What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

A Matter of Terms January 19, 2015

Filed under: Tales of Humanity's Imperfections — meganorussell @ 8:30 pm
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When I was working at the Astors Beechwood Mansion doing living history tours, we had a lively, retired naval officer who sold tickets at the door. He was a lovely man. He shared his coffee. Brought donuts. And might have been a little bit racist.

We had a lot of Asian tourists in Newport, frequently taking lots of pictures, and quite frankly, when I went to Europe I took a lot of pictures, too. It was free to get onto the grounds, and we would get lots of guests roaming the grounds before they came in to go on their tour.

A few times a day, people would come to the ticket desk, find out how much it cost to get in, and leave.

It was fine. Whatever. I understand that it was an expensive thing to do. But our door friend was also crazy about having perfectly clean windows. He would go to the outside of the ballroom with his windex several times a day and clean away all the hand and nose prints from the windows.

One day, I was sitting in the vestibule with door man, and a group of Asians came in to ask about tickets. They asked, he gave them the price, they smiled, nodded, and walked away.

As the door shut behind them, door man said, “Those damn Orientals. They never pay.”

“You can’t say that!” I gasped.

“It’s true.” Door man shook his head. “They never pay.”


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