Jun. 9th, 2013

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As the childcare coordinator at Wiscon, I had to get parking passes for my childcare workers. I asked at the registration desk, which is where I thought we got them last year. Lenore had parking passes for people who needed to haul things in, but didn't think they would work for my workers, who needed to stay there the whole day; she suggested I ask the hotel directly.

I went to the front desk. I said that I was the childcare coordinator, and that I needed to get parking passes for my childcare workers. Front Desk said that no parking passes had been left with her to give to me. I said okay, how can I get some? Because my workers aren't guests, they don't have room keys that they could use to get out of the parking lot, but they need to park. Front Desk went and got her clipboard, flipped through it in front of me, and said again that no parking passes had been arranged. She said it with that falling intonation at the end of the sentence that means, "This subject is closed."

But it wouldn't be right for my childcare workers to have to kick back $10 a day to the hotel for the privilege of working there. I had to get them parking passes. If it came out of my pocket I could ask the treasurer for reimbursement, but either way, my workers shouldn't have to pay for parking. So I said, okay, is there anything I can do about that at this point? Who should I talk to? Front Desk said, I guess that would be Party Planning. Again with the falling intonation.

Okay, I said, who is Party Planning? How can I talk to her? Front Desk went and got a walkie-talkie, talked to someone over the walkie-talkie, then told me that she didn't have any information about parking passes for childcare providers either. I understand that no parking passes have been prearranged, I said. So I need to get them now. How do I do that?

Front Desk huffed at me and said she would get someone else to talk to me. Someone Else came -- the person at the other end of the walkie-talkie, I think -- and had me explain again who I was and what I wanted. How many do you need, she asked? Two, I answered. Oh, I can just give you those, she said.

Thinking it over afterwards, trying to figure out what I did wrong, or what I could have done righter, I realized that the problem was that I didn't have a lanyard. See, there are these special lanyards that tell the hotel that you have the power to spend Wiscon's money, so when you wear one the hotel is eager to do anything you ask. Some years I get one but this year I didn't.


In real life, being brushed off is normal for me. It's also normal, when I have been brushed off enough times for me to give up, to send my husband in with the same request and see him get compliance the first time he asks. And no, I don't think I loosened it for him. He's just wearing the lanyard.
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I just got home from watching the digitally remastered movie of The Last Unicorn, with Q & A and booksigning by Peter S. Beagle. He's a lovely man. He's like Leonard Cohen, broke and touring at 74. Also he's one of those authors who is delighted by fanfiction, takes it as a compliment, feels kinship with fanficcers through the time he spent in first and second grade writing screenplays for Johnny Weissmuller's post-Tarzan career. And he likes John Barth!

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