.N. Building, and watching Top Gear on BBC America on a 50-inch plasma TV, I reflect that it's been an interesting day.
And that, as usual, things worked out ok in the end.
Hope you've enjoyed the trip. Thanks for reading, Indigo
This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2009