I spent my free evening in Virginia seeing some of the wonderful historical sites and chatting up the locals as I dined at a charming little cafe that served fresh, regional cuisine.
I acted like every other boring business traveler on earth. And now you get to hear about it. Yay, you! Sorry, Maggie Mason.
Free drinks in the atrium? I believe I will! Free greasy snacks? Don't mind if I do!
I actually DID begin to mind after I ate something breaded, fried, and unidentifiable. It was small, round, and very slippery. It might have been an olive or a turkey testicle - I'm not quite sure but it was frighteningly more like the latter than the former.
Then a lovely dinner at TGIFridays, conveniently located across the parking lot. My helpful server, Ed, brought me a glass of pinot noir and a cup of ice, "In case you want to chill it down." That was a new one on me, but maybe that's a local custom. Anyone?
Ed turned out to be an amazing young man. He was a really good server - quick-witted, in the right place at the right time, with a great sense of just how much interaction his customers wanted.
I left him a big tip and then gave him a stern lecture on the way out about how he was meant for Greater Things and how he should Think Big and Get The Hell Out of There as soon as he could. He nodded enthusiastically.
"I'm just working on my bartending skills and want to go to work on a cruise ship," he said. "I figure maybe 2 years."
"Give it 6 months, Ed." I didn't want to get into the evils of the cruise industry right then. Ed is smart. He will figure it out soon enough.
I collapsed in my hotel room with a Project Runway marathon (my excuse is that I have to get my trashy TV fix in hotels since I have no TV at home) and a bag of of Jelly Belly jellybeans that I had purchased at LAX.
When I bought them, the sign said $3.49 a pound. I was overjoyed and amazed, since they are $6.99 a pound at the grocery store, and this place had the full flavor selection.
I am a big Jelly Belly junkie. I spent my time picking a bag of all my favorite flavors - cappucino, sizzling cinnamon, raspberry and none of those gag-worthy buttered popcorn or bubble gum ones.
When I put the bag on the scale, the snotty little LA beeyotch behind the counter said "$14.54." (She didn't say anything else because she was waaaay too good to be friendly to a mere customer. I LOVE LA! LOVE IT!)
"Uhhhhhhhhhhh...I thought they were $3.49 a pound?" I said.
"A QUARTER pound," she corrected. I sensed she went through this at least 1000x a day. No wonder she was a beeyotch. If I had to deal with angry travelers who just found out they had made a custom mix of candy that was going to set them back the price of a large pizza, I would be cranky, too.
So I didn't argue. I ponied up my damned $15 and took my beans. I have to say they are really, really good.