Monday, May 05, 2008

Things Are Just Different. A Lot.


So last Saturday I went to the front desk of the hotel where I had reserved three weeks and internet to discover that I was expected to check out that day. I clarified that my three week reservation should, indeed, extend into week two. I paid for the week, plus internet, so when my internet was turned off that Saturday night I resolved to make certain that it didn't happen again.
This week I went down on Friday, extended my stay, and picked up the password for this week's internet.
On Saturday night -- Fail.
I called the front desk but they were closed.
I called the security office and they were new and didn't know how to re-activate the internet I had paid for. They told me to call back on Monday.
To recap: My internet, which I paid for and jumped through all the hoops to get, was disabled accidentally by the front office and I was told to wait for two days to get it back.
On Sunday morning I successfully got them to wake the on-site manager to hook me back up, but she was upset about it.
On Sunday afternoon I picked up a wireless card for my laptop which promised "DSL speeds" from anywhere in the area. Go, 3G network!
Except that the signal drops just like with my cellphone, lost in the rolling, tree-infested hills of South Carolina.
Again -- Fail.

I did pick up an interesting bit of local trivia on Saturday.
While the builder agent was driving me back to the office after showing me a house with an inadequate laundry room, we crossed Lake Carolina between the boat docks and the mid-lake fountain.
Making conversation, I asked if the lake was man-made.
"Yes," the agent replied,"I just found out myself they all are."
"All the lakes in the subdivision? I thought there was just the one?"
"No. All the lakes in South Carolina. Every one of them is man-made. They were dispensing permits for them like Pez through the early nineties."
My mind traveled back to the days of the early settlers who must have had to carry water from Florida and North Carolina by hand, making their way across the barren wasteland of the scorching South Carolina desert. I marveled at their ingenuity in carrying those barrels and flasks across the dunes and emptying them in the Georgia mountains before rushing downhill to catch the flow in an elaborate state-wide system of dams. I thank them for giving artificial (if pretty) refuge to the delicate mosquito, bedrock of the ecological food chain (and nuisance all up and down that same chain).
How ridiculous is that idea?
Then I checked Wikipedia. Holy crap it's true! Even Lake Strom Thurmand!

This afternoon we met two more new hires and escorted them to lunch. I spoke mostly with the one from out of town. He had questions for me, I assume, because my two weeks here have granted me "grizzled veteran" status.

Him: So what do I need to know about the first month here?

Me: Let's see . . . There is a liquor store on Two Notch Road that sells adorable little bottles of booze.

Him: Okay, but what are the expectations set for the person in my position.

Me: You can't buy liquor at all on Sunday.

Him: Okay. Is that it?

Me: I think you can join a club or something and buy on Sunday if you run out of the tiny bottles of booze.

Him: Thanks, but I was specifically talking about the job here.

Me: Me too. Welcome to South Carolina.

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