We each got a couple of hours nap Friday afternoon, but both our sleep schedules were F..ouled up. Son wants to hit the hay at 11 PM – I still want to read a newspaper and do a crossword. Can’t do that in the room, so I take my stuff and go over to sit in the lobby, only to find it locked. I eventually located a second vending machine room with only an ice machine…and a nice little bench, ta-da!
Afternoon clerk Stephanie was white. Now I get to meet and speak with Miss Annie, an impressive, older Negro lady. Even older than me, she’s 72. The clerk at the Taylor motel has been there 27 years. Miss Annie has been here over 30, and finally plans to retire near the end of this year. Nice lady, but she don’t take no shit. I also met and talked with Mark, the armed Negro security guard. Tough neighborhood, remember?
While we were conversating, a young man walked in, and said, “I want a room for the night.” I’m sorry sir, we’re all full. But I have a reservation. What’s your name sir? Xxx Yyy! I’m sorry sir; I can’t find a reservation in that name. He pulled out a tiny scrap of paper, and said, “Here’s my confirmation number.” Well, ya coulda led off with that, and your name, instead of just asking for a room.
I print the entire page and present it to the clerks, because it gives every last iota of needed information. I’m sorry sir; I can’t find a reservation here under that number; are you sure it’s correct? I’m very sure; check again. She tapped away for a few seconds, and finally told him, Yes sir, you do have a reservation – at the Plymouth Red Roof, 25 miles from here. And he was sober – maybe just a brain freeze.
I spent a few dollars extra to get a room with a microwave and fridge. After boring myself sleepy, I returned to the room – and bed, only to find that the fridge has a loud annoying buzz when it runs. Woke us up two or three times during the night. The second night I unplugged it, and we both slept much better.
Up at 8, we both had toast and juice, and I made myself a hot chocolate to take with me in a thermos, to the show. I went over to the office to add some of their coffee, to make a mocha, and met Aletha, another young Negro gal. Never met a stranger. The only clerk we missed was Brian, because he doesn’t work weekends.
I-696 to the show venue ran right behind the motel. Getting on was almost as easy as falling out of the parking lot. I remembered to take the camera. Signs on the front doors insisted, “No outside food or drink!” I slipped the hot chocolate into my inside jacket pocket, and didn’t sip till I was way back at the back, where no officials could see.
I was irked by the fact that every second vendor had a Dunkin Donuts coffee, or Starbucks, or hotel coffee in a thermos. I saw one guy making a roast beef and cheese sandwich, but I can’t bring in food or drink? The WTF factor is going up.
Last year I could access my blog from computers in the entryway, but this year they were locked out, to access only the Center’s site. After paying, and entering the display hall, I was faced with a sign that said, “No cameras allowed without the permission of the show manager.” I left mine in my shirt pocket.
Halfway around, I met a woman waving her cell phone camera. Some of the dealers threw a little impromptu birthday party for a compatriot, and everybody got a picture taken. I just got the sign….and rising blood pressure again.
One of the knife dealers explained that the anti-gun nuts come to shows and take photos of the plethora of firearms and publish them as “proof” that we’re all going to die in a gigantic shoot-out. If I had asked the show manager, I would probably have been allowed to take pics, although some gun vendors have table signs which insist, “No Photos!”
There were even fewer hand-made knives, and more “rusty jackknives.” I took photos of all the interesting knife collections last year, so I didn’t use the camera. I think we’ve had it with this show. Unless we can find a show in Zanesville or Cincinnati, I think the wife and I will wait for good weather and just go to Detroit for shopping and a getaway.
It snowed on the way to the venue, and while we were there. As we were leaving, it was changing to freezing rain. I’m maybe a bit better at driving in that shit, but the 25 mile trip back was interesting. One guy just fell off the road and tangled with an overpass support, ripping off his rear bumper, and throwing the back wheel across the freeway.
Since we didn’t want any of the over-priced, captive-audience, crap food at the venue, we stopped at a McDonald’s on the way home. My bill ended in 43 cents – and I still had that 42 cents left from yesterday. I picked a penny up off the counter that the previous customer didn’t take, and my pocket was now completely empty.
And then I leaned down and picked a penny off the floor – and went back to the motel and sat on the bed, and picked up a penny beside the other bed. Later that night, when I went for another walk, I was telling Mark, in the vending room, about keeping my eyes open, and picked a dime off the floor.
The next day, at a Meijer’s store I found a quarter and a penny on a self-checkout bagging platform, and later used my knife to pry a nickel out of a 25 cent gumball machine. The reason it was there may have been because it was Canadian, but the pocket’s getting heavy again. Somewhere I picked up a brass game token. I wonder if the son remembers where. I don’t.
After another nap, we decided to go out for supper. While we didn’t want to eat there, the wife had requested a blooming onion from Outback, so we started there. I had researched online maps, and driving instructions, including Google Street-view. Son fed the address into Miss GPS and got, “Accessing satellites….accessing satellites…. cannot access satellites.” Oh, yeah. Snow/rain storm. We found it the old-fashioned way, by looking.
Tomorrow we’re going to, not one, but two, Trade Centers. Anybody want to come along? I’ll buy a hot pretzel, with mustard.