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Chasing The American Dream

February 24, 2005


Doesn't it seem that the world is slightly off kilter these days? Maybe it's just me in my own little world, I dunno? It started with someone swiping my doormat. I didn't tell you, but about a month before that, I ordered some special Korean Chili Garlic Sauce for a salmon recipe I got from a local restaurant. It took me forever to find the sauce online. UPS delivered it but by the time I got home from being out of town, someone had stolen it. I can just imagine the look on the crook's face when they opened it up and probably said, "WTF is this shit?"

Anyway, last Friday my absentmindedness struck again. I left my pillow in the hotel room. Being a regular, I figured for sure, without a doubt, like no sweat, I'd get it back. I called the front desk and no one had turned it in. Now I can't imagine what anyone would do with a used, well-worn pillow with a yellow-checked pillowcase? What could the maids have been thinking?

I checked back in on Tuesday and still, the pillow had not surfaced. Tonight, my dependable front desk friend told me the pillow didn't turn up. She said it *may* even be in the same room being used by someone. Geez, when she put it *that* way, the more I think about it, the less I want my pillow back. Feeling a little disappointed, I got back to my room, fumbled with the key card as always (do those things ever work on the first swipe?), and opened the door to a furnace. Lucky me, the air conditioner wasn't working and it was about 100 degrees in there. I walked back to the front desk and had my friend follow me back to my room. I asked her if they had planned to convert my room into a sauna and forgot to tell me about it. She said she'd have maintenance look at it tomorrow and, oh by the way, they're sold out and I can't change rooms.

Frustrated once again, I turned to my saving grace. My computer. Time to blog. {Click} {Click}. Nothing. No high-speed internet. Hmmm. How about the wireless? {Click} {Click}. Nope. I called my front desk friend and told her I had no internet service. She said she'd 'reset' me. If she did, it didn't work. So I resorted to the phone modem. {Click} {Click}. Nothing. No dial tone. I stared at the phone ready to throw it through the window. I was fast running out of options. Hmmm. I looked around the room and found another phone. {Click} {Click}. Unbelievable. I got a connection. Blogged some and went down to do my 2-mile treadmill run at 1:30 am.

By then, there was another front desk person at the helm. I told him I was still having trouble with the internet and he said he'd 'reset' me. I did my run and came back to my room. {Click} {Click}. No high-speed internet. So here I sit typing this in on an old-fashioned phone modem. Totally frustrated by the little things once again. Life on the road sucks. I'm ready to go home.

But at least the night wasn't a total loss. I got to see a reprise of Sum 41 singing "Pieces" on the Leno repeat show. Great song. Check it out. And send me some good karma while you're at it.


  • Silly wabbit...don't you know by now? You make your own Karma.

    Take the hints, maybe you need to "reset" yourself.

    By Blogger Bubbles, Ink., at 7:08 AM, February 24, 2005  

  • If you haven't already, you need to speak with the manager. As a frequent guest, you deserve better than the service you've received. They need to find a way to compensate you. There is no excuse for not finding that pillow and that pillow case. And if everyone hadn't checked in so far that night, they should have put you in another room and walked the other individual. Your recent treatment is unacceptable, as far as I'm concerned.

    By Blogger M, at 7:31 AM, February 24, 2005  

  • i agree with michelle. if there is anything i have learned in life, its that the squeaky wheel gets the oil. i ALWAYS ask for compensation now, always, as it really doesnt cost them squat to make your life a little better while staying in their establishment (especially after something has happened which has made your life worse, ie no internet, a room nearing the temperature of the sun, etc. And since you stay there often, even more reason for them to take care of you. now, if it was me, and my room was a 1000 degrees (i consider working A/C in a FL hotel to be a requirement, not a nice to have), i would have said "then you better find me a room in another chain, oh, and i want something for the inconvenience of having to move to that hotel." and before you think "yeah, but i hate to be mean to the front desk people, its not their fault, etc.", i always nicely explain immediately to that person, "listen, i know this isnt your fault, however, i am sure you can understand my frustration....", and then move to an escalation strategy. if they cant help to remedy the situation, then who can, and you want to speak to that person. i would bet a hotel that has someone who is a guaranteed 5 night a weeker for weeeks/months on end will bend over backwards to take care of you, IF you ask.

    also, a key point here, since your company is paying for the room, you want the hotel to compensate YOU, not the company. this means reducing the room rate, half price room, whatever, probably wont do YOU any good. you want a voucher for a free stay in any of their hotels, anywhere, an upgraded room, something, anything that will directly benefit YOU.

    Oh, and one last piece of advice (not that you asked for it, but i intentions are in your best interest!), you might want to think about getting a PO box, or have your deliveries sent someplace where they will be safe (a friends house, an office, etc.) now, that wont keep people from stealing your doormat, it might help with the deliveries.

    good luck (and if you have already done all these things or tried them, no need to explain, i just figured i would throw them out there just in case).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:21 AM, February 24, 2005  

  • RE: stolen packages.

    You can also box up a couple of bags full of dogshit (or even better, horseshit from the Boca Polo Club, right there on Jog Road), make it look like it's a(n) UPS Delivery, and set it in front of your apt. door when you leave Monday early morning (or Sunday). This way, it stays there for the full week, and whoever steals your shit will be salivating...until they open it.

    By Blogger Bubbles, Ink., at 10:38 AM, February 24, 2005  

  • great idea robotnik. could also leave a care package for the front desk.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:44 AM, February 24, 2005  

  • Hi Todd. I was going to leave you pearls of wisdom about PO Boxes and dealing with getting satisfaction but one of your Anonymous posters did that very well. I like your blog and what you wrote about seeking happiness as your dream. I pity the many who think zoomy cars and big houses are what life is about. I'm trying to think positive as I type so you get some good karma, but I must agree with the Poster who wrote that it is up to you. In my household we try to be generous and give freely, and man, you would not believe how wonderful things come to us regularly. I use to be afraid to enjoy a sunny day for fear it would rain on me but I got my shit together and got past that. Umm, I dig you are writing a book, but it sounds like you do not have the all-important Outline made up first. Don't waste your time without one. You have to know where you are going in order to get there, right? And as a writer let me tell you, if you want to get published you should send out Letters of Inquiry before you even write a book, to find out if there will be an interest in your idea. Don't give up, just work smart. I'll be back to read you blog again. Good luck with good karma. Dan

    By Blogger Dan, at 10:59 AM, February 24, 2005  

  • I'm going to disagree with Dan. All the conventional wisdom I've ever heard about finding an agent to sell your book points to the fact that you need to have your book written before you pitch it. At least, an outline and three solid chapters, is what I heard.

    I rarely hear of any publisher agreeing (either directly or through an agent) to sign an unknown writer to write a book "on spec." Do your outline, and beyond that, before you query.

    Bad things happen to good people, and you'll just have to get over it. Karma can be a bitch. And sometimes you're not in control of it. But there are other times when it will definitely work in your favor. Yin, meet yang. To everything a season. You know the song.

    By Blogger Esther Kustanowitz, at 12:11 PM, February 24, 2005  

  • Yes, you deserve better treatment. Bitch like the karma that bit you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:06 PM, February 24, 2005  

  • As a writer WITH an agent I must have to agree with Esther. You. Must. Have. A. Completed. Manuscript.

    No exception. You will first query, they will probably ask for a "jacket blurb." (oh yea, have THAT written too. Something around 75 words or so--just check out any book and look on the inside of its jacket). Then, if they're interested, step #2 is a one-page synopsis. If they're still interested, they'll ask for the first 3 chapters, usually. Then, the entire manuscript. Then they'll make a decision on whether to represent you.

    So, yea...complete the thing. Definitely.

    By Blogger Bubbles, Ink., at 3:21 PM, February 24, 2005  


    Dan: thanks for the ideas and welcome to the party.

    Book: My project started some eight years ago. I wrote it based on an outline I developed. At one point I had actually thought I finished it, but things kept happening. I'm now rewriting the whole thing. Thanks all for the book suggestions. It's interesting that Stephanie got her deal WITHOUT a completed manuscript. But then there's only one Stephanie.

    Hotel: I *have* complained but it has fallen on deaf ears in terms of compensating me for the inconveniences. They *did* fix my a/c. The high-speed internet still doesn't work.

    Karma: I'm ok with it. It's like I wrote in cycles. Gotta muddle thru the lows and enjoy the brief highs. Tonight, I locked myself out of my room. Why? Because I was so mad when I discovered my take-out salad I brought home did not include any dressing so I had to go all the way back to the restaurant. Forgot my room key. Hmm, ya think it's because I'm staying in room 1-13?

    By Blogger Plantation, at 8:20 PM, February 24, 2005  

  • Karma... is that what made me lock my keys in my car tonight? Hmm. Perhaps that was my own absentmindedness, right there with you PT!

    Yuck. I'm sorry things are so damn CRAPPY right now. Like you told me the other day (such a wise man, you are), these bad things come in batches, and it *will* look up. You have too much of an amazing outlook on life for things not to improve for you. Seriously.

    Can't UPS guarantee the package? Or something? I'm glad you have a/c now. And I have no book suggestions. Oh, except include a lot of juicy sex scenes. Because that's what I like to read. :)

    On an unrelated note, while watching TIVO the other day, some show kept saying, "Oh, you're chasing the American dream." And I kept thinking, "Hey, why do they keep talking about PT's blog on this TV show?" heehee!

    By Blogger girl from florida, at 10:52 PM, February 24, 2005  

  • "Mr Noser"
    Just for the record, I would have gone into the room and seen if your pillow was in there if I had worked at all this week. I am sure Julia did try to get your internet working, but that really isnt the hotel's fault completely either. We had to totally change our whole router and system bc someone (a different guest) had hacked in and screwed us all over...so that is what has been going on with the internet. I am sorry about the room and AC also, but she wasnt lying when she said it was sold out. I do apologise completely for your inconviences and wish it hadn't happened at all. I know my "wishing" doesn't change anything, but just know that no one was out to screw you personally or intentionally.
    I hope you have a safe trip home this weekend. Drive safely as the roads are a mess.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:31 AM, February 25, 2005  

  • Whoa...you guys have to stop blaming God or Karma or Buddha or Allah for the little insignificant things. Locked out? Must be God. No A/C? It's Buddha. Lost my pillow? It's that wacky Allah again.
    Come now. You really believe karma manifests itself in these piddly little ways? Or are you just being blinded by the shitty details in life?

    Like Chris Rock said in preparation for the Oscars: "For all y'all gettin' up there to receive your Oscars, don't thank God. Don't bother God. He's busy with the tsunami."

    I love Chris Rock.

    PT, Greek has connections. Big time. It's uncommon to even have an agent without a completed ms, much less a deal. These people (read also: Fish) have connections. There are a few agents who will represent you if you have a batch of short-stories, although that is probably as rare as spotting Yeti. Short stories don't make money for agents so...

    Keep trudging on my good man. Life is mud. Remember Andy? How many miles did he crawl through that insufferable shite?

    If you have time, fly over to my joint and read my post "Left Hooks, Right Jabs, and Uppercuts." It deals with the "grass is greener" concept. Then read Bukowski's poem which is included in the post. He's a sage.

    luck my man! Luck!

    By Blogger Bubbles, Ink., at 7:29 AM, February 25, 2005  

  • 5 football fields

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:01 AM, February 25, 2005  

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