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I Should'a Known...

     I should’a known. I should have asked. But I didn’t. The downtown Hilton on July Fourth weekend should have been twice the rate, but who was I to argue? I made the reservation – make that two nights, please. At that rate I can afford it.

     I should’a known. I should have asked. But I didn’t. I made the reservations, printed out the confirmation and put it in the file with the airline and car rental reservations for the trip to Pennsylvania.

     We arrived in Pittsburgh on the last day of June, raindrops splatting the windows of the plane as we taxied to the gate. I crossed my fingers, but it didn’t work. By the time we got our rental car, it was pouring.

     That’s okay. The rain stopped the next day and we left Pittsburgh for a small town ninety miles away.

     The thing is, we came back to Pittsburgh. My big plans to spend the weekend in Pittsburgh at the Hilton overlooking the Three Rivers went rapidly downstream when we drove across the Fort Pitt Bridge to our destination - where chain link fences and plywood boards surrounded a corner of the Hilton. Where was the entrance? Was the hotel open?

     Oh, here it is. Yes, it was open for guests. Unsuspecting guests like us. We checked in, parked our car and went up to our room. Looked fine. We set out our suitcases and settled in.

     Minutes later, Brett came out of the bathroom. “The faucet fell off!”


     “The cold water faucet fell off when I turned the water on.”

     Sure enough. The cold water faucet fell off every time you touched it. But we’re tough travelers. We could survive. Didn’t expect this at a Hilton, but no problem. They’d fix it for us. It wasn’t exactly a crisis so I didn’t call Housekeeping. Figured I’d tell the concierge next time we were down in the lobby.

     Lot of good it did. Concierge said. “Yeah, it’s kind’a hard to wash up with a loose faucet.” He thought about it for a minute and then said, “But you do have a sink in your room?”

     Of course we had a sink. This was the Hilton. Most Hiltons I know have sinks in the rooms. We assured him that yes, we had a sink. He said the last lady who came to report told him her room didn’t have a sink.

     “You know, we’re doing a lot of renovations here. That’s probably why she didn’t have a sink.” And that was the end of that.

     I should’a known. I should have asked. But I didn’t. He didn’t offer to send someone to fix the faucet. I don’t know about the lady without the sink, but I do know one other thing. We were in the elevator when it stopped on the sixteenth floor and a lady got in with her luggage, looking kind of flustered.

     “They changed my room,” she said. “They told me I had to change rooms because they’re doing renovations. I don’t mind, but the room they changed me to has people in it.”

     “They must think you’re the friendly type,” I volunteered.

     “Not that friendly!”

     We laughed and I didn’t think any more about it – until they called and told me Brett and I would have to change our rooms before noon of the next day. Not so funny now. Our traveling gear was spread all over the room, settled in for a quiet weekend at the Hilton.

     I should’a known. I should’a asked. But I didn’t. We stayed where we were that night – loose faucet and all. But we cancelled the second night reservation and drove thirty miles south to my Uncle Walter’s, where the company was friendly, the food was superb and there wasn’t a loose faucet in the house.

     I called the wait-forever-for-someone-to-come-on-the-line number to make an appointment with my doctor. Finally the music stopped and a human asked what he could do for me. I said I wanted to make an appointment with my doctor and he asked what for and I told him I wanted to talk to her about the results of my bone scan.

     “You say you want the results of your bone scan?”

     “No. I have the results. I want to talk to my doctor about them.”

     “You should be able to get them at the lab. Call the lab.”

     Silent scream. “I got the results from the lab. I want an appointment with my doctor.”

     “When did you have this done?” Huge urge to shout, but calmly with clenched teeth, I told him, “Last Friday.”

     “Oh. Last Friday? Are you sure?”

     “Yes. Last Friday.”

     “Would you happen to remember if that would have been this year or last year?”


     I didn’t scream but boy did I want to. I couldn’t believe my ears. Actually, it was kind’a funny and if I’d thought fast I should’ve told him it was five years ago. Not that he would have noticed.

     Nothing was resolved when I hung up except that he said he’d have my doctor’s office call me.

     Today an investment broker called and asked me how to spell my first name so he could put me on the list of people who would be meeting next Wednesday.

     I told him it started with “she” as in “she” and then I spelled that out, in case he didn’t get it because he wasn’t sounding much like he understood. Slowly and clearly I spelled out “s” “h” “e.” Gave him a minute to get that down and continued: “i” “l” “a.” He repeated it back. “S” “h” “e” “l”

     This time I did – almost. Laugh. I stifled it, though, just in time. Here was a broker, dealing with probably but hopefully not, millions of dollars for his clients and he couldn’t get the first four letters right. Good thing those stock symbols are only three letters – or less.

     Is it happening to you, too? Nobody’s listening any more. Like the day I called the bank because they’d charged my online banking fee to an account I’d just closed. I was going to tell them to charge it to another – open – account, but I never got a chance! Soon as I mentioned the charge, the banker right away started explaining what the charge was and why it was so high and how I could reduce it by changing my account setup. She never did let me tell her to transfer the charge to the other account.

     Maybe everyone’s multi-tasking: texting on their phones and sending e-mails on their BlackBerries and signaling the kids to be quiet while they’re listening. Or maybe they just know it all already and never need to listen to anyone.

     Okay. I do it, too. Sometimes. And you probably do, too. But… Gee, if I didn’t hear what you said, I’d say so. Like, “What did you just say? Sorry. I wasn’t paying attention. I was thinking about what Hilary’s going to do next.”

     My doctor’s office called today. They said they would try to get my test results, but when I explained I already had them and just wanted an appointment, the lady – who was a great listener, by the way – said that was totally not what the appointment guy told them and she promptly scheduled me for next Thursday and we were done.

     Her cell phone must not have had texting capabilities ’cause she was definitely paying attention.

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