Sunday, December 21, 2008
The Haggis was closed this weekend due to a long-awaited Staycation. Yep, the Haggises went all the way to...Boston...for a grown up weekend. We were the low-rent guests at the Taj Hotel. A very nice hotel overlooking the Public Gardens. A hotel not used to guests arriving by T and pulling their own no-name-brand wheelie suitcases. Loved it! Especially because we arrived just as the snow was starting to fall, and stayed for the next 36 hours during which time the snow fell continuously. We had entire restaurants to ourselves, we had Newbury Street to ourselves, we got windburn on our faces because we stayed out so long enjoying Boston by ourselves. Good times.
A few thoughts, however, on the weekend. First, we went into a Jos. A. Bank store because it had some ridiculous "Buy One Get Twelve Free!" sign on it. What's the catch, you ask? Yeah. You can only shop there if you wear pants that are 40W/29L. Every damn pair of pants in that store was 40/29, 40/31. Think about that. You know that, as a former fat person, I have no patience for weighter-haters, as if being overweight is some kind of character flaw. I genuinely don't connect a person's weight to their value as a person, any more than I'd connect their hair color or voice timbre. But when you picture 40/29 you realize that you have to get up really early in the morning to maintain that size. You must have the most uncomfortable existence on a daily basis that no sale from Jos. A. Bank can alleviate. As the aforementioned former fat person, it made me sad and threatened to kill my Saturday buzz, so as it snowed some more, we jetted.
To the Boston Public Library. Is it a library? Sure. But is it also a museum? Darn tootin'. If you are in Boston you MUST see the library, one of those old, giant stone slab buildings with those little green lamps on the rows of tables. The third floor has a great exhibit on Yousuf Karsh, the Armenian-born photographer of many famous people. This exhibit focuses on his photos of literary people; people you know but wouldn't recognize if your life depended on it: WH Auden, Evelyn Waugh, Norman Mailer. Very cool. Then you walk into the hallway where John Singer Sargent's Judaism and Christianity murals adorn the walls. Pretty amazing stuff.
Then it snowed some more. We walked through the Public Gardens toward the Gold Dome, which is the Statehouse. We watched kids and families sledding, which reminded me of Childe Hassam's Boston Common at Twilight painting. It also snowed some more.
Our weekend ended this morning when an alarm went off in the hotel at 7:45am. The Taj Hotel. As in the Taj Mumbai. This was a really lovely hotel, but HELLOOO?! First, the alarm was not audible in our room. I had to walk to the door to hear the faux woman's voice saying, "If you hear a further alarm at the end of this message please proceed to an emergency exit; if not, please await further instructions." Well, you can call me an self-arrogating asswipe if you want, but I read those stories about 9/11 where all those nice compliant people were told just to stay in their offices--or worse, were turned around in the stairwells by well-meaning staffers back to their certain deaths. So, if there is a building evacuation going on, you best believe I'm on it regardless of whether my floor has been "approved" for evacuation or not. So we suit up and start heading out, behind this poor family with three babies, trying to get them all bundled up (recall that it is 20 degrees and snowing outside). We had called the front desk, who had told us to come to the lobby. When we got to the lobby stairwell, a hotel employee directed us further downstairs and out into an alley full of snow. Luckily we had planned ahead and decided to walk around the corner for coffee while perhaps our possessions burned or whatnot. As we walked past the doormen, they let us know that it had been a minor water leak in an adjoining building that had set off the alarm, but that everything was fine and we could now go back inside. This is literally 95 seconds after that other employee had sent us down the effing rabbit hole, and 4 minutes after speaking to the front desk.
Okay. So let's have a security and emergency procedure recap, shall we, Taj Hotel? Hmmm...should your employees perhaps have radios or something so that those conducting evacuations will have more information than the doormen? Can the front desk provide the same direction that everyone else does? And could you, as a hotel that (albeit in another country but a lesson is a lesson) just underwent a serious breach of security and safety, maybe view a minor water leak as perhaps a valuable practice run for--god forbid--something more dire? I mean, just the basics here, Taj: communication, equipment, information. None of them worked today. Not one.
But my coffee was good. As was my bagel. Which I ate while it snowed some more.
The snow begins.
An hour later.
An hour after that.
Since we got nowhere to go...