Sunday, November 20, 2022 – The Monocle Minute

The fastest lane / Tyler Brule

short order

On a recent Saturday morning, I awoke to the sound of waves gently lapping against the beach and the sun breaking through the Atlantic clouds. Since I had a few hours to spare before my first engagement, I considered my options. Shall I go for a little run in Miami Beach? Am I writing this column? Or should I park on the balcony, feel the rays of the sun and put that dragging novel out of its misery. Whatever the activity, I need a coffee and orange juice to start, so I dial ‘guest services’ only to be told at 06:55 that I need to call back in five minutes as room service is not open your lines until then.

I wander over to the minibar setup for a moment, considering the coffee machine and various sachets, thinking it might be worth turning on the little unit, but questions overwhelm me. While I don’t want to be a slave to Nespresso, just as I hate being held hostage by Google or Microsoft, why do so many hotels opt for in-room coffee brewing systems that are complicated when you have a clear head and feel comfortable? like a puzzle made up for a geeky engineering club at MIT when you just got out of bed? This particular unit sounds somewhat Italian and as I peruse the various mixes on offer, assessing the knobs, dials and “pour here” arrows, I realize it is now 07.01 and call to place my order. Given my line of business, I’m all for accuracy, but why do I need to repeat a two-item order back to me in detail?

“May I repeat your order?” she asks.

Do I have a choice? I’m thinking. “Yeah, sure,” I reply.

“So that’s a fresh orange juice and a cappuccino. We will solve it in 40 minutes. You have a good day.”

Before you can ask why it’s going to take 40 minutes for an orange juice and a frothy latte, I realize that the poor souls running the breakfast operations have probably been sold the professional version of the coffee system looking at me. from the far corner of the room. . I go out to the balcony and open my book.

It’s been 45 minutes since I made the call and the book hasn’t improved; in fact, I’ve barely made a dent in it and the luxurious window of time in which I can’t do anything is slipping away. I call room service again and ask how they’re doing.

“Can you repeat your order?” asks the woman.

In fact!? “It was an orange juice and cappuccino,” I tell him. “If it’s not on its way, we can cancel the order.”

It’s on its way to you now. You should hear a knock on the door at any moment. Please call us if you want to clean the tray.”

A minute later the doorbell rings and I walk into the hall. I hiss open the door and step aside, holding it open. With my right arm, I do what I believe to be the world-recognized “welcome and come in” signal: a smile with a sideways nod, then a smooth movement of the arm with a slow palm opening, followed by a smooth extension of the palm. hand and sweep of fingers that sit pointing in the direction you want your drinks to sit. I’m about to open the door and gather for my now much-needed coffee when the waiter asks, “Do I have your permission to enter the room?”

“Uhhhh, yes,” I reply. “Unless you want me to remove the items from the tray?”

“No, it’s okay,” he says. “I just need your permission to enter the room.”

I’m about to ask why you need permission when I’ve clearly ordered something called “room service” but I can’t be bothered and you’re just taking a script that’s been concocted by some leery litigation GM or F.&Manager B suffering from a severe case of coronavirus caution hangover. When I go to sign my order, the total at the bottom of the receipt catches my attention. I would like you to guess, dear reader, how much I paid for a cappuccino and an orange juice, consumed in a part of the world where, I believe, those fruits literally grow on trees, although I would never know. . The first three correct answers will receive a small pre-Christmas gift. leave me a note on [email protected]. The answers and the winners will be announced next Sunday. I wish you a good week.

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