Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Charlottetown, The Cradle of Confederation, The Place of New Beginnings

We had one of those experiences that linger in your mind for a long time after. I was thinking about it last night when I went to bed and again this morning when I was up and going through emails. I guess, maybe, I need to recognize that I'm being told, by either part of my brain or part of my heart or part of my spirit to notice what happened and honour it in some way. As my blog is a kind of running diary of experiences and memories I want saved, this seems like the logical place to do it. I'm afraid, though, that it may have less meaning for you and might seem a bit mundane. Oh, well, here goes:

Joe and I were checking into the Delta hotel in Charlottetown in advance of my giving some lectures there. I had ridden up the ramp to the lobby in my power chair and Joe was chatting with the bellman about the car, the luggage and such. There was no one in the line up so I presented myself to the front desk and a woman asked if I was checking in. I said I was. She was running through the particulars of the room with me. King bed. Wheelchair accessible. Wireless Internet. All were exactly as ordered.

She then asked how many keys I wanted made for the room. This is stuff I can do paying the barest amount of attention. We've done it thousands of times. Just as the keys were being cut, Joe arrived to tell me that the car was taken care of and luggage was on it's way up. She took in Joe's presence, handed me my keys and said, "Welcome to the Delta, I hope you and your ... partner, have a wonderful stay." It looked for a second as if she didn't know the exactly right word to say but in the end chose one that was perfectly fine.

We rode up in the elevator both agreeing, "Times have changed."

We've been travelling for work for decades. There have been times when hotels have flat out refused to give us a king bed. Several times our choice was two queens (is there an irony there) or find another hotel. This confrontation was always aggressive and they were always the aggrieved party - how dare we book a hotel under false pretences. Wha??? We tried to get into a habit of just one of us checking in and getting the key, then, once done we'd go about as openly as we typically would. But try as we might we kept messing up and ending up with disapproving stares and discussions with upset managers.

As time has passed by there has been less and less of a fuss made. In the last few years, we'd be given the keys without comment, we might get glares and cold shoulders, but, forgive me, screw 'em, we don't need their approval.

But then in Charlottetown, the woman at the desk, for the first time ever in our lives, treated us as valued customers and as a couple welcome to stay at the hotel.

That's never happened before.



We got in the room. Joe sat down on the bed. I rolled over to the desk and turned to look at him. "That was odd," I said. He agreed and said, "We've never been welcomed, together, before."

We hadn't.

It felt good, great, wonderful, like something awful had ended and something new had begun.


Kris S. said...

Better late than never, eh?

Anonymous said...

Ah, such a wonderful story to wake up to!! So happy to hear you had a 'new' experience! :)

Andrea S. said...

I also like that she gave the keys to YOU, the person who initiated the process, and not Joe, who some people might have perceived as your carer and thus "in charge"

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

Gives a person hope!

Thanks for sharing this story with us.

Here is what it made me remember - The first time I saw you speak was in Cobourg I think. Before your presentation I was at the book table with Joe. You were sitting at the front of the room. I saw Joe look at you - it was so loving, full of warmth, brief and maybe even not consciously done - I knew then that he was your life partner. That kind of connection is so rare in today's world!


wendy said...

The story certainly means something to me, Dave. Although I am younger than you the world has changed significantly since the early '80's when I was coming out. Early in our relationship my partner and were denied housing, flatly told that they would not rent a one bedroom apartment to two women. We've watched the world change and been sometimes frustrated and sometimes pleasantly surprised. And there is always something pleasing to me in being acknowledged as the old married couple we have become.

Anonymous said...

So crazy to think that it took so long to get a basic "Welcome; enjoy your stay; thank you for choosing our hotel."

So glad it finally happened.


Princeton Posse said...

and this is how it should be...

Kristine said...

That took until 2013?? With the amount of travel that you do? That puts some things in perspective.... Well, I'm sorry it took this long, but I'm so glad it happened. Such a great couple certainly deserves acknowledgment. :)

Deb said...

Hooray for that desk clerk. Love now dares to speak its name, in so many ways.

The year was 1904, and my mother was named Mattie Neil after the "two bachelors" Matt and Neil who farmed next door to my grandparent's place for 40 years.

I'm an avid genealogist and I do not recall a single other case of two unrelated men of the same age living together all their lives.

My grandparents felt sorry that these nice men had no children so decided to name my mother after them. (She was supposed to be a boy!)

Don't you think those two guys must have been pleased? In those days on the Oklahoma frontier (it wasn't even a state yet) I'm sure no one ever twigged onto the fact that these farmers were probably "partners" in more ways than one.

Anonymous said...

Yes, better late than never. Hopefully it is the start of the new usual.

jypsy said...

Hope that means you'll come back Dave :) Your workshop wasn't quite in my budget this time. Next time maybe we can meet for a coffee/tea to say hello. Hope the rest of your stay was as welcoming.