California is Not Like New York City

I am prepared to admit a lot of things on this blog, and today, I’m prepared to admit I’m a bit irked. I’ve been on the road for a few weeks, with another week to go so it’s no wonder my patience is wearing thin.

Yes, I’m in California right now on business and I have a complaint. Everyone here is just so damned friendly. As a New York City girl, I can’t tell you how annoying that is.

“Hi!” someone will invariably say to me, just in passing, with a full mouth of sparkling white teeth. How vomitous. What’s worse, they really mean it to be friendly and inviting.That’s just icky.

Tonight, I checked into my hotel and the gentleman behind the desk ran through the usual… thingie to put in your car for parking, room key, breakfast information. Then I asked whether they had an onsite gym. Yes, he said, but you have to go outside because it is in the building next door. You walk through the doors on the other side of the fireplace (the one in the middle of the lobby, incidentally) and then you (insert more directions and my hapless look, knowing I was going to get lost.)

Then something happened that could never, EVER happen in New York City or within a hundred miles of NYC. He came out, from behind the desk mind you, and said, “Well, it will just be easier if I show you,” and began walking towards the door to go outside. I followed him in a daze, wondering if everybody gets this kind of service out here.

He showed me exactly where to go, including the hidden elevator on the other side of the courtyard I needed to use to get to the 2nd level, and go over the bridge between the two buildings to get to the fitness center. (By the way: WTF? Why is the fitness center outside and one building over and an outside elevator ride and five miles of courtyards away? I don’t know, but this is how Cali seems to be sometimes with no rain or bad weather, like, ever. ANYway…)

Meanwhile, if that exchange had happened in New York City, it would have gone like this:

Me: Is there a fitness center?

Him – with a sniff of indignance to even suggest that they WOULDN’T have a fitness center: Yes.

Me: Oh great, where is it?

Him: It’s on the map. (vague flit of his hand towards an unintelligable map, with no GPS coordinates for the fitness center.)

Me: I see. Would you be able to point me in the right direction?

Him: Just looking at me.

Him: Well Ms. Deminski, here is your room key and map (sliding it across the marble counter top), the elevators are ‘over there’ (another flit of the hand) and let us know if there is anything else you need, or feel free to speak to our concierge. (Read as: don’t even think of asking me for more help, and the concierge who is on his cell phone talking to his boyfriend isn’t going to be much help to you either. Now move along!)

Ah, New York City, you gotta love it. The fresh cold slap in the face everybody needs from time to time to remind them they are in a big, beastly city that can chew them up and spit them out in a heartbeat. It gives me the shivers just thinking about it.

You know, people warned me about California. I should have listened to them. Friendly people, beautiful weather, fresh food and smiling faces everywhere.

It’s enough to make this New Yorker homesick.


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