Thursday, April 26, 2012

An Open Letter to the Dayton Marriott

Dear Dayton Marriott Management,

Thank you for your recent communication of 4/23/12 (forwarded to me by your corporate legal department and hereinafter known as "the steaming pantload") regarding my recent stay at your hotel while attending the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop.

I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the various allegations therein, all most some of which are completely without merit and may adversely affect your hotel's score on the guest survey card which I have yet to complete and mail in.

First, it is outrageous and preposterous to assume that my suitcase was responsible for the malfunction and ultimate failure of elevator #3.  I believe the security tapes will show that the fault lies not with my sleek, utilitarian baggage but with the housekeeping staff member riding in the elevator with me and struggling under the weight of 3-4 thick, fluffy and obviously highly absorbent bath towels made from an exotic strain of imported cotton known to be both unstable and, well, really heavy. 

Second, it saddens me to know that the microwave cozy I crocheted for (keynote speaker and comedy legend) Alan Zweibel and stapled to his hotel room door left him feeling (as your so-called report puts it) "disturbed and anxious" rather than relaxed and heartwarmed as I intended.  As for my decision to staple it to his door at 3:14 am, I believe the logic behind that strategy is self-evident.  That being said, I really don't see how this matter is any of your bossy hotel security team's business, as Mr. Zweibel has thoughtfully begun a separate correspondence with me regarding this matter.  And when I see him in at our appointed court date, I will finally have the opportunity to tell him in person how much I admire his work.

With respect to the cake, I would like to remind you that I am an attendee/presenter in good standing at the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop with all rights and privileges thereof, including - but not limited to - assorted desserts, baked goods and non-dairy creamer.  I have reviewed my official workshop documents and have found no language that asserts a fixed limit on the number of desserts an individual attendee may commandeer, assuming those desserts have not yet been laid claim to by another attendee.  As those slices of carrot cake were unclaimed at the time I consumed them (fact:  not a single person had even entered the ballroom yet when I stumbled across the pieces of cake at tables 14-17), I herewith reject your catering bill of $276.55 and demand that you reverse the charge in the aforementioned amount that you ran on my Mastercard.

Lastly, in the matter of the white school bus, it was my understanding that the bus was no longer in service as a shuttle for workshop attendees at the time I drove that out-of-state drum and bugle corps to Arby's for a late afternoon snack.  (Those kids must really have been practicing hard, because I have never seen young people with munchies like this in my life.)  I believe a review of the facts will clarify that it was completely beyond my control that the bus ran out of fuel on the way back to the hotel and had to be abandoned on the shoulder of the I-75.  And also, if you don't want anyone borrowing your vehicles, you probably shouldn't leave the keys in the lockbox under the registration desk where people can easily find them.

In summation, I have no doubt that we will be able to reach an equitable settlement in the matters above, especially in light of the fact that I have now returned the 769 facial soaps, 412 miniature bottles of body lotion, harvest gold woven blanket and pneumatic desk chair that I mistakenly interpreted to be gratis souvenirs of my stay at your hotel.

Note:  please address all future correspondence directly to me, as I have terminated my dealings with my previous counsel (who, it turns out, characterizes an evening of foofy-drink-fueled line dancing followed by a late-night half-stack at the Waffle House out by the airport as a "bizarro, one-off odyssey" rather than the sublime prelude to long-term romance we both knew damn well it was up until that unfortunate incident Saturday morning).

Thank you and good luck,

Anna Lefler


WOW.

So here's the thing:  the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop was amazing.  (I hesitate to apply this word because it is so overused these days, but this instance calls for it.)  Other words come to mind, such as inspirational, humbling, hilarious, educational, magical and poignant.  I could go on and on, but I will simply say that, for me, unforgettable is the word that best captures every aspect of my four days and three icing-flecked nights among my fellow humorists and heroes in Dayton.

To the organizers of the workshop who paid me the tremendous honor of inviting me to teach two of the sessions, to the folks who spent their time listening in the audience, to the people who went out of their way to ask questions, share experiences and pay compliments, to the warm and gracious Bombeck family who welcomed me into their company at dinner, and to every attendee and speaker, I would like to say THANK YOU.  From my heart.

You can find out more about the workshop at their website.  And you can see lots of photos from the weekend on the EBWW Facebook page.  

The next workshop will be held in 2014.

See you there.

 Dinner with Erma's husband Bill and daughter Betsy.
 

35 comments:

Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

I was wondering where my carrot cake went...

Missy@Wonder, Friend said...

Re: your controversial bus driving adventure... I used to think band was just a nice, nerdy place for high school kids. But after the contact high I got one night at the Dayton Grand - where hundreds of drum-playing young people dressed as lions were staying - I suspect that their lion-themed costumes were, in fact, as drug-fueled an idea as they appeared.

The conference was incredible, as was your session. I'm so glad that I'm addled and time zips by for me, because that means 2014 will be here before we know it.

Susanna Hickman Bartee said...

Yeah, that was good cake.

Loved your session. The whole mission statement thing was a powerful moment in my writer life. How could I have overlooked such an important tool after all these years as a military wife? Mission statement. Duh.

Darlene http://adventuresofamiddleagemom.com said...

The chocolate cake was sublime..4th Frog (aka Amy Magan) scored two arm's lengths of chocolate cake slices for our table; I figure she was a waitress in another life. Er...they weren't being claimed at the tables she, uh, borrowed them from. We offered a public service: waste management, you know.
So enjoyed the conference and particularly you sessions Anna! Thanks once again!
Darlene

Tracy said...

I cannot wait to attend in 2014. These recap posts are killing me with hilarity!

Lisa Golden said...

This is hilarious. I'm glad the conference was a smashing success!

Cheryl said...

Love the gratuitous photo of you with Saint Erma's husband and daughter. Damn, you just keep getting funnier.

Enough about you.

Did Nora actually keep her word to say 'hi' to you from me? Say yes, even if it's a lie.

abbyhasissues.com said...

I can only assume they paid you in 769 facial soaps, 412 miniature bottles of body lotion, a harvest gold woven blanket and a pneumatic desk chair.

If not, you were totally screwed over. Have your people call my people (that would be me) next time to negotiate your speaking fee. Just be sure to add in that I get to go along. For free. As your assistant.

Rufus Dogg said...

Well, now I'm kicking myself for not signing up. And the Dayton Marriott is only 20 minutes down the road from me! I used to think no hotel guest could get any more obnoxious than soccer teams, but who knew such behavior lurked right beneath the surface of a writer?

Can't wait to show my Marriott buddies your blog post. Pretty sure they'll find it as funny as I have. (PS the BEST carrot cake in the entire city of Dayton is at the DoubleTree downtown on Ludlow. 2014.. bark out at me; I'll sneak you in a slice :-) )

BECKY said...

Anna, I so wished I could be there this year. Did I tell you the Global First Place Humor award was won by my friend, Donna Volkenannt?
Did you happen to meet each other?That is so cool you taught a couple of classes! I haven't had a chance to talk to her since she's been home. I swear I am attending the next one, in 2014!!

Anna See said...

sounds like a great adventure!

B Lou said...

Somewhere around mile 500 of the the 650 mile drive home from Dayton I began imagining a cruise vacation utilizing the EBWW presenters in various roles. I decided I would want to have Dave Fox assist with the planning, Ilene Beckerman take me pre-trip shopping, Nancy Berk sit beside me on the plane, Nettie Reynolds share a cabin, Alan Zweibel recount the story of the trip and you Anna, manning the lifeboats. You are grace under pressure. Your presentation was so well prepared and perfectly presented. For me it was the highlight of the weekend. Then again, I didn't try the carrot cake!

The Empress said...

That bag, so crazy heavy. I tried to lift it, no way, and the AMAZING (unlike Anna, I don't hate to use the word) Anna SuperWoman Lefler lifted and carried the bag like "Pfffft, just carrying rocks around."

EBWW was great, fun, inspirational, and made me thing about so many things.

Wonderful speakers, workshops, meals.

So worth losing the tip of my finger when I pulled my carrot cake back from The Lefler.

Also: if anyone ever sees Anna, ask her for a "calling card." They're beautiful.

Nora Blithe said...

That carrot cake was worth stealing. Yum! The conference was amazing! Can't wait to see you again in 2014!

Julie said...

I never could resist a harvest gold woven blanket, myself.

(They'd better nail them down in 2014. Although that might make it tough to sleep...)

Tarja said...

Anna, I heard your sessions were FANTASTIC (that's one up from AMAZING).

And now I'm in even more of a funk for having missed such an event.

Maggie S. said...

That photo. What a treasure. Thanks for sharing.

When Pigs Fly said...

I too was pondering whether I should liberate several pieces of carrot cake from some of the tables for later consumption. Then, thought better of it as my pants were already on the snug side.
So much fun. I really think they need to hold this every year.
Oh, and if I ever get out to L.A., we have got to get a drink and talk microwave cozies.

meleah rebeccah said...

After reading everyone's posts about the workshop I am DEFINITELY signing up for 2014.

PS: This is the best letter to a hotel, maybe ever!

Pearl said...

Aw, dammit, I knew I should've gone again this year!

Pearl

The Caustic Bunny said...

The old "stretch a thong over the TV to distract the housekeeper while you tip their cart, emptying the 714 soaps into an empty PBS tote back trick".

I thought you'd be more original...

Ann Imig said...

Anna, I'm sorry they made you leave the desk chair at security.

You should feel incredibly proud. You staged a humor coup. A COUP I tell you.

Amy said...

Clearly Mr. Zweibel has no sense of humor as demonstrated by his keynote speech we politely guffawed at Thursday night.

The University of Dayton sure can put on a good party.

Amy

Marinka said...

There was cake?!

MAFW said...

I thought it was just me that commandeered the extra slices of carrot cake...

The Bearded Iris said...

I know we're supposed to network and stuff, but you see?...reading something *this* creative and hilarious makes me want to unplug my computer and get my accounting certification. Holy cheese, you are one clever and funny writer! LOVED THIS.

PS - That carrot cake rocked my world.

Erin said...

I've read this like a 100 times now. I just keep coming back. I'm so glad there were second helpings of your session. And of cake.

HermanTurnip said...

I've read other blogs whose authors attended the same workshop. I feel like I missed out on a good thing. Argh. But, I guess, there's always next time! Glad to have you back!

Harley May said...

The Marriot security is clearly in need of a padded room.

I'm thrilled you had such a great experience and know you were THE speaker to hear, Anna.

I hope to meet you in 2014.

HM

Heidi said...

You are just so funny and lovely all at the same time.
I've been to 1 conference I can call amazing and mean it. Don't you love when it all comes together like that? I'm glad it all went so well!

Grand Pooba said...

Wow, all this talk about cake has got me drooling!

Procrastinator at Work said...

Now THAT'S good writin'.

julesfredrick said...

LMFAO! You mean the harvest gold blanket wasn't a freebie?? oops!
Love this post and looking forward to 2014!

Suniverse said...

I KNEW I should have stuck by your side. You know how to bring it.

http://dianereiter.com said...

I'm so glad that someone else has noticed the overuse of the word "amazing," just as I have. I complained about this sucky word aobut 6 years ago in a writing class because as you said it's overused and also because, seriously...there are about 3 things in life that are actually worthy of the word. Obviously, the conference was one of them.

Now for all of you that have never keyed in on this, count how many time during a news broadcast "amazing" is said. And don't forget to count commercials, too (there will be a least a half doesn't for every 30 second commercial).