I’ve been reading a book series lately that has been around for a while but I missed it somehow so I get to dive in after there are already a ton of books which means you are immersed in the world this author has created. It’s lovely.
However, the lead character, Amelia Peabody, is starting to influence me and this could either go well, or badly. I find myself thinking I need to “take things in hand” and fix them like Peabody. If I started doing this, I would be exhausted because it seems like I’m in plenty of situations that should be better!
I went to a conference for work yesterday. Conferences are uncomfortable. The wee conference chairs are too small. Conference tables are also unmanageably small and somehow there is a table leg every three inches so no matter where you try to sit, it is always right at a leg.
What Peabody would do
March the hotel manager to one of these wee places and tell him or her to sit so they can experience this for themselves. The hotel managers that Peabody set straight would be horrified and ashamed that things were so uncomfortable. They would rectify it immediately and every time she came back to that hotel she would be treated like a queen. I’m pretty sure if I tried this they would dismiss me and avoid me for the rest of the day. I would be the crazy lady they talked about when recounting bad events.
The little things are neglected at these conferences. You’re lucky if you have a water jug at your table but after the first session in the morning, it is usually empty so it just sits there, taunting you, as you try not to cough during a presentation. I probably didn’t even really need to cough until I realized the jug was empty and then all I can do is cough. Be prepared when you leave the room looking for a beverage though. The coffee and tea station has regular coffee cups. Not a disposable cup with a lid but a coffee cup so if you have a bag and a purse and the hallway is chock full of people jostling each other, you quickly realize you can’t have coffee or tea because if you try, you will just spill it somewhere on someone. A can of soda seems like a good option and they have a little tub of them for you but there are no ice and cups. It’s like they expect you to drink it lukewarm, out of a can. OUT OF A CAN! That is just uncivilized.
What Peabody would do
She would never tolerate uncivilized behavior. She would take that empty jug to the nearest hotel personnel, shake her parasol at them, and demand that all the jugs be tended to and by god people would hustle to make it happen. The coffee/tea and cups would be brought to the individual rooms and all soda would be accompanied with glasses and ice. Everyone would thank Peabody for efficiently seeing to this and the hotel would never let it happen again for fear of the dreaded parasol shaking. If I tried any of this, one wait staff would bring me cranberry juice and disappear while I try to figure out what just happened. Then I would have heartburn the rest of the day because I drank the cranberry juice. Hotel 1, me 0.
The final straw yesterday was the lunch. It was dreadful. I’ve thrown away food that was better than what they served and trust me, I’m not picky about food. I may require a glass with ice for soda but I’ve dined on airplane food and thought it was delicious. Even I couldn’t stomach the horrendous mess they gave us. The hotel also only had about three people serving a ballroom of hundreds of people (cramming 10 people around tables for 8). It was awful watching them run to get everyone some terrible food.
What Peabody would do
She would march up to management to defend the poor over-worked servers, produce a four-star chef to whip up something more appetizing, and move some of the people into the conference rooms so we actually had room for our elbows. The serve staff would love her and hail her as their champion. The attendees would support her by telling hotel management that unless they adopted her methods, they would never come back. The only thing I managed to do was find an abandoned tray of ice teas and make sure my table all had one. So I was a bit of a champion to two or three people.
After the dreadful lunch, I was even looking forward to a tepid soda in a can but they were out by then. The vendor booths were also out of Halloween candy so I was a little concerned the conference would turn into Lord of the Flies but we managed to keep it together. It does help to leave early which I can’t help but think was the hotel’s goal all along.
I guess it was the ultimate Peabody act to stay civilized and I did. I’m thinking I really need a parasol though that I can shake at people. That would make me a better Peabody. Or just get me arrested for brandishing a weapon. I’ll bet they don’t have glasses of ice for soda in jail either. Come to think of it, they aren’t big on elbow room. Or jugs of water.
Congratulations hotel, you have the same accommodations as a jail.