Thursday, January 15, 2009

We're Set Up

A bit from last night's bottle of Redwood Creek chardonnay in a hotel wine glass, "Hallelujah" performed by Jeff Buckley on iTunes. Hallelujah, we're set up. And what a day it was...

Got up this morning to find that the ice bucket in which room service had delivered our wine last night had leaked... all over my wallet, my iPhone holster, and my iPod. The iPod was unharmed, the rest was soaked. There were three checks totaling over $1,500 in the wallet (they came in right before I left for Dallas) that were ruined from the wallet stain. The money (all $38 I had) was also stained, but I got the front desk of the hotel to exchange it, and I spent the day drying the wallet and the phone holster. Cleaning up and exchanging the money took a bit of time so we were late to get on the road--and no coffee to tide us over.

We finally got on our way, and it was the wrong road. I blithely headed out thinking I knew where the heck I was going. Bad idea. So I pulled over and found an address to input into the GPS instead of having Todd try to sort out marginally written directions from the show staff. After much incredibly hellish traffic (Dallas feels a lot like L.A. in this respect), we arrived at the World Trade Center (Dallas style)... and there were no signs telling us where to go. We drove around. A lot. We asked several people where we were supposed to go. We *finally* found the right entrance and got in the right line, and made it to the front of said line ready to be unloaded... and ran out of gas. I kid you not. (Todd wants you to know that it was not figuratively, but literally *out of gas*). But it's Dallas. Dallas is in Texas. There are no bigger-hearted people in the world than there are in Texas. The woman in charge of the dock grabbed one of her guys (a retired brick layer now dock worker for GES) and told him to take me to the gas station to get gas--even though it was only a couple of blocks away--because it was cold and I would have had to cross the freeway (under it on the access road). He would've taken me anyway once he knew the situation.

I got back with gas, we got unloaded. We set up. Even with all the delays, we finished setting up by 6:30 pm. Unbelievable. But the day, the surreal day we woke up to, was not over.

As we finished setting up, two women (buyers) came by, oohed and ahhed, and asked if I'd take an order today (!). I said sure, and took a mid three-figure order before the show even opened. Then it was time to go home...

As we took the elevator down to the lobby, and then the shuttle to the parking lot, I worried that we were not going to have enough gas to make it back to the gas station. After all, we had just got a little under a gallon, and then I hadn't been able to get it all out of the little gas can I bought. Todd and I held our breath all the way from the parking garage to the gas station, but we made it!

Then the evening's fun began. I thought I could use the little map handed out by the hotel to find the WalMart in "zone 2" by us so we could buy paper and beer. Hah. We drove around for about an hour up and down the access roads paralleling the two freeways by our hotel. It was... a trip. Finally, after having no luck at all finding the WalMart--or any other box-like store--we stopped at a Shell gas station to get beer for Todd (we had decided to throw ourselves on the mercy of the hotel staff for paper for tomorrow). The gas station proprietor--a very nice Indian man running a gas station/Taqueria in a Korean neighborhood--told us he didn't sell beer because it was dry there, but if we went down two stop lights in one direction we would find a 7-11 and liquor stores and everything. He further informed us that two lights in the other direction and a quick right turn would get us to an Office Depot for paper. We had hit the mother load! In retrospect, I think they were jsut surprised we were alive in the neighborhood. I thought back and the Indian man at the first gas station had had to unlock a door to let us in the store/gas station. What kind of neighborhood calls for all the doors to be locked at 8:30 on a Thursday?

When we left the gas station, we drove first to the liquor store. It was a Latino establishment with an eclectic mix of sakes and three alphabetized shelves of wine (Korean neighborhood, Latino establishment...). I have to say, I have never been in a store that alphabetizes wine with no regard to color or varietal before. It was... disconcerting. Todd got vodka and juices (he is expecting a rough show, I think) and I grabbed a couple of bottles of the only sauvignon blanc I could find. We went to check out and the older man behind the counter instructed the younger man on how to ring it up, how to bag it, etc., and all the while they kept casting wow-what-are-you-doing-in-here looks at us. As we were leaving they gave me a little gift--a Chum-Churum Soju apron in green and black. Like I said, surreal.

The rest of the evening was uneventful: We found Office Depot, we ordered pizza from room service, and we bickered over the remote control. Now it is time to print out several price sheets. Tomorrow morning I'll do the price stickers for the pieces. Ta ta!


Anonymous said...

In the early 90s I booked a Motel 6 in Dallas to attend a glass expo. As I pulled up there were multiple cop cars. I was given a room near the front, told to park my car in the front and not to open my door to anyone. At 3am had loud knocking at my door. Lots of drug dealing and prostitution there. And I'm originally from Chicago and taught high school in the ghetto, and even so it was unsettling to say the least.

May your show continue with many great sales.

Nancy Goodenough

Anonymous said...

I thought you knew that when in Dallas, stay away from downtown and east of downtown at night. We stay west of I35. There are some bad areas of Dallas just like there are in Atlanta. I prefer the Addison or Richardson areas.

Hope you have a great show. Don't freeze.


Bill said...

Sounds like you get to eat at the hotel a lot; I don't think going out would be wise.