Saturday, March 26, 2005

Room 333

I'm back, after a lengthy delay; my absence was due to the delirium induced by our Scottish souvenir - no, not single-malt whisky - pneumonia. I seem to be on the mend, and today was the first day my brain could actually begin to put sentences together.

We were on a train from York to London when I blogged last, enjoying the wireless access. The cabdriver who took us from King's Cross to our hotel was very chatty - he said he'd had some women from Alabama in his cab recently, and did a fair approximation of an Alabama accent. We talked about some of the different American accents, how some of them (Noo Yawker, hick Southern) can cause people to assume you're on the dumb side, and how others (genteel Southern, New England) are a little more prestigious. He asked what the best accent to have in America might be - the answer (at least in New York)? A British one. I've worked at a number of companies that specifically hired British people to be receptionists or executive assistants - wanting that crisp accent at the other end of the voicemail.

The cabbie also shared that he was into hi-fi, and had just bought a pair of mahogany headphones that cost around 800 pounds. I didn't know they made headphones out of mahogany, or that they made $1,500 headphones.

We had chosen the Langham Hotel because of an article saying it was haunted. We're apparently very gullible, er, persuadable. We had requested room 333 because it was supposed the most haunted of all; the Australian girl at the reception desk noted our choice.

AUSTRALIAN GIRL: "Any particulah reason?"

US: "Um, er, no, why, uh, we saw it on the internet!"

AUSTRALIAN GIRL: "Ghost hunters, ai? Good luck."

This was the sort of hotel where someone whisked your luggage away from you the minute you emerged from a cab, tagged it, and brought it up to your room minutes later. It was also the sort of room which had snuggly robes and slippers - but not, at first inspection, ghosts.

It was nice to be in a luxurious space for the last night of our trip; the other places we stayed were certainly nice, but by now we were both getting colds, and needed a little coddling. We took a quick nap; it was then that we saw the true horror, the nightmarish thing that lay in wait in the corner, lurking.

The mini-bar can of Pringles that cost seven dollars.

We managed to collect ourselves and get dressed to meet Campbell (who you will have seen toffing about the comments pages, but not yet on his own blog) for tea. We hopped into a cab outside the hotel, where I had one of those awkward "do I tip you, and when?" moments with the hotel doorman. The moment went quickly, and I didn't end up tipping him. In instant karmic revenge, David realized he had forgotten his wallet when we were a few blocks from the hotel, and we had to go back. Because of a road closure near the hotel, the cabbie was forced to go in a wide circle to get back again, racking up an eight-pound journey before we'd even gone anywhere. This time, while David nipped upstairs to get his wallet, I confessed my tipping ignorance to the doorman, tipped him, and had a brief chat in which I discovered his son lived in White Plains, New York. But then David was back, and we were off.

Campbell selected the Wolseley for tea, and it was beautiful. I don't know how good of company we were, considering that we were doped to the gills, but the charmingly handsome Campbell was a pleasure to meet and spend an afternoon with.

We talked about the oddity of knowing people through blogs - and why doesn't he have one? I believe he said that all his would be about would be "Another Fucking Day in the Office" which I thought was a fine title. So, get to it.

After tea, we strolled with Campbell along Jermyn Street; when we got to Piccadilly Circus (I think?!) he pointed us in the direction of the hotel, a short walk along Regent Street.

David was fading fast, and crawled into bed as fever overtook him. We had arranged to meet Sherry in the hotel bar, but David was in poor shape by the time eight o'clock arrived.

Sherry is delightful; over wine (her) and whisky (me), we talked about life, work, relationships. Sherry is studying to be a lawyer, and her boyfriend Dan is a student doctor, currently in Bangladesh. She showed me his picture - very cute. Mid-conversation, I called up to the room to check on David, who sounded worse. I was hoping he would have been able to come down and meet Sherry, but that will have to wait until next time.

As the hour grew later, Sherry had to run to catch a train, and I had to see how David was doing. When I came back to the room, he was burning up with fever; I don't know if he remembers this, but he claimed the ghost talked to him in French, saying "the plan's for the seventh." Or perhaps it said this and then talked in French, I don't know.

I spent the next couple of hours putting cold cloths on David's forehead and feeding him twelve-dollar minibar orange juice. When we finally went to sleep, I wondered if this was the moment when ghostly apparitions might arrive - the past witnesses had claimed that they'd seen glowing balls, or else had their things thrown about the room.

As we had already thrown all of our own things about the room, perhaps the ghost felt unwanted. In any event, there were no sightings, and we slept peacefully through the night.


Blogger jwer said...

I believe Campbell is only capable of maintaining a blog if he has at the ready a team of gifted schoolchildren to explain Computers to him.

And yes, that is a Danny Terrio Dance Challenge.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Sherry said...

I wonder what the incubation period for ammonia is. It's so sweet of you to say nice things about me :)

3:59 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home