Long before digital anything… when dinosaurs still roamed the earth and water bottles were not yet common (or even invented?), I sat in the courtyard of an ultra swanky hotel in southern Florida. Service was abominable. We waited ages and ages for an initial glass of water, never mind the wine and the meal. Polite questions did no good. The attitude of staff was even worse than the service. But the courtyard was beautiful and it was a perfect southern Florida night, i.e. not too sticky or buggy, so we stayed and waited and waited and waited for our meal. Given all that time on my hands I decided to make a few notes in my travel journal, just personal notes (this was before blogs, before the internet, truly the dark ages it was). Something about the act of pulling out a notebook and writing caught someone’s attention and before we knew it the manager appeared at our table asking if there was anything he could do for us. Well, we’re waiting for our meal, we said… And just like that, presto bongo! our meal followed. The manager returned (several times) to ask how the meal was and was there anything else he could do. No, no, we’re fine, we said, and he said well, maybe after we’d eaten we’d like a tour of the hotel because he’d personally love to give us a tour of the hotel. Um, okay… we said, a little confused. The wine and dessert and tea were comped and the tour was comprehensive and complete with much ass-kissing, which neither of us could understand… until we realized he thought I was a food writer. Because, apparently, who else would write in a journal?
This was before the days of taking pictures of meals and sharing every food experience, when the power of print via pen and ink had clout.
Like I said, it was a long time ago.
(Southern Florida, ’90s)
Other (not always) wordless friends: