If only I had known then what I know now...I’d still know nothing
I rarely go back and reread what I’ve written once it’s published. I used to think it was a lifesaving technique, because when I found a misspelled word or a particularly awkward sentence I wanted to slit my wrists. Or because I didn’t want to relive the embarrassment that a point I thought was so funny at the time, completely missed the mark.
But I’ve discovered after rereading my coverage of the very first trade mission I attended in 2011, that the reason I don’t like to revisit my earlier writing is that it’s like reading a teenage girl’s diary. I put a lot of myself in my writing, which seems like a good idea until you relive the person you were five or 10 years ago.
For instance, in my Exit Interview column (it’s now called Loose Ends) that year, I detailed the movies I watched on the plane over to India as if I was proud of my selections. Little Fockers? OMG, and I watched it twice (but only because it was the group selection on the last flight). For the record, in 2016 I watched documentaries, one about a Ukrainian ballet dancer, one about an octogenarian fashion icon, and one that I don’t remember. But trust me it was no Little Fockers.
My five-year-younger self was also a bit of a mean girl, as evidenced by this quote: “And let me just get this off my chest: If you’re sitting in front of me in coach and recline your seat, I hate you.” I no longer hate my fellow passengers, not even the ones in business class. I understand the need to recline on a nine-hour flight to Amsterdam and then once again on a nine-hour flight from Amsterdam to New Delhi. I don’t even hate back-of-the-seat kickers. They’ve beaten it out of me.
I’d like to say that I have become more sophisticated over the years, but even though I know a lot more about the world today—such as where India is on the map—I still find myself befuddled by simple things. Such as where the switch for the overhead lights is located.
In New Delhi, I arrived at the hotel at 2 a.m. I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t turn off the lights. (And yes, I spent about 20 minutes flipping every switch in the place to no avail.) Also keeping me up were all the presents for me in the bathroom. I excitedly started unwrapping the boxes (see photo above), only to discover they were cotton balls, a razor and a toothbrush with the tiniest tube of toothpaste I’ve ever seen. It was like being a kid on Christmas morning, only to discover that your parents had helped Santa get the gift count up by wrapping necessities like underwear and socks.
I finally got some sleep at the Sofitel in Mumbai, which was a shame because it was such a great room, I was sorry to have less than 24 hours to enjoy it.
The most memorable thing about the hotel in Sri Lanka was its over-the-top Christmas decorating, from pink-and-white marshmallows on a wreath in the sugarplum fairy-styled coffee shop to giant sparkly trees in all the corners to a light show of welcoming angels in the driveway. If your still want more, you can read more on the Franchise Times website blog and in the international section.
Reach Nancy at 612-767-3207 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nanweingartner
Back in New York
Speaking of Christmas, the day after the holiday, I was returning to my franchised hotel in NYC late at night from a diet soda run, when a well-dressed woman was coming out in a huff. “Are you a guest at this hotel?” she demanded. When I said I was, she confided that the woman at the desk told her she couldn’t use the restroom because she wasn’t a guest. Since I am no stranger to the need for a restroom, I immediately sympathized with her.
Since the first floor was being renovated, the only public restrooms were on the second floor. The elevator required a room key to operate, but I assumed that since the restrooms were on the second floor, it must be a conference floor and thereby my key would get her there.
We passed the desk clerk who was on the phone. “She’s calling the police on me,” the woman exclaimed as we covertly hustled into the elevator. I had been to church the day before and I was filled with the Christmas spirit and more than a little empathetic comeuppance. After the elevator doors closed, I realized the only floor available was my floor. She was about to follow me to my room, when I slipped out, suggesting lamely that she try the second-floor buttons again. She was not happy. Thank the lord for fast-closing doors. I don’t know if I was being scammed or if I am a lousy good Samaritan. I just know I scared myself, and that once again when I went to sleep the light bulb above my head was on.