Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Night at the Inn

photo credit
I was on the road, coming home and it was snowing big flakes and I was really, really tired and it was getting dark and I'd already worked a 12 hour day.  So when I saw what I thought was a charming Inn, I pulled over.

Not quite what I was hoping for.... there was no phone or TV or alarm clock in the room, just a bed, with the bathroom across the hall. Forget about room service or even a coffee in the morning.  But I was way too tired to gamble on how far a drive it would be to the next hotel.  So I rented a room - $97 - yikes!  I was the only guest in the hotel, "except for the kid that's works for the chef, and you probably won't see him around".

Not much to do, so I settled into the common room, which had a TV with an 11" screen and a place to pop in a VHS cassette.  I had to sit pretty close in order to watch the one single channel, and it happened to be playing a weird gameshow called 'A Minute to Win It'.  Contestants go to a bootcamp and train so they are ready to perform humiliating tasks in under a minute, in front of a huge studio audience and however many eyeballs are staring in the home audience.  Cash prizes.  And of course the host asks, if you win big, how will you spend your money? The first set of contestants wanted to win cash prizes to pay for the daughter's removal of body hair (I'm not making this up).  I think she actually said something about "every single inch of body hair" and she was young, pretty and provocative so the statement got some very nervous titters out of the audience.  She was paired with her mom, who was also attractive and wearing a low-cut top.  The challenges involved a lot of bending over and a fair amount of cleavage.  The two walked away with $1000 in prize money, so I guess they earned enough to pay for the hair removal.  Next up, the stakes were higher - money would be used for noble causes. Medical treatments for a fatally ill sister-in-law and a home for a recently divorced dad and his kids.  I wasn't sure exactly who in this scenario was being exploited, but I started rooting for all of us just the same.

The fact I was drinking a very pleasant red helped my mood.

And then the program was interrupted with Obama's Tuscon Memorial Service:

As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let's use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together.
After all, that's what most of us do when we lose somebody in our family — especially if the loss is unexpected. We're shaken out of our routines. We're forced to look inward. We reflect on the past: Did we spend enough time with an aging parent, we wonder.  Did we express our gratitude for all the sacrifices that they made for us? Did we tell a spouse just how desperately we loved them, not just once in a while but every single day?
So sudden loss causes us to look backward — but it also forces us to look forward; to reflect on the present and the future, on the manner in which we live our lives and nurture our relationships with those who are still with us. Full text here

I don't know if it was the long day, or the contrast with the previous program, but the President soon had me in tears.  And that's when the only other tenant walked in to say hi.  Poor guy.  I just had to tell him Obama often seems to have this effect on me.

So I poured "the kid" a glass of wine, and it turned out he has his chef papers and was working as a sous chef... we talked about things culinary for almost an hour... about his training, what he had prepped in the kitchen that day (duck comfit), and some of our favourite food books (Kitchen Confidential, Heat)

The worn furniture, the teeny t.v., the baseboard heating... 

Still, not too shabby.  Not at all.

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