Wednesday, January 26, 2011

They Go All the Way Up

"Do you prefer your floor high, or low?" asked the front-desk clerk as I was checking in.

I was a little puzzled, because I had never really thought about it, but I guess I'm happy as long as it touches my feet. Are we talking 1970s-era conversation pit sunken living room here? Or those elevated white plastic paneled floors, like they had in mainframe workrooms of the same period, which served the dual purpose of keeping the circuitry cool and hiding the wires? I probably stared at her for too long, and she's had excellent hospitality training, because she smiled without a hint of condescension and added, "Do you prefer to be on a higher or lower floor?"

Ah. Yes. The eighth floor will be fine, thank you.

When you travel a lot, I'm given to understand, you sometimes have trouble sleeping, and that could explain the overall sluggishness of wits that could lead you to think a hotel clerk was offering you platform flooring. But this was my first trip in over a week. Moreover, I generally find that I sleep better in hotels, because hotels tend not to issue you flailing, kicking bedmates with sharp fingernails - at least, not respectable hotels.

This trip was to Arlington, to visit the location of our big annual conference held in April. It will be great; they always are. But I'm beginning to find that more and more of my focus is on the quality of the bed - sort of an unattainable object of desire during the conference itself. The Sheraton has rather magnificent ones. They are soft, and the bedding is fluffy, and the pillows are plentiful enough to make yourself a little nest out of... aaaaahhhh. But I won't see much of the bed during the actual conference, because the stern summons of work comes well before dawn, and the siren song of the hospitality suite drowns out the gentler call of fresh white linen.

I'm afraid that one year this will not be the case, and then I will know that I am old.

Arlington will be playing host to a little football game in a couple of weeks, I'm given to understand. That's not really any of my concern, but the locals seem to take a certain amount of interest in it. Perhaps their team is one of the participants. No? Oh well, maybe another time.

They do seem to know a thing or two about contraflow, though.

Did you know that the Ripley's/Palace of Wax in Grand Prairie was modeled after a royal palace built in the late 18th century for a dissolute fop later to be portrayed by Hugh Laurie? It's in Brighton, but is not quite as brightly colored as the building it inspired:

I'm looking forward to our visit at conference this year, because they've remodeled the lobby since I saw it last. They may have done some exciting things with the floors.



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