“Ohhh, you have a beautiful view, dontcha?” the room service woman exclaims. I look out the window and see a lagoon, an interstate highway and precious little else.
It’s 7:45 a.m. She’s perky. I dislike perkiness right after I wake up, and I especially dislike perkiness wrapped in obvious self-delusion.
“Mmglmph,” I reply. I reach in my pocket and get a tip. “Oh, wow!” she exclaims again, as though this process of being tipped is an exciting new addition to an exciting new day at this exciting new hotel with this exciting new view. And at that moment, I remember that sometimes you tip the staff so they will just go away.
But I also realize how long it’s been since I lived in the Midwest, where the genuine niceness of people now freezes me in my tracks and renders me mute.
Several times on this visit, after being visited by a moment of random nicety, I’ve stopped and asked myself, “What does this person really want?” On occasion, as was the case with Perky Room Delivery Woman, I’ve even wanted to ask, “What the hell is wrong with you?”
The answer is: Nothing. The annoyed sense I feel is a reflection on me, not the local population. Live long enough in an area where people are spectacularly self-absorbed, as I have, and that self-absorption will enshroud you.
They’ve got the opposite vibe going on here. Maybe that view out the window is better than I think.