Hotel by Tom I: Embassy Suites, Boca Raton, Florida. Late Summer.

I’ve stayed at this hotel before. About a month ago, I was in Boca Raton, where half of my company is based — or really, a third — and trying to figure out what my job was. I still am, but that’s beside the point. Samantha and I got off the plane at 10:30 to meet Susan, who had been wandering around the Ft. Lauderdale airport since she’d arrived in town, waiting for us. She looked every bit as frazzled as she’d said when we texted as I landed. 

“Fair warning: I look like a homeless person with crazy hair.” 

She told us to meet her by the escalators, and Samantha and I bumped into her strewn over some benches there, decked out in a University of Wisconisin-Madison sweatshirt, shorts, sandals, and looking somewhat like a homeless person. Susan is a former librarian, insofar as she spent many, many years working in one, even if she never got her MLIS. Samantha is from Staten Island, engaged, and a Giants fan. I’m Blogbytom. Presumably you already know me.

We get the rental car at the Hertz place, and of course the line is too long and it all takes too long, and whatever. We drive north to Boca, to the Embassy Suites, by Hilton. In Boca Raton, Florida. Late summer.

The Embassy Suites in Boca Raton has a stupid layout. I should just get that out of the way. Think of a giant hall, seven stories high, with a courtyard in the middle. On one half of the courtyard is the breakfast area and on the other the bar and dinner area. The elevators are pushed over to one side, all three of them(!), so you have to walk halfway around the giant amphitheater to get to your room. There are no hallways, only balconies, overlooking the people below, as you make your way around the building. If you wanted to spit on someone, no one would be able to tell where it came from.

The rooms themselves, and on the Very Very Plus side, all have their own balconies. For this, I give the Embassy Suites in Boca Raton, Florida much credit. Because I smoke. And not having to take a shitty elevator that’s all the way over there down six floors to go outside to smoke is really, really convenient.

We all go to sleep and decide that we’ll meet in the lobby at 8:30.

We end up meeting in the breakfast area. Samantha and Susan (both of whom had been there only in January, but hadn’t been aware of the renovations I saw on my first visit) both got lost coming out of the stupidly-situated elevators. We ate eggs and fruit and had coffee. Michael and Renata joined us. We went to work. 

Work was, as it can tend to be in the corporate world, two days of a giant Sales Meeting. It was exhausting. I barely had time to smoke, let alone think. I drew a bunch of doodles the first day, feeling shy, listening but not really contributing. Corey and I have been talking about making my new company a bit more like my old one since I was hired. As if to prompt me, the first day he floated me some softballs, perhaps to get my confidence up. It was a nice gesture, and I appreciated it. I’ve decided I like Corey, even though he’s Sales-bot through and through.

We went out to dinner and it wasn’t good. An old man twice complimented our table of twenty on how wonderful we were, how young we made him feel. The first time, the whole restaurant went quiet. To listen. As he was leaving, he gave the table $20 to “add to the tip” as thanks for bringing his spirits up. He gave a couple of the women in our party affectionate kisses on the hair. I think he probably was a little bit lost up there, but it’s Florida. What do you expect?

It was nice, but in a sad way.

Dennis and I battled it out in front of Emmett today. Dennis is the VP of Sales and Emmett is the CEO. The issue was pricing and how to account for different budgets, different needs, different strategies, etc. I won the argument, for what it’s worth, but in front of your boss, even if he’s put the item on the agenda for discussion, you never say that. Especially not when he’s in front of his boss. Bad form. Not cool. Either way, I got what I wanted when my immediate boss came up to me just before lunch, when I was still a bit shaky from the whole “little-guy-vs-big-buy-in-front-of-biggest-guy” affair (that shit’s kinda nerve-wracking), and said, “Just keep that pricing in your head, and we’ll get it done.”

She also said, at the end of the day:

“Corey, you keep bugging John about that marketing project, and Tom, you keep challenging Dennis on pricing.”

It was nice.

This morning, as I went to put my roller in the rental and return my key, I told the man at the Embassy Suites in Boca Raton, Florida in late summer that I was going to be back for breakfast. He told me okay. It was in the 90’s already, and the palm trees were sweating in the humidity. The grass was still damp on the islands in the parking lot from the morning sprinklers. The sun wasn’t high enough for sunglasses. 

I had scrambled eggs, sausage, and two cups of coffee. 

Rating: 3/5


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