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Wi-Fi & The Dirty Gig: One Day At A Time

February 19th, 2016 · Tags:Hotels · Satire

After the initial Republican Debate euphoria and the chance meet up with #MajorGarrett (in the previous blog), The Dirty Gig in South Carolina slowed to a snail’s pace … kinda like a long, slow, southern drawl.  Day in, day out, we suited up in Tyvek suits and cleaned grease and soot off industrial machines.  The most excitement was accidentally hitting my hard hat on the low hanging pipes for the umpteenth time … “low-hanging fruit” designed for 5’10” workers, apparently.  Funny thing about hard hats … you can hit your head and it doesn’t hurt but paradoxically, you never hit your head if you take the helmet off.  The things protect the noggin, but impair your vision drastically.  I say it is a wash.  I have an idea for a translucent safety helmet.  Anyone want to go in on this?  I digress …

If the manufacturing plant in Greenwood, S.C.,  had Wi-Fi, it was probably toast, like some of the machines in the place.  I didn’t get on a hotspot, at work, unless it was to wipe grime off of it.

Ha.  My hotels in Greenwood had great Wi-Fi … two hotels in a week, due to a scheduling snafu.  First a Fairfield, which was fine for my one night of wrecking their bedding. Then actually, the snafu continued at hotel number two — a Holiday Inn … Where, due to scheduling conflicts — or perhaps ineptitude — the hotel asked me to change rooms three times in five days.  On the eve of the first scheduled change, one night desk guy went above and beyond the call and got the problem worked out.  So, I didn’t have to move around in the same hotel.  Ah, life’s simple pleasures.  Here’s what I didn’t like about the Holiday Inn.  The place was fairly new/nice … and several of the other, not-so-customer-service-oriented front desk staff stood in front of the automatic doors each night and each morning (three of them) and chain smoked so that the entire hotel breakfast area and hallways  filled with a cancer cloud.

Did I say anything to them?  Technically, no … (I know … surprising, if you know me, since I am allergic to the poison in cigs …)  But I sent a message.  I conducted a little experiment to test the power of social media.  I tweeted the particulars with the hashtags of #HolidayInn and their parent company #IHG … along with the all-encompassing #travel hashtag.  You know what?  Maybe someone at corporate saw the tweet … I don’t know.  The next day the air was clear.  I will never know.  But after I checked out  and as I drove away from The Holiday Inn … the trio were lighting it up.  I digress …

My meals in Greenwood were mainly fast food and a few turkey sandwiches in the hotel room.  But one night, I skipped my Starbucks/Wi-Fi routine … or actually just delayed it … and went out with my coworkers to what appeared to be the hottest joint in town — The Dixie Drive Inn … a traditional diner.

Ha.  Dixie’s burgers and fries were about as good as anywhere else.  The atmosphere was ok.  Good southern pride: they had their own t-shirts for sale but for once I resisted.  Any who … the dinner at this diner was memorable for the conversation with the guys from the job, if nothing else.

Speaking of the guys, I may have mentioned my friend Hakim before in this blog.  We have worked together on a number of different projects, and he too is from the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  I think I have blogged in the past that occasionally I hear Hakim calling in and making great sports comments/analysis on Dallas sports radio.  When it comes to The Dallas Cowboys, Hakim is about as loyal and knowledgeable … no make that insightful as anyone.  Funny guy too …

But at this Dixie joint, I learned Hakim is also a connoisseur of fine ‘70s sitcom TV.  Who knows how we got on the topic, but he was expressing his love for All In The Family and several other shows.  Then he brought up one of his favorites.  “You know the one with the single mother and two daughters … and the fix-it guy named Schneider.”  (Who could forget Schneider? … he was like the middle-aged version of Chachi — skinny but proud of the little muscles he had, forever in sleeveless or tight shirts and thinking he was THE lady’s man) … I digress.

Dang it!  I couldn’t think of the name of the show … and to think, I pride myself on knowing useless stuff.  I told Hakim I remembered the show, and the name ws right there on the tip of my tongue.  At first I said, “Who’s The Boss.’” “But no, that was Tony Danza, Alysa Milano, etc.”  I had to guess this!  Of course it became an obsession and I started working through mental prompts. “It had Bonnie Franklin, playing ‘Ms. Romano.’ It had Mackenzie Phillips, offspring of the Mamas & The Papas … Oh and Eddie Van Halen’s ex-wife, Valerie B.”  Hakim nodded, but neither one of us could recall.

I continued to think and Hakim’s phone rang.  Soon he was in a deep conversation when the trivial answer came to me.  Ha … I thought I better write it down before I forgot it again.  So I scribbled “One Day At A Time” on a napkin.  Hakim continued in a serious conversation on the phone.  We all had finished our meals and Hakim was still on the phone as we walked to separate cars, so I tapped him on the shoulder and handed him the napkin.

Hakim looked at me and smiled a little … maybe beamed a little and said “thanks.”  And that was that.  Kind of anti-climactic for some real  ’70s TV trivia sorcery, I thought.  But I forgot about it and went to my car.  As I was about to pull away, Hakim knocked on the window and asked to ride with me, instead of the other guys.

He seemed a little melancholy … and wanted to talk.

He got in and started telling me about his phone conversation.  I won’t get into details, but one of his friends was having some really difficult life situations and bad luck compiling them.  Hakim had been trying to console his friend on the phone.  I expressed my empathy for the situation and we kept talking.  When the conversation changed to lighter topics, I said “‘One Day At A Time,’  man.”  ( … still amazed it took me so long to remember the name of that TV show.)

Hakim looked at me, appreciative and said … “Yes.  Exactly.  One day at a time.  Kent, that was so helpful.  Thanks for giving me that message. Sometimes words are just right for the situation.  One day at a time … that is exactly what my friend needed to hear and that is what I told him.  Thanks man.”

What!?!

Oh … 🙂

I think Hakim and I both realized at the same time what had happened.  I never heard what Hakim was saying to his friend, and obviously couldn’t hear his friend’s side of the story.  But I guess Hakim thought I had overheard, and he thought I had this precious gem of wisdom, perfect for the situation.  (Ha … he overestimates my depth …)

We both laughed when we realized I was trying to help him out in reminiscing about old TV.

“This is it.  This is life.  The one you get, so go ahead and have a ball …,” the old theme song was stuck in my head all day.

Know what I sayin?