Finally in correct shuttle location and hotel rep says, “Shuttle’s here!” I and about other people follow her out into the heat. No bus. She looks puzzled, says it was here a minute ago, and hunts down a sweaty bald dude with a 2-way. They confab for a while, he talks into the 2-way, she tells us it’ll be another 10-15 minutes. We all sweat. Sweat and sweat. Shuttle arrives and takes us to a minimum security prison. As I wait in one of the 4 long lines to check in, I hear angry confrontation after angry confrontation at the front desk. Penitentiary Conference Center is waaay overbooked. They’re “off-siting” people, as well as enverbenating perfectly good adverbs. Those people will be shuttled (via very unreliable service, no doubt) back to PCC for the “classes” we’re here to suffer through (preposition alert!!). My turn at the front desk. It’s past 6 pm and my plane landed at 3. I booked my room 2 months in advance to make sure I a) had a room and b) it wasn’t one of the many dorm-style rooms offered at PCC. Ahhhh. Lookin’ good. I have a room. Not wanting to push my luck, I gratefully take my card key and trudge back outside to the other building and through miles of concrete corridors, and eventually I find my room. Key doesn’t work. But I’m drenched in sweat and I don’t want to haul my bag all that way back, so I call the front desk from my cell phone. “We’ll send someone right up.” I wait. For 10 minutes. Then one of my shuttle-mates arrives to enter a neighboring room. I ask her to watch my suitcase while I return to the front desk. I go back down, through, across, and over. “Can I have a key that works?” Ominously, I hear 3 other people at the desk with the same problem. Trudge back moistly to room. Tell neighbor new key still doesn’t work and head back to Front Desk (Fuck-up Central). This time I’m snippy. Snippy! “This is my 2nd key. Can I plleeeeeze have one that works?” Pimple-faced teenager makes me two (2) keys. Two. Two keys that don’t work. I run into neighbor, who had understandably gotten fucking FED UP with waiting and was heading off to dinner. She gives me my suitcase, and over we head back to the main building. We run into a housekeeping lady and tell her my sad tale. She and I return to my assigned room, where she successfully uses her passkey to open the door. Of the occupied room. Jeebus Fucking Weener. Back to front desk. This time I’m PISSED. It takes me a lot (maybe too much) to get riled up, as I naturally have the emotional temperament of a slow loris. The other teenager at the front desk with bad home streak kit stripes in her hair apologized, told me a tale of changes made in the computer that weren’t properly blah blah. I responded again with the snippy. This time my room is on the first floor. The ground floor at Penitentiary Suites is the third floor. This seems to my heat- and hunger-addled mind to put me underground. But that’s not what I’m worried about. I’m concerned because my first neighbor was staying in a tiny cell with a shared bathroom. I fixed Stripe Hair Girl with a steely glare and said “I better not be sharing a bathroom.” Deer in headlights. Striped deer in headlights. “Everyone in your program had their room downgraded. YOU. ARE. SHARING. A. BATHROOM.”
Re: Bathroom sharing
I made my reservation months ago, I said. I reserved a room for a fucking grown-up, I said. Why is it that the gods of travel hate me so?
She responded with Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice. I went to find my room.
Back outside. Back to Cellblock 2. I’m on the first floor. The elevator goes only down to 2. Puzzled, I disembark at the second floor and look for stairs. Long, empty, doorless, twisting, turning corridors. Finally, I see a sign: First Floor Guestrooms.
I rankle because guestroom is NOT one word. My wheeled duffle thumps down the stairs. Down more signless corridors. Finally, here’s my room. In the dungeon. In a smoking section. Look! A letter awaits me on my bed! It says, “Your guestroom (fuck!) type has been changed from your original reservation and we apologize for any inconvenience.” They reduced my rate and gave me a snack basket. Gee, thanks! That makes it ALL BETTER.
I swear loudly and long enough to scare the unfortunate who has been assigned to share my bathroom. Then I pick up my apology letter and head off to the registration table to tear someone a new cloaca. I begin in a dramatic fashion, by flinging said letter indignantly at the functionary behind the table who now regrets having made eye contact with me. She deftly deflects me to a coordinator or summink. I continue my rant at her. Then she tells me it’s her third day on the job. And her breath is FIERCE, not in a Tyra Banks America’s Next Top Model kind of way, but in a microdermabrasion exfoliation eye-watering kind of way. I tell her that whomever put her in this situation on the third day of her new job is an asshole, that she should listen very carefully to what I say so she can express to whomever that douchebag is just how angry I am. Then I recounted much of the above to her, stressing the following points:
1) Although this meeting/seminar/cluster fuck is SPONSORED by CrappyOnlineUniversity, I made my reservations DIRECTLY with Minimum Security Courtyard Suites. COU had no right to change these arrangements, thus MinSecCourtSuites should not have honored any changes made by anyone but ME.
2) Same as 1, especially without notifying me in advance.
3) What the fuck is the deal with sharing a bathroom? Why does this keep happening to me?
4) Brush and floss daily. Use some mouthwash.
She responds that there’s a welcome meeting going on right now. I respond by stating that if I go to the welcome meeting, I don’t get to eat any of the crappy cafeteria food that I’ve paid for because the crapeteria closes at 8 and MY PLANE LANDED AT 3 and I have only just now checked into my room.
The cafeteria is run by Aramark. I wrote all of this by hand in a crappy bar. I am still sweaty and smelly but at least now the “edge” is off.
I’m such a loser.