Lulu told me, IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS, to get a balcony.
She, the Boss, and I had procured a Groupon for a two-night stay at a ski resort about two hours from here. In the summer it turns into a hiking-fishing-golf resort. The Groupon covered the shoulder season, when it’s too late to ski, but it’s too early to fish. But we didn’t care because our criteria for a getaway were: 1. Get. 2. Away.
However! Our supercheap Groupon only got us a ground floor one-bedroom suite. When I called, I dutifully asked, “Is there any chance we could get a terrace or a balcony or anything?”
“Sorry!” the Very Nice Phone Man said. “We can’t upgrade the Groupons.”
I had a little moment here, a little pause in my soul. I knew I had to channel my inner cheapskate/complainer because otherwise I would have Lulu to answer to. The problem is, I cannot tell a lie. The reality was, it wasn’t actually a lie—it was complicated. But complicated = hard to explain. And did I mention that I cannot tell a lie?
The Boss had not actually started her chemo yet. She was going to be in the thick of it when we arrived at the resort, and we didn’t know how it was going to go. I started to imagine The Worst Case Scenario. (Because I’m very good at imagining The Worst Case Scenario. It’s one of my inborn talents.) Then I started talking.
“Yeah, see, so this is a girls’ getaway weekend, and one of the girls is undergoing chemotherapy, and she gets really sick, (and by “gets” I mean “might get”) so we were thinking it would be great if there was a way to bring the outdoors to her without her having to like, walk down several flights of stairs.”
Very Nice Phone Man then said, “I got you covered!”
VNPM: We are all about making accommodations for people here. Let me see what I can do. [Pause for typing noises.] OK, I’ve got a great room for you with a balcony.
VNPM: Wait, wait! I can do better than that! [Pause for typing noises.] OK, you have a room with the best view in the place.
Me: Thank you so much!
VNPM: I have to write something on the reservation. What should I write? I’m thinking I should just write, “chemotherapy?”
Me: I think that sounds totally reasonable.
Fast forward six weeks. The Boss and I are a few miles from the resort. Lulu is meeting us later. The “problem” is that although chemo has been excruciating, the Boss has handled it with her usual aplomb/courage/kick-assedness. She doesn’t look sick enough to justify the special treatment.
“OK,” I say, “here’s the thing. In order to get us a balcony, I had to, like, explain a few things to them.”
“You played the cancer card?”
“I played the cancer card.”
Happily, the Boss is totally in favour of playing the cancer card. And, really, why the hell not? Can I just say for the record that if you’ve never had cancer or watched someone close to you have it, CANCER SUCKS ASS WAY MORE THAN IT DOES ON TV?
“So,” I said, “the thing is, you need to look sort of…sick. Like, enough to justify the balcony. I might have told them that you can’t walk up and down stairs. I might have made a little speech about bringing nature to you.”
The Boss was all over it. She grabbed my arm and I “helped” her walk up the desk. We approached slowly, We tried not to laugh. We started to check in, and OMG, then she started freestyling.
I had pulled out my “It’s girls’ weekend!” card and was attempting to make small talk with the Desk Clerk Who Was Not the Very Nice Phone Man. (I had, irrationally, hoped that Very Nice Phone Man would be working at the desk. But it’s a ginormous resort with a bunch of different properties, and, probably, a call centre in Chennai.)
Somehow the talk jokingly turned toward how we’re going to be painting the town red. [Editor’s note: we stayed up till 10 pm the first night and 11 pm the second. Eleven was a stretch.] The Boss comes out with, sotto voce, “Well, you girls will have so much fun! I wish I could come with you!”
“Yes,” I said, picking up her cue, “But we’ll come back and trash the room like an 80s hair metal band, and you can participate in that.”
My friends, we got to our room, and not only did it include a balcony, but it was a two-bedroom suite on the top floor. They had surprise-upgraded us. And it really did have the best view in the place. Thank you, Very Nice Phone Man. No, seriously: thank you. We had more fun than you can probably conceive of. I would post the karaoke videos, but…not so much.
This is the part where it starts to sound like this post is sponsored by Blue Mountain Resort (I wish!). But honestly, from the first call to book the Groupon (Hi, Mr. Very Nice Phone Man!) to everyone we encountered there, they could not have been nicer or more helpful. The whole experience caused me to Google their corporate shit. I don’t know, these Intrawest people have some serous customer service good karma going on. (But then again, they’re getting their payback because we’ve already vowed to make it an annual thing. And a girl only has so many cancer cards to play.)
The moral of the story: I played the cancer card. I guess. But there really was cancer, and three girls spent two days having the time of our lives. So: Blue Mountain? THANKS. Breast Cancer? FUCK OFF.