It Hardly Matters

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I Just Feel Like Posting This

April, comes she will
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain

May, she will stay
Resting in my arms again

June, she'll change her tune
In restless walks she'll prowl the night

July, she will fly
And give no warning to her flight

August, dies she must
The autumn winds blows chilly and cold

September, I remember
A love once new has now grown old

Thank you for indulging me. And thanks to Paul Simon. And Art, of course, for singing.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Overheard in Flahrida

“Toucan? That’s in the Swan. We're in the Dolphin.”

--Hotel security guy to confused conference attendee at Exhibit Hall entrance.

“Do they have a Wal-Mart in DisneyWorld?”

--Giant tourist dad in leisure wear in the Screen Door General Store checkout line.

“If you like crowds, they have the biggest Mickey Mouse store in the world right down the street.”

--Well-meaning high school teacher to me, at the booth. [Ed: who likes crowds?]

Friday, July 14, 2006

Anatomy of an Expensed Martini

I’m drinking the most delicious dirty Bombay martini at this very moment. My computer is on a backgammon table. The hotel bar is itself delicious--it has that old New York bar feel, with dark wood and a hodgepodge of leather armchairs, rattan sofas, old sewing machines, and floor-to-ceiling windows allowing the aggresive sunset to pierce through the low-lit room. My table is too high for typing, ergonomically designed for drinkers, not writers. I always thought they were one in the same.

I’m a new woman after spending 2 hours by the pool. I went from an overly-air-conditioned, fluorescent-lit, windowless exhibit hall to a blindingly sunny patio with geckos running about, a few nonscreaming kids in the moderately-sized pool, and flowers, flowers. I hottubbed. I talked on the phone to my mom and to a friend, both in mid-crisis—they were lucky to have caught me at the only time on this trip when I was psychologically able to calm them down and respond earnestly, sympathetically, to their problems.

There is a woman sitting near me, part of two couples. She is elegant. Her arms are simple bones with flesh draped over them. Her shoulders are sunburned, her watch glints when she stirs her Diet Coke. An acceptably funky wooden costume necklace hangs from her roped neck. She knows her arms are her best feature, and in the mornings as she dresses she furrows her brow and bites her lips but then sees those long, thin arms.

I move outside to the porch. Much better. Sunset, pink flowers, cigarettes. And, as if it couldn’t get any better, the bartender brings me an ashtray. It’s glass, and old-fashioned. Perfection. Sunsets are so dramatic. In Egypt, the ancient people believed that each day was born to the goddess Nut, and died each night. So poor Nut would have to give birth every 24 hours. When I think about that, my life doesn’t seem so bad.

The olives taste like they’ve been surrounded by blue cheese for several weeks. Scrumptious. A storm cloud is passing overhead. Thunder. Weather changes so quickly in Florida, she’s a moody girl, like me.

I’m not seeing cross-eyed yet, but I’m close. It’s delightful. I’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Reporting Live from Flahrida

I'm now the proud owner of a Mickey Mouse umbrella. It’s raining in Florida, and I hate my life.

Where shall I begin? The 5:30 AM confirmation call from the car service? The driver not knowing how to get to LaGuardia from Williamsburg? The woman next to me on the plane elbowing me for 3 hours as she played touch-screen video games and ignored her son? Charming. Speaking of charms, she sported a lovely bangle on her right wrist featuring the character Spike from the popular, yet now cancelled, television show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Allrighty then!

After a significant amount of turbulence (50 kids, screaming) and a ride on the “Magic Express” bus (packed with families of four wearing matching T-shirts), I finally arrive at the Walt Disney Boardwalk Inn, where I am to stay for 4 days for a conference.

There are no smoking rooms left. But Hermie, my magical check-in agent, says I can smoke on the balcony because it's “near” the smoking rooms. Ok...? As I unlock the door of the soon-to-be-smoking room 2335, the phone is ringing. Hermie! She asks how I like the room. “Well, it’s all right, but I would prefer a smoking room.” “Ok!” she replies, extremely cheerfully. “I’m calling because the AMEX card that was on file was declined.” I guess my upgrade to a king bed smoking palace wasn’t going to happen.

The corporate card for the hotel room and additional charges (of which I plan to make many) did not go through and at this very minute I have no idea if I’m paying for the room out-of-pocket—a concept that is quite hilarious given that I have $288 in my bank account and I think that’s less than the nightly rate at the Boardwalk. The excitement never ends!

I do have a room key/”Magic Pass” that lets me eat, drink, and buy stuff on the room. However, the Exhibit Hall is in another hotel that doesn’t take the card. Of course not! Speaking of the two-hotel dynamic, they are in fact a 30-minute walk from each other, which might be nice if one was on one’s honeymoon and not lugging a laptop in the rain whilst wearing work shoes that a girl that works on Seventh Avenue in New York City wears.

Exhibit Hall setup is supposed to start at 12:30; I get there at 2:15 and they are not even checking people in yet. Blond high school boys whose summer job it is to lug and assemble portable kiosks scurry by, carrying metal boxes that will soon house a conference administrator that will check my name off of a ridiculously long alphabetized list of presenters. I leave the hall and forage for lunch.

My treat to myself is that I’m having a Sam Adams before I set up the booth. Tonight’s after-booth plans? Room service, Internet browsing ($9.95 for 24 hours of access), cable TV, and God-willing, a bottle of hooch. I wonder what kind of liquor selection they have at the Screen Door General Store. According to the Boardwalk Bugle, it offers “a selection of grocery items, snack items, sodas, beer, wine…” EUREKA! I will drink whatever expensive swill they have in that joint. I just hope Mickey isn’t on the bottle.

Note: There is no free WiFi – anywhere in Disney. Oh, and I think the pool is closed for maintenance.

More to come!