Saturday, January 16, 2010

Another Down Day

The weather is still not cooperating, but the high is moving very slowly towards us. Closer is good, and slow is good, I reason, because the slower it comes the slower it will leave. We'll use our new deicing fluid to get two flights done tomorrow and perhaps two flights the next day. I'll probably have to do both flights tomorrow, just to make sure my co-worker is good on night operations. I put the Do Not Disturb sign on the door and go to bed to save up some extra sleep.

Anyone who has slept shifts in a hotel knows what is coming next. Ring ring! It's the front desk calling to tell me they didn't clean the room because the sign was on the door, is there anything that I need?" I think I was to the point and said, "Only not to have people phone me and wake me up when I have the Do Not Disturb sign on the door." Not that that does any good, because there will be a different person on the desk next time. If I were spectacularly rude and raised a huge fuss there might be a post-it at the front desk reminding people not to phone room 307 because she's a shift worker. But even if spectacular rudeness were in my nature, if I did that I would probably find that my key had become deprogrammed twice a day or the families with screaming babies were always assigned rooms adjacent to mine. My friends higher up in the industry say that even when you're checking in in uniform at a high-end hotel that hosts air crews all the time, they don't connect the dots that the guy who checked in at three am doesn't need a cheery phone call at nine the next morning.

Once I've slept my fill I make a phone call, ordering flowers for someone with a birthday I can't be home for. Rather than using Interflora I just Google up a florist in the appropriate town and place a phone order. The connection isn't good and I'm struggling to have my name heard over the phone. I've spelled it a couple of times the conventional way and once in the radio alphabet, really slowly, because I know people who don't use it every day have a hard time disconnecting the words from their meanings to hear and process the first letters. The floral assistant wants to spell it back to me. She tries, "Is that P as in ... something that begins with P?" She literally said that. Apparently she can't summon a single word beginning with P to serve as an example.

We need a florist alphabet: Azalea, Buttercup, Crocus, Daffodil, Elm, Foxglove, Gladiolus, Hyacinth, Iris, Juniper, Kudzu, Lily, Magnolia, Nasturtium, Oleander, Poppy, Queen Anne's Lace, Rhododendron, Snapdragon, Thistle, Umbrella plant, Violet, Wisteria, Xeriscape, Yucca, Zinnia. I should try that next time and see if I have more success. With my luck I'd get a florist who knew I'd made up the Umbrella plant. In this case the owner of the store calls back later in the day and confirms my information on a better phone line.

The flowers did arrive in the end.

This hotel has minimal exercise faclities: a few poorly functional home-quality exercise machines. I watch a lot of Stargate and do pushups in my room until it's time to get ready to meet for dinner.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure you discarded eUcaliptus. {can't get a strikethru on the 'e'.

zb said...

The phonetic alphabet with plants is amazing. It seems you even took the time to think about options that don't sound alike too much...

BTW: Did I miss the solution to the funny glasses some posts ago?

dpierce said...

Always turn the ringers off on the phones in the room after assessing the fire exits. (Assuming your cell has coverage in the room.)

Anonymous said...

I once had a minimum-wage job in a remote outpost of Boeing. None of us knew the official alphabet or could be bothered to learn it, so we started with normal officespeak (A for Apple, B for Bertie, C for Charlie...) and gradually built an all-food one (B for Banana, C for Chocolate, D for Doughnut...)
Nobody seemed to mind.

I love yours. Wikipedia says there are several umbrella plants, but a florist would probably know Cyperus alternifolius by that name.

zeeke42 said...

I have the same reaction to non-standard phonetics that 'normal' people do to the standard ones. I hear the ICAO alphabet and the other once commonly used by amateur radio operators (Radio, King, Queen, Zebra, etc) as letters, but improvised ones I tend to hear as words at first.

Jeremy said...

There is actually an umbrella fern in Australia, and it could potentially be used by florists:

So I think it's valid!