Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Getting there

I am the kind of person who looks for glasses while he is wearing them. I have trouble finding everything and anything. I look for keys in my pocket when I am holding them in my hand. I get lost two blocks from my own house. Several years ago I was at an important meeting in a large building in Germany. I went to the bathroom, and upon my exit, could not remember where I had come from. I wandered the labyrinth corridors for about half an hour. By the time I found my way back to the conference room, the meeting was breaking up.
In Germany, Mira and I once boarded a train for Holzminden. At least we thought it was the train for Holzminden . Our tickets had some funny words in German, like ob and off. We didn't realize that they are German words with a distinct meaning. Meaning we were supposed to get OFF that train and ON another one. We ended up staying on the first train and were railroaded about 300 km out of the way. But I digress.
Today Alon and I have an appointment at 4:30. What can possibly go wrong? We leave the office early, maneuver through the traffic jam, and get to Yakum a few minutes early. But sure enough, I have forgotten my diary at the office. Where is the meeting? We make a few phone calls (thank the Lord for mobile phones, and oddly enough we are on our way to see Samsung), and find the right building, park in the wrong parking lot, repark and arrive, only to find that our meeting has been delayed. But that is not why I am telling you this story.
While we are waiting, I ask the secretary at Samsung where the bathroom is. "You go out through the doors" she says, and it's there. I go out through the doors. Look thoroughly on my left. Nothing resembling a bathroom. I head back to the secretary. "No, it's out through the doors on your right." I exit the doors and head to the right. I find a billiard room. No bathroom. What is wrong with me? I can't even find a simiple bathroom. Perplexed, I head back. "Oh, have they moved the bathroom again?" she asks.
Now I come to my story. Six years ago I arrive in Philadelphia. I am as tired as an air traveler can be. The taxi takes me straight to the downtown Marriott, where I decar, slither to the reception and receive my key to room 1820. Up the elevator, and I am there. At last. A hot bath and to sleep. My sister says that a hot bath is part of our family heritage. As children, we were subjected to a boiling water bath every evening, followed by a generous dowsing of talcum powder. So whenever I check into a hotel, the first thing I look for is my comforting hot bath.
Room 1820 is spacious and lovely. I open my suitcase to take out pj's and my bahing accessories. I happily head for the bathroom. No bathtub. No can be. I am in America at an expensive hotel. There must be a bathtub here somewhere. I search high and low, checking the doors to the cupboards. No bathtub. I check again. Finally I make one of the most embarrassing phone calls of my life, down to reception.

Me: Hello, it's Mel Rosenberg here in room 1820.
Her: Good evening Mr. Rosenberg, welcome to the Marriott. What can we do for you?
Me: Well, I've just had two very long plane trips and I'm very tired. So please excuse me for this stupid question. Is there a bathtub somewhere in my room?
Her: Of course, sir.
Me: Well, I'm really sorry, I'm so tired and can never find anything, can you send someone up to show me where it is .
Her: Silence
Her: More silence
Her (finally): Mr. Rosenberg, can you repeat your room number.
Me: 1820
Her: Oh, I'm so sorry. We have put you in the handicapped room. It's the only room in the hotel with no bath, just a shower.

Which just goes to show. Sometimes even people like me cannot find what isn't there.

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