Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Even The Windows Can Sing

Snow, freezing rain, sleet, highs zero

God respects me when I work, but He loves me when I sing. - Rabindranath Tagore

I came across this quote this morning and thought about my all-too-brief time in Detroit and Ann Arbor on tour last week with The Cruelest Month. I’d flown in the night before and checked into a hotel room that seemed mammoth compared to the one in New York City. Not a surprise there, but what was a surprise was discovering that my hotel room in NYC didn’t seem to have a window.

Now, I’m the type who asks for better tables, or a better room. My husband stands by the potted palm whenever I do this, but it often works. I’m always respectful, and never demand or expect a change, but I might as well ask. So, when faced with this well of a room in NYC I called down and very nicely asked if it would be possible to move to a room with a window. There was a pause. Then the young woman politely explained that all of their rooms have windows. There was another pause.

‘Perhaps you should look for it,’ she suggested.

Now, as I’ve already said, it’s not like this was a basketball court. I could see the entire room from where I stood. I thanked her, hung up and turned vewy, vewy slowly. Bed, dresser, closet, bathroom. I went in there. No window. My astonishing powers of observation allowed me to conclude the window was either under the bed or in the closet.

I looked.


Then I peeked behind the headboard of the bed. Voila. Success. There was a tiny window. Opening it I knew for sure I was in New York City. Nowhere else on earth would a hotel room have such a view. It was the dirty wall of the building two feet away.

But then I moved on to Detroit, and a room with an obvious window – looking over the airport parking. Bliss.

That morning I did a couple of radio interviews then was driven to the Rotary Club to give a speech. I love Rotary Clubs. They do great work, are decent and thoughtful people, and very welcoming.

And they love to sing. They opened with the National Anthem. We all stood. 100 men and women faced the American flag, and I faced the man beside me. Again, after a minute or so, my astonishing powers of observation kicked in, and I vewy, vewy slowly turned to face the flag, just as the anthem ended.
Then it was announced that it was the national day of Mauritius. The paper in front of me had printed the Mauritius national anthem. But since it was also literacy day, it had the alphabet song too. Showing great wisdom the chairman decided we should sing the alphabet song.

Now, this might sound odd, grown men and women singing, ‘A, b, c, deee, eee...’ etc. But it was a gas. A lot of fun. We sang it as though it was a power ballad. Really joyous. Can’t remember the last time I had such fun singing.
After I’d given my speech they very kindly decided to sing the Canadian national anthem. They all faced the Canadian flag, and I faced the woman on my other side. Then vewy, vewy....

Later that day I had dinner with Robin Agnew, who runs with her husband Jamie one of the best mystery bookstores in the US – Aunt Agatha’s in Ann Arbor. Then I did a talk and reading that evening at the Ann Arbor library. All in support of my latest book, The Cruelest Month.

And now I’m jumping in the car and driving from my home in Quebec down to the South Burlington Library in Vermont to talk to them about The Cruelest Month, and mystery writing. It’s today at noon and if you’re in the area put on your winter boots, hats, mittens, chains on the tires and come on out. It’ll be fun.

Let’s hope I face the car in the right direction, at least. Wonder how long it would take my amazing powers of observation to realise I’m in Bangor, Maine?

Wish me luck, and I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Be well.


Hilary said...

Vewy vewy funny.

Made my day.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi Hilary,