Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Five Stars

Once in a while I prove to my wife that I am truly the jackass that she imagines me to be. This particular incident took place back in 01 or 02; I can't accurately remember.

We were up in Jersey on a mini-vacation from NC. Being the discount travelers we are, we booked three nights in NYC at a hotel on Madison Avenue. This was back in the day when you could still get a great deal through Priceline. For $100 a night we got into the Hotel Wales, a very posh boutique on the UES.

I knew I was out my element before I made it in the door. How? Two doormen and a bellman unloading the limo at the curb. We felt it more economical to forgo the cab or limo, taking two trains from Penn Station and schlepping the ten blocks from the Lexington Ave subway station. First class.

Not feeling so debonair in my North Face climbing jacket, I braced myself for the potential snubbing. One of the doormen came over to open the door and welcome us. Nice. The lobby was awash in handsome wood trim and plush carpeting. We made our way to the front desk to explain that we were the degenerates who just raped their $375 room rate via Priceline.

Then it happened. I had to open my mouth and erase all doubt. To this day it remains unclear whether the front desk attendant did it to make us uncomfortable or simply because he was the consumate professional and followed his procedure to the T, regardless of the college students and their backpacks.

"Mr. Brooks, would you care for some sherry while you check in?"

"No, thank you, I just had some sherry on the subway."

This is why my wife loves me, and why the Hotel Wales cancelled its Priceline affiliation before we made it to the elevator.

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