Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Notes from the land of golf and money

It turns out that at The Greenbrier resort there ARE a few things that are free:

*the air (which has a fresh pine scent from the lovely mountain climate)

*the pools (both an indoor lap pool of mineral water, which is apparently how this area got to be known as the destination of rich and famous vacationers and the outdoor pool, which is gorgeous in a way that only an outdoor pool at a resort can be gorgeous and meant to look at rather than swim in)

*hiking (this does not include a guide--for that you can pay someone around $45 to lead you on a customized hike of the area)
and most importantly for my purposes

*wifi (which isn't listed under the "Activities" heading of the resort, but as I opened up my laptop last night, I found out that, indeed, Greebrier springs for free wifi--so they are one up on The Hyatt corporation, which makes you pay $10/day)

For those of you just tuning in, I'm here for a few days in a retreat situation, and I have some spare time before lunch to share a few thoughts of what it's like to be among the leisure class (of which I'm sure academics are actually a part of, at least in terms of time if not money).

*Upon our arrival, we were given the option to have a bellman (I guess they figure that's a more dignified title than "bellhop" meet us at our "cottage" (a 4-bedroom house) to help with our luggage. These particular employees were all African American men -- the people at the registration desk were all white.

*When we walked into our cottage we discovered that every light had been turned on in every room and every tv set (there is one per bedroom and one in the living room) was turned on. I suppose this is a way of making guests feel *welcome*; I thought it was a colossal waste of energy and proceeded to turn everything off.

*Because I am a rabid golf fan and it was the tie-breaker 18-hole playoff at Torrey Pines to determine the winner of the 2008 US Open (more on that below), we ate lunch at "Sammy Sneads" at the Golf Club. For $17 I got a cheeseburger and the pleasure of watching Tiger and Rocco square off on two huge HDTVs. I also had the discomfort of being (a) the only non-white person in the restaurant, which I expected, but still, it's never fun and my feelings of racial paranoia are doubly exacerbated when I also feel the class discrepancy (b) hearing some yahoo behind me say to his companion loudly enough for those of us in the area (and there were around 50-75 folks in this restaurant) "Wow, I can't believe you just said that about Tiger, that's borderline racist!" I turned around in my chair to see which table full of white men in their 30s and 40s had made this comment, but it was impossible to figure out.

*There are plush terry cloth robes in each room with a little note telling us that while we are free to enjoy our robes in the comfort of our cottage, we should refrain from wearing them while in the hotel, spa, or club areas. I guess they don't want a bunch of us prancing around in our skivvies with just our robes--although I'm sorely tempted to walk into the main lobby with just the robe on. What are they going to do, tell me to take it off?!! OK!

*It's beautiful here. I mean, it is. I feel out of place, but I also am writing this from the wide porch of a serene environment and there is only the sound of birds chirping and wind rustling through trees. The grass is green. The sun is bright. All is right in the world...if you have the money to afford such opulence and the ability to turn a blind eye to the deprivation that most of the world endures (and lets face it, almost ALL of us are guilty of this to some degree)

Finally, because I already mentioned that I am a rabid golf fan, let me just end with an early Happy Birthday greeting to Sam Alexis Woods, who will be turning 1 tomorrow.

[This photo was taken in mid-December 2007--she's being held by her grandmother, Tida]

Some of you may have heard of Sam's dad, Tiger and that he's just won his 14th major golf tournament when he barely bested Rocco Mediate in a sudden-death hole-off after 18 holes of a playoff after 4 days of U.S. Open tournament play at Torrey Pines.

If you aren't a golf fan--tune out now. If you are, then let me say IT WAS GREAT GOLF. I WAS SCREAMING AT THE TV SET AND CLAPPING AND SCREAMING SO HARD THAT I SCARED MY DOG.

Anyway, here's to you Tiger. You played in pain. You played your heart out. And here's to you Rocco--I was rooting for you too--it would have been great for you to be the oldest golfer to win the U.S. Open. And here's to Tiger's happy mixed-race family in front of a statue of Tiger with his deceased father, Earl.


The Constructivist said...

Hear he's out for the season? ACL and stress fractures in that same knee....

Jennifer said...

Yeah, I just learned that and I'm sorry for the PGA and for Tiger, but I'm glad he's taking this seriously and really doing serious rehab for it. He has his career to think about.