I don't know if our readers can tell, but I'm in the midst of a bit of a Blue Period, blog-wise. We're in bleak morherfucking times, boys and girls, and as much as I'd like to believe all that arc of the moral universe stuff, the bending of late trends towards fascist, fact-free, and the worst angels of our natures.
As today's evidence, I offer this anecdote:
I'm in Long Beach, CA for a conference - the town is a weird mix of stoner hip, aggro surf punk (think Point Break), tourist families, and seaport longshoremen. Because I procrastinated, I'm staying in a mid-tier hotel (no complaining, but it ain't a Kimpton). As it turns out, so is one of my colleagues.
The colleague in question is the former mayor of Minneapolis, a woman as accomplished as she is smart, dynamic, and fun-loving. She also happens to be African-American.
Over drinks, she told a story about her checking into the hotel. Among other things, she was asked to provide a security deposit, because, you know, sometimes people steal pillows. She asked me if I was required to do the same. I'll let you guess whether or not I was.
Let me reiterate that we're talking about the former mayor of one of America's largest cities. A woman who's always impeccably dressed and mannered, and as friendly and personable as you'd imagine someone who would rise to that kind of position might be. The person that checked her in was the general manager of the hotel. I know because he couldn't have been more accommodating to me - went out if his way to help me when I checked in early, actually - so I knew exactly who he was when she described him.
We were a couple of pops in, so I got a little pissed when she told the story - full of righteous indignation. She wasn't angry, though. Probably because this was just the latest in a lifetime of slights, politely offered. All she said (after insisting that I promise not to say anything to the hotel staff) was, 'we have to be better than this'.
And right now, I don't have the first fucking clue how that happens.