Sunday, March 08, 2009

Weekend In The 215

The tone of the weekend was already set when Amy called me from the rental car company begging me to guess what kind of car she had rented for our trip. I could not guess and she said, (much to my delight) "a PT Cruiser". Which we find hilarious because of this:

and which we said in exactly that way as many times as we possibly could. And no, it never got old.

Our room at the Ritz Carlton was not ready when we arrived in Philly, so they upgraded us to a nicer room and suggested we go out for a while as they got the new room ready. We headed toward Rittenhouse Square for brunch and shopping. Thanks to smartypants friend Amanda who spent two years at Wharton and provided lots of great recommendations, we had brunch at The Continental. I'm not saying we're shallow, but it really doesn't take much more than a couple of spicy bloody marys and chairs that are hanging from the ceiling to make us happy. (Ask me how many times we made jokes about being swingers...because it definitely rivaled the "PT Cwuzer" repetition...)
After lunch, we shopped and slowly made our way back to the hotel and checked in. We freshened up and it was (surprisingly!) time for another cocktail. As we were leaving the room, Amy asked, "What room are we in?" and I said, "oh, it's easy to remember -- it's 1001." We went to the bar downstairs at the Ritz and charged the tab to our room. Then, it was off to the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, about six or seven miles away. The cab ride took us past Wharton (shout out to Amanda!) and also past several fraternity houses (shout out to roofies!). We made a mental note to pick up a six pack of Miller Lite and stop back by for the keggers after the show. (True aside: I once tried to convince my friend, Jeff, that the best possible Halloween costume for him was a predator from "To Catch a Predator" and that all he had to do was grow a potbelly and hold a six-pack of Zima. Because he is no fun, he opted not to do that.)

After a couple more cocktails at the theatre (don't judge me) we took our seats for Chelsea Handler (note: tickets and trip to Philly were a birthday gift from Amy -- she rocks). She was hilarious. We really enjoyed ourselves and then naively headed outside to grab a cab back to the hotel. This is where our night got really fun (and by really fun, I mean not at all fun). There were no cabs. None. In a city where there are a zillion people coming out of a sold-out theatre. We waited twenty minutes...still nothing. The crowd from the theatre was thinning out and I had tried to call information for the number of a cab company and was having no luck. So, I decided to call our hotel.

I called the hotel and was directed to the concierge, Dan. I told Dan of our predicament and he assured me that he could help. He also asked how the show was. I said, "Um, fine...but I really want to talk about a cab." About five minutes later, he called back and again asked how the show was then said, "there are no cabs available for two hours." So I said (possibly with a tad bit of sarcasm), "Well, Dan, what do you propose we do?" and Dan said, "I'd propose that you prearrange to have a cab pick you up next time." Thus began our codependent, love-hate relationship with Dan.

We had many back and forth phone calls with Dan, with us suggesting possible alternatives and him telling us why they would not work. Just then, a crowd of about 300 (not even exaggerating) teenagers teemed past us, went up on a train platform, and then, turned around and swarmed by us en masse a second time. It was a tiny bit unnerving, but became VERY MUCH UNNERVING about three seconds later when nine cops with K9 dogs raced up, jumped out of their cars and went into crowd control mode.

I was getting increasingly bitchy frustrated with Dan, so at one point, I just handed the phone to Amy. She was working on some kind of deal with him that involved him sending a limo as I suddenly looked down and saw this:
I, of course, pointed it out to Amy and screamed "I think it's a merkin". Because even when in fear for your life, who doesn't like a good pubic hair joke?

As Amy was explaining to Dan yet again that we were not interested in talking about the show and just NEEDED TO GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE, Dan casually mentioned, "Hey...Chelsea just walked by." Apparently, she was staying at our hotel, which seemed to capture more of his attention than our obvious riot scene merkin-laden plight. Amy had finally persuaded Dan to send the limo, when a cab magically appeared before us. We hopped in as fast as we could and headed back to the hotel.

Of course, our safe return was followed by a drink in the Ritz lobby (I said stop judging me). As we were enjoying our drinks, we remembered that we had not had dinner and asked the bartender if we could get a cheese plate. He said, "Sorry. The kitchen closed at 11:00" and Amy said, "It's 11:00 now, and you all have 24-hour room service, and P.S., the restaurant right next to us is still serving -- since your kitchen is still open, do you think we might be able to get a cheese plate?"

We finally did get the cheese plate, courtesy of a great couple sitting next to us who lived in the Ritz residences and used that "pull" to get us our damn food. They ended up giving us a lot of great information about the city and ultimately, taking care of our bar tab. During the time we sat there chatting, three different bartenders came by and griped to us about what a tough day they'd had and how they could not wait to get home. At which point I was so tempted to say, "Really? Because I bet it wasn't nearly as tough as mine. I just paid $15 for a glass of wine and have had to listen to three different people whose job is to help me have a pleasant experience, unload on me."

The next morning, we got a phone call in our room. Amy answered and said, "Hi, Dan" and he asked, "How did you know it was me?" and she said, "it always is, always is." She asked him to please cancel our breakfast reservation at the Ritz (we had no faith in their "service" at this point) and make a reservation elsewhere. He said he'd handle it. He called back to say the restaurant we wanted was not answering the phone. So, we went downstairs and Amy walked up to him and said, "Are you Dan?" and he said "yes" and she said, "I'm Amy of Amy and Kathleen..." He smiled sheepishly and said he was still unable to get in touch with the restaurant we wanted, but could recommend another one. At that moment, Amy noticed his name tag and said, "Why does your name tag say 'Jonathan'?" He looked down, red faced, and said, "Oops. I must have grabbed the wrong one this morning."

Dan/Jonathan did recommend a fantastic breakfast place, so our morning got considerably better as we sat outside at the Parc Restaurant on Rittenhouse Square and ate some lovely food and decided that Dan/Jonathan had redeemed himself.

We headed back and checked out (of room 1002, it turns out -- oops) and made the trip home in our PT Cruiser. Today, Amy e-mailed me and said, "I was reviewing the bill again and realized that only one drink was charged to our room. Thanks again, room 1001."


KevStar said...

Next time you should pre-arrange to eat breakfast at this palace of the Divine

dori said...

This is a fabulous story! And what was that, really? It looks like something a cat barfed up and shat out at the same time.

dilettante07 said...

Love that entire story--so Philly! Glad you made it to Continental--can't believe I forgot to tell you about the swings!

Thanks for throwing some gang signs at Wharton...I worry how those kids are doing without me.

I hope you brought the merkin back to Dan/Jonathan and asked him to get it cleaned.

Candace said...

It has always amazed me to see those merkin clumps on the sidewalk. (used to see them all the time in DC) How does someone not notice leaving a trail of "hair" behind?

I've got a great pic of one that I saw here in Denver not too long ago. Not to brag or anything, but mine is totally bigger. *ahem*

Kathleen said...

Candace -- please tell me you are kidding about finding merkins all over DC? Seriously? Eeewwww. And then you found one in Denver? Could you please send the picture?