Monday, June 17, 2013

rep road: dateline kingston ontario

today's lesson: acceptance.  I left Ottawa early on Sunday in a good mood.  I'd booked a room for one night downtown, near my bookstore appointment and the gorgeous waterfront.  I decided to just get there early and to spend the day soaking up local color.

The weather deteriorated and I drove through a monsoon that only got worse as I headed southwest, white knuckle hydroplaning down highway 15.  But I made it to Kingston by noon.

It was pouring even harder in town, rivers of water gushing down streets, my umbrella useless.  But I made a dash for a coffee shop, where the service was rude, and I was already cranky.  "My car, like, broke down last night," bored-with-me waitress said to another server as she held out change in my general direction.  

I was so tempted to ask "Did it actually break down or just "like" break down, because there's a big difference?"   Instead I transferred my hostility to a disturbed man who, eerily, had the same line of bother as the guy who hangs out all day in the Starbux next to Boswell Books in Milwaukee  " Where did you go to high school?" he asked every single person who came in.  I just thought, get me out of here.

The next frustration was even more serious because it was such a rookie rep mistake.  Kingston is packed in summer so it was hard to find a reasonable hotel room.  (Note to self: someday find out a little more about all this history.)  

But the Green Acres (sic) got good Trip Advisor ratings, and it's right on Princess Street, so why not?  i booked it two months ago.  

When it wasn't where I thought it would be I checked my paperwork, only to find in horror that It wasn't 240 Princess Street,  but 2400 Princess.  Major difference.  This put it out on an obnoxious stretch of fast food, big box, six lane exurbian highway, about as far from quaint British army history and cute architecture as you can get.  

No cancellations allowed, and everything downtown booked anyway.  Deep breath, go with the flow, surrender.  If I'd taken the train it would have been much worse to be stranded out there. 

The amazing thing is that it was a cool and charming place.  Feels like an old fifties motel, updated but not fancy and twee.  The people are very nice, the rooms are clean, and despite the highway I heard birds singing in the morning.

And to put MY problems in perspective, I arrived at Novel Idea for my appointment only to find a giant hole outside the store and Princess Street closed for blocks as construction equipment did their best to scare customers away.  This has been going on for awhile.  It's every street retailers nightmare.

Please everybody, if a store you love and patronize becomes a construction  zone, increase your patronage accordingly.  They will be grateful, and you will help insure that they are still there for you when it's over.

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