The jar had a label on it. All at once, it made me laugh hysterically and brought out my worst fears, complete in a split second.
For once, I'd actually managed to get a decent night's sleep, I'd ordered a new set of headphones while in the States, taking advantage of the weak dollar, similar to many players in the main event. In an email I'd received I'd been told they had been delivered a couple of days earlier but I'd simply been too busy to collect them.
There was nothing there, the clerk in the Business Center, who was clearly Randall from the film of his occupation, seemed bemused. “There's nothing here sir” was the best he could muster. For some reason, I believed him enough to traipse back to my room and recheck the two emails I had confirming that, yes, my parcel had arrived.
Front desk seemed equally perplexed when I rang them,
“Sorry sir, we don't have a package for you here.”
“But it can't have just disappeared.”
“Hang on sir, let me put you through to Guest Services...”
(Herein lies a brief period where I explain the whole thing a second time)
However, the repetitiveness of my statement is met with another equally vapid response.
“No we don't have your parcel, hang on, let me put you through to Business Center.”
“But I've just come back fro...”
I'm cut off in mid-sentence and the depressing sound of the phone ringing engages once more.
“Hello, Business Center, how can we help you?” says a clearly bored Randall once more. I can almost hear the rolling back of his eyes as he realises he might actually have to not sit and do nothing for a minute of the day. At least this time I don't actually have to regurgitate the messy entrails of my story this time.
He gets me to call up the USPS, (US Postal Service) which of course is automated, and when I type in the umpteen digit number, I get told by Little Miss Automated Voice that they don't have any details of my parcel and I'm back to Randall. Square fucking one.
“Any ideas?” I ask him, expecting well, not much.
“USPS usually delivers to the front desk, let me put you through to them...”
As the ringing clicks in again, a yell of “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo” echoes around the 25th floor hall, sounding like Hans Gruber falling to his fate, the scream being in vain.
This time, I speak to someone called Tim who actually puts me on hold for about ten minutes, while he looks.
He returns and says, “Sorry sir, I can't find it.”
“Well it seems it must have been lost or stolen, is there nothing you can do?”
“Sorry sir, I'm afraid not. Hey, but you know what? It might be in the Mail Storage room.”
“Where they would store the mail, I guess?”
“Is it open?”
“No, not until Tuesday.”
At this point, I thank him for his help and put the phone down lest I call upon God to do some serious smiting. I can be (self)righteously Catholic sometimes. Instead, I repeatedly make head-sized holes in the wall of my room.
I ended up going to the Palms with Arthur from PokerListings and watching Wall-E and Get Smart back to back. Wall-E is an utter triumph, it's just so helplessly funny and imaginative, Get Smart is pretty good also, especially if you're (like me) a fan of two things, Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway's legs.
In between we grabbed a coffee from a nearby stand, instead of a tips jar in front of the till. There a jar, with a label on it, ireads “Please Support Counter-Intelligence”. I start giggling badly to the point where the serving girl starts giving me an odd look.
Of course, with the economy in the US the way it is, I can understand the tightening of belts. You can barely walk the streets of a single US city without some drunken FBI or CIA guy coming over and shouting, “Buddy, buddy! Have you got any change, I gotta a target, but I just ain't got the means man...”
And sometimes, I'll give them some change, if they can back up their argument with some decent evidence, but some of the time I don't have any change and they get real aggressive like and shout, “Thanks a lot buddy, by not sparing me change, you let the terrorists win!”
I begin to imagine a session with the Joint Chiefs of Staff...
“You see Mr President, we're running low on natural resources and the dollar is at an all-time low. Simply put, our only hope is to plunder our reserves, coffee-shop tip reserves. Those kids working after-school hours to help a family make ends meet are a gold mine, a gold mine I tells ya!!!”
I could see the Hollywood celebrities chipping in too, “Look, your government needs your help. Just $10 a month will enable us to waterboard Achmed for another two and half days. $5 will allows us to tear up and throw another copy of the Koran down the toilet making these terrorists so angry that they're bound to break. And $1, just $1 will let us buy more Nickelback tapes to play really loudly non-stop in their cells, to confuse them and hopefully turn them into fans of bad Canadian rock music.”
Of course this whole plan will be scuppered when Mike Myers and Kanye West are amongst the celebrities pleading for help on TV only for the rapper to break ranks and shout, “George Bush doesn't care about torturing people!!”
Oh hang on, that's not satire.
Song of the day. “I'm Waiting For The Man” by the Velvet Underground.