Monday, October 10, 2016

No Room at the (Marriott) Inn

Apparently, I am still hot enough to be mistaken for a hooker. 

The weird thing is, I have never been mistaken for one in my entire life. 

On November 5th, I will be 58, so I suppose I should be flattered. The idea that any man might want to sleep with me at 58 is pleasing; the idea that I might be missing out on a commercial venture, though, is slightly distressing.
So, I was on a brief trip back to the UK to see my mother and friends. I’ll be spending Christmas by myself in New York this year (post-Brexit, I just can’t afford to travel on key dates) and it will be only the second time since my father died in 1990. Having sold my UK house, where Mum and (in the past ten years) her dog Maddie have spent every Christmas with me, it will be a little odd. 

But I’ll be fine. Who knows: maybe Macy’s will be holding one of their rare 365 days a year sales.
But I digress. So, being a fan of the Marriott group and collecting their points, I booked into the Cardiff Marriott, where I have always found the staff to be among the most pleasant of any hotel in which I have ever stayed. On Thursday, having checked in, I went out in my new black, zip up the side trousers, red sandals, and felt thrilled to be back in my home city.
I had such a great night, meeting up with friends, and returned to the hotel looking forward also to catching up on jet-lag following my flight from New York.
I arrived at the door and was greeted by security. 

“I’m staying here,” I explained, as I attempted entry.
“ARE you?” said the burly man, blocking my path.
“Yes, I’m already checked in. I’m a guest.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“Yes, I’m in room 915.”
“Are you really ABSOLUTELY sure about that?”
“Yes” (slightly hysterical by now).
Finally, I was allowed in, following checks that would not have been out of place had I been a terrorist wearing an ISIS issued hoodie.
Excuse my language, but this is bloody appalling, Marriott. I know that hotels have “problems” with prostitutes and was told by a member of staff that this has been an issue of late; but to assume that any woman in high heels and out at 2.30am is on the game is upsetting, offensive, sexist, rude, and a ton load of other adjectives I have called you since it happened.
So, I’m a hot chick?! Am I not allowed to dress up at 58? Am I not allowed to stay out late? Is it okay now to bully women who don’t fit the “norm”, whatever that is in Wales these days?
I spend a lot of time in New York, where, as an older woman, I am treated with nothing other than respect. I can hang out at bars, stay out late, have a laugh with whomever I choose, and nobody bats an eyelid. Men and women can sit by themselves, talk to each other and not be considered social lepers. I can wear tight jeans, short skirts and flaunt my spiky hair without anyone thinking I am a hooker.
By the way, I have nothing against hookers. Men and women want sex and both sexes are prepared to pay for it when they want to or need to. Hotels would go out of business were it not for the expensive cocktails hookers ask for from lonely people coming into town. Pretending that it’s a “problem” is hypocritical in the extreme (and I am not referring to any hotel in particular here, but you know who you are).
But I am offended. And upset. It’s been distressing and has cast a shadow over my visit. I will never stay at the hotel again; I might even strike Marriott altogether off my list. Because, you see: not only did they mess up on day one, there has been no comeback, despite their knowing what took place. No bottle of wine. No chocolates. No recompense.
I’m a really tough cookie; I’ve had to be as a woman in a predominantly male industry; it takes a lot to upset me. However, what I’ve noticed as I get older, there is a bullying that I never experienced as a kid. As a woman in Britain, you are considered on the scrapheap after . . . well, I’d say 35 . . . but certainly after 50 – and, more to the point, as a single woman. And, heck, I’m hurtling towards 60 now. 

Still single. Never been married. Never lived with anyone. No kids. Not gay (not that there is anything wrong with being gay – it’s just always the final question people head towards when confused by my unconventional life, so I just clear it up to save them the stress).
There is a sense of people questioning what right I have to be dressed up, staying out late, having a laugh, travelling . . . Like I say, NEVER in New York.
I think I might be done with Britain. 

There is so much I love about my home country. 

But, as a 58-year old woman still thoroughly enjoying life, it seems there is very little it loves about me.


Monday, October 3, 2016

Stop Taking the Piss!

My urine has disappeared. 

Of all the conversations I imagined having in relation to my Green Card application, the discussion regarding the location of my bodily fluids wasn’t up there in the top ten.
I’d learnt/learned (according to where you live) the national anthem; I know the names of every American President and the years they served; heck, I’ve even started to learn Spanish, which is the language I hear more than any other. My course, however, is very fond of teaching me how to say “The turtles drink milk”, but that’s the subject for another blog.
So, back to my wee. Now, not all my American friends know that the phrase “taking the piss” is quite common in Britain. Basically, it means “Stop messing with me”, “Don’t try to get one over on me thinking that I don’t know what you’re doing”, “Don’t . . . take the piss!”
But my piss has, quite literally, been taken. I am in the very lengthy process of applying for a Green Card in the category of “alien of exceptional ability”, which brings with it a National Waiver if I am deemed to be of national benefit to the USA. Clearly, my urine is of truly exceptional ability, as it has gone; or, as they say in Spanish . . . okay, I’m not that advanced yet, but Las tortegas beben leche.
When you want to take up permanent residency in the USA, you are required to have a medical – and jabs. I have this week discovered that I don’t have TB but I might be a measles risk. Oh, yes; and let’s not forget the flu. So, I have had a flu jab, an MMR booster, and just needed the pee to make sure I am not carrying any female related sexual infections (fat chance).
But when I turned up today to get my results, the devastating news was that my wee has gone walkabout. The clinic has no idea where it has gone. This means that my lawyer now has to change another set of forms because my last date of entry into the USA will be different from the one that’s currently on record.
Reader, I cried. I sobbed. “But where has it gone?” I blubbed to the very nice doctor who clearly thought I was certifiably insane and should never get within sniffing distance of a Green Card.
The thing is, the sample had been very hard to obtain. I have the tiniest bladder and can normally empty it in a nanosecond, should the occasion require it; but ask me to pee on demand, and everything clenches up (you know who you are, guys . . . but that’s another blog, too). So, I was in the clinic rest room with my little plastic pot, thinking of the Hudson, the Red Sea, running taps, Noah’s Ark, submariner Gordon in Thunderbird 4 . . . and I couldn’t summon up more than a teaspoon of the stuff. 

A man in blue, shaking his head, took the pot away and returned with it saying that they didn’t have enough. He could not have looked sadder had I told him he had three minutes to live. He gave me about two pints of water as encouragement and then, just as I was finishing the last drop, he returned to tell me that they had sufficient urine after all.
Happy days – well, apart from having to spend the afternoon in the loo getting rid of all the redundant liquid. But now, horror of horrors, it’s gone, and today, I had to go through the whole process over again.
I’d never realised how hard it is to pee into something with a two-inch diameter. “As much as you can” was the instruction given to me, which of course meant that my bladder went into stubborn mode, refusing to play ball. I also got a bit hung up on where the liquid was coming from. I always thought I knew, but two soaking hands, one wet floor and dripping toilet seat later, I’m not so sure now. I delivered them ten drops, at most.
Where is my wee? I feel a little violated, knowing that it’s out there and not where it should be. Has it been swapped in a lab with that of some poor sap hoping to get out of a DUI (good luck with that, mate; you so picked the wrong person)? Is it sitting lonely in a UPS store, pondering the body it left behind? Has it been abandoned, dropped, ignored? Have las tortegas opted to drop their milk diet in favour of something a little more salty?
I’m just suddenly feeling rather possessive of my little pot; only it and I know what we had to go through to get that far, just to have all our hard work snatched away.

So, whoever you are, closet psycho urine thief, stop taking the piss! Literally.