Friday, February 8, 2019

"I Still Got It"

I have written about when it was I suddenly realized I was a writer.

I was about fifty.  I had been writing professionally for almost twenty-five years.

But I still wasn’t totally sure… I was a writer.

The proof came, not from a script, but via a random act of impromptu correspondence. 

At the encouragement of my then eleven year-old daughter, I sat down and composed a letter to Sea World, explaining to them that the inflatable “Shamu” I had purchased on our recent visit there had burst its seams immediately after we inflated it.  I wanted them to know, hoping for at least an apology, or, if lucky, a complimentary replacement “Shamu.”

When I finished that letter, as after all my literary exertions, I read the thing over.  Seeing it said everything it needed to say – no more and no less, hitting exactly the right blend of factual directness mixed with personal distress, I said to myself, confidently, and quite possibly out loud,

I must be a writer.”

And you know what?  Reinforcing, that evaluative perspective,

Sea World sent us a complimentary replacement “Shamu.”

Which immediately burst its seams after we inflated it.  But still.  That’s a “manufacturing” issue.  It had nothing to do with the letter.

Anyway… about realizing I was a writer…

It’s a gratifying feeling, knowing something you hoped you’d be good at you actually were…. good at.  Maybe not in that sentence, but over the “long haul.”

But… you know… time goes by, and you need a “reminder.”

Which I received twenty-three years later. 

Though it is never too late you be reminded you can write.  And even better, that you can still write.

I have mentioned that we were robbed in Hawaii.  Though the case remains under investigation, the notifying “updates” are dwindling.  Detective Thompson of the Honolulu Police Department has not replied to my last two e-mails.  Must be tied up with some (unreported) Hawaiian crime spree.

Anyway, beyond the sense of “violation”, the inconvenience and the overall yuckiness of the experience, I was additionally upset by the hotel’s disinterested reaction.

So, somewhat belatedly,

I wrote them a letter.

Which I shall now reproduce.

There are no literary flourishes.  No humorous leavening.  But, like, the “Shamu Letter” that made me realize I was a writer, it says, I think, just enough, and hits just the right tone.

Check it out.  I hope you’ll agree it says,

“Professional at Work.”

January 25, 2019.

Dear Mr. Glennon, (the Kahala Hotel and Resort’s “General Manager”)

Our family has been regular “Christmas Week” visitors to the Kahala for thirty-five years.  Our repeat visits reflect how much we enjoy staying at your hotel.  However, our last visit was an extremely disturbing one. 

On the morning of January 1, 2019, my wife and I discovered that our hotel room had been burglarized.  Bags had been removed from our room, containing personal items, a substantial amount of cash and all our credit cards and our I.D’s.  The “time-line” constructed by your Security Personnel indicates that the crime occurred either during a housekeeping entry into our room on December the 31st or while we were sleeping in the room that night.

We commend your Security Personnel for their swift and capable attention to the burglary, which included notifying the Honolulu police.  We remain in continuing contact with Detective Thompson at the Honolulu Police Department.  So far, however, there has been no progress concerning the case.

The reason I am writing is to inform you about the burglary, and also to express our surprise that, until I requested an appointment with someone described as “one of the managers of the hotel”, no one, other than the hotel’s Security Personnel, reached out to express their sympathy or concern for what happened.  As longtime visitors to the Kahala, and simply as a natural courtesy, we expected a more active and considerate response.

At this point, considering the hotel’s disinterested reaction, along with the loss of our property and the invasion of our privacy during a burglary which may have also included our personal safety, we feel unwilling to return to the Kahala in the future.

We just thought you should know.  Our previous visits to the Kahala have been happy ones.  But we are not happy anymore.


(Our signed names.)

I have no idea what will happen because of that letter.  Hopefully, It will be better than a substandard “Shamu.”

But even if it’s nothing (beyond the useless “Our sincerest apologies”),

I really like what I wrote.


FFS said...

Curious. Was your first draft more “ranty” and subsequent drafts toned down or was the measured tone there from the outset? Great letter - they have to offer you something but will it be enough. I’m betting no. They want this to be your fault.

Pidge said...

I admire your restraint. It may produce a more favourable reply than if you’d gone all angry. I find, as I get older, that people respond better if you try to give them a chance to solve the problem. I can’t believe that a hotel you’ve frequented so often and so regularly ignored you this way. They’ll be sorry because you write a very popular blog and your readers, like moi, will spread the word.

Dano said...

Inside job, get me five-oh, get em now! Aloha.