Having just gotten back home from two quick trips--one to the University of North Carolina where I was giving a talk and meeting with grad students in the Communication Studies Department and one to New Orleans for a colloquium with Brazilian scholars where I gave a short talk about research concerning cell phones and driving--I would like to offer the following observations and recommendations:
1. To the Charlotte NC airport: Get the attendants out of the Men’s restrooms. The last thing I want to do when I travel is get harassed by a guy handing me towels and expecting a tip—especially when you have automatic towel dispensers in the restroom. No, I don’t need a splash of cologne nor do I want a breath mint. I’m not hitting on anyone; I’m just trying to get to the next town. Honestly, I would almost book a more expensive flight to avoid this.
2. To the UNC Comm grad students: I’m impressed. Not only do I get a ton of smart questions from you at the talk, but when I go out of the town to visit old Chapel Hill friends and visit two bars (Southern Rail and Miltown), you guys just happen to be at both places. That’s grad school as I remember it.
3. To my cab driver in New Orleans' Garden District: Repeating the phrase “Lookie there! Lookie there!” twenty times while pointing is, all in all, not a very interesting tour guide strategy.
4. Igor’s Lounge: Give Heidi a raise! I loved this bar in the Garden District. I was only in town for two nights, but this lovely dark wood, S shaped bar (with a pool room and one washer/drier) was my afterhours home. Hell, I would almost move to New Orleans to spend time here. Not only were the regulars inviting and friendly, but when I walked in on the second night, Heidi (who was busy serving others) looked up, and said, “John, baby, want a Bud?” Second night, and I already felt like a regular. Name, term of affection and beer choice in five words!
5. To the Garden District Hotel: Update your showers. Having dirty, moldy, plastic shower curtains blow inward and stick to your skin is NOT a pleasant way to start the day. I’m still scrubbing those imaginary blotches off my skin.
6. To the Cave, in Chapel Hill: Keep up the good work. You still feel dirty and smoky. The sweet touch of home.
7. To the Garden District Hotel: When you advertise a free breakfast, don’t simply hand your guests factory made bland muffins as they walk out in the morning.
8. To the 1834 Dining Hall at Tulane: when you tell customers the choices will be Chicken or Shrimp, don’t run out of both and offer something entirely different as an alternative.
9. To the Garden District Hotel: When you have a button on your phone for wake-up calls, ANSWER the PHONE when I call the number. After 4 attempts and 50 rings, I was getting slightly irritated.
Rather than a complaint number 10, I would rather thank the lovely people who organized both talks and the smart/generous people who shared ideas with me. Vicki, Eric, Bill, and Carole: thank you.