Your Lying Eyes

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08 March 2007

How I Spent My Winter Vacation

As I mentioned below, I was in Steamboat Springs, CO last week for some skiing with my wife, my brother and sister-in-law, and nephew and his wife. I won't bore you with the skiing details, especially since I'm not a particularly good skier, so I have little to say on that anyway.

But what was interesting was what was going on around us. We just happened to book the very same week (or maybe it wasn't such a coincidence - we were looking for a good deal) as the 2007 Ski Summit sponsored by the National Brotherhood of Skiers! It was a tad surreal, but being that these are skiers we're talking about, it was nothing like it must have been to accidentally book a weekend getaway to Las Vegas during NBA All-Star weekend. It was a bit disconcerting strolling thru the litte ski-town area and hearing loud thumping hip-hop out of the saloons instead of country and gold-chains around mens' necks in place of string ties, but no big deal.

One thing that stood out is the difference in black and whites personality types. On the gondola or shuttle rides, conversations among whites are typically stilted, formal/reserved, or annoying. When it's young white men, there's no conversation at all beyond a few minimal communications in hushed tones and grunts ("Head'n to Storm Peak? Ummm") Which is fine with me - I find conversing to be an enormous effort. When you're with blacks, there's a steady stream of kidding, joking, and laughter throughout. There's no measuring of each word, no calculated small talk, but alot of fluid, disarming chat.

Another observation is that the women tended to be more refined - or perhaps I mean to say 'whitish' - than the men. They tended to have more prep-school accents and speak more deliberately, while the men, as gentlemenly and bourgeoise as they were, had much more down-home deliveries and more traditional African-American patois. And the blacks had much niftier ski-outfits than the whites (particularly this white). That could be explained by the group dynamics, as people in groups are likely intent on impressing each other, but I also got the feeling that looking good is part of the whole experience.

One well-known negative stereotype - that blacks are poor tippers - was confirmed. Our table of six sat next to a table of 4 'Brotherhood' couples. They had a great time from all appearances, were joking with the waitress, and one of the couples we recognized from the lift and we exchanged pleasantries. We left a $60 tip on our $300 pre-tax bill (there was some debate on whether the 20% should be applied to the whole bill or just the non-tax part). The other table left first, and as we were leaving, the waitress came up to thank us, and then mentioned that the other table "stiffed me." They left $3.00, which would amount to 1% at most. My wife vowed that if we ran into the same couple again the next day (our last day) on the slopes, she would confront them about it. I prayed to God that such an encounter would not transpire, at least in my presence, and my prayers were fulfilled.

It was a fun time, and while I would recommend researching the whereabouts of the NBA All Star Game before planning a winter-weekend getaway, no such precautions are really necessary before booking a week of skiing.

12 Comments:

Anonymous tom_m said...

Hey Ziel, maybe for your summer vacation, you can go to some resort with an Olympic-size pool at the very time the National Brotherhood of Swimmers are having a get-together and be able to confirm once and for all if black men really do lack buonancy.

March 09, 2007 7:38 AM  
Blogger ziel said...

I doubt there's much you could observe among adults regarding buoyancy. But when I was a kid I was absolute skin and bones and used to sink like a rock when I hit the water. I blame that on why I never learned to swim very well - it was just too hard. Assuming the average black kid has less body fat than the average white kid then I can understand why swimming isn't a very popular pasttime among A-A's.

March 09, 2007 8:55 AM  
Anonymous jth said...

It was just too hard? You are pathetic. Nice touch about not being around for black on wife confrontation.

March 09, 2007 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can say that AA's are poor tippers. Or maybe not tippers at all. When I waited tables in college or worked at a bar, I always hated getting black clients. I knew the tip would be minimal, if there was any at all. AA's like to look like big spenders (think about the whole "make it rain" hip-hop fad going on right now) but for some reason tipping doesn't factor into it. When you made this comment, "...intent on impressing each other, but I also got the feeling that looking good is part of the whole experience."
Skiing is definately about that. Why do you think SKI Magazine is still being printed? It is the same issue each time, check it for yourself. But it also seems that at least to me, AA's are often centered around impressing other people. I used to work in a ski shop in college too. One day a young black guy walked in and asked about goggles. I am pretty honest and told him that they all pretty much do the same thing, keep wind out of your eyes, so why not get the $20 dollar pair. He said no, he didn't need the for skiing, but to complete his "look." Apparently around that time wearing ski goggles especially on your motorcycle was the thing to do in hip-hop. As for the NBA All Star Weekend, I was out in La Vegas for work at the time. Only something like a few hundred arrest and a few shootings. It wasn't white babes with prep school accents.

March 09, 2007 2:30 PM  
Anonymous jimbo said...

Ziel, thanks for the vacay summary. I found the tipping story interesting. Knowing your wife as I do, I wish she had confronted the "other table" people. That said, as a former bartender and waiter, I would have to say yours was not a unique situation. It´s a phenom I don´t understand. "Foreigners" were always a problem this way, but because tipping is not the norm outside the US. Usually, the prices are higher, and the server is duly compensated, maybe one of the reasons for such bad to rude (in the case of France) service. In case of (I hate to say it on the record) blacks, I just don´t know...

March 10, 2007 5:47 AM  
Blogger ziel said...

The "confrontation" is a somewhat risky strategy. The payoff - finding out what's with the tipping - would have been great, but I'm not sure how likely getting a good explanation would be. The chance of things turning ugly (verbally, physical repurcussions were rather unlikely) was great enough in my mind to hope that it would not occur.

March 10, 2007 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ziel,

I dont think your wife has a great deal of experience with minorities. That "confrontation" would have probably gotten VERY ugly indeed.

I quit increasing tipping after it became "courteous" to tip 15%, and will only give 10% if the service is REALLY bad (read, they never refilled my drink even once despite the fact I ordered hot wings, etc.). People make much less money in sweatshops even here in America than your local hottie can make working at a fancy resturaunt. This is unfair in my opinion. Maybe if we started replacing our waitstaff with Mexicans, art-school hotties would bitch about illegal immigration too. That would be quite funny to me personally to see the jobs lefties usually do in college (record stores, movie theatres, local playhouses, phone banks) all go to illegals. I'd love to see how the lefties would respond when their precious offspring complained about "making minimum wage" and "being broke all the time". It would be priceless.



Dining tip: Always get a glass of water WITH your desired beverage as insurance against a lousy waiter. I dont bother waitstaff. I order from the menu, never attempt to "replace this item with that item" or bicker for some special deal (it blows my mind when I see people do this), all I ask for (since I like relatively spicey food) is not to go thirsty while Im eating. Ive found the best insurance against this (innattentiveness) is to go ahead and get a water with the coke. I get damed pissed off if I get thisty while eating a twenty dollar meal and am wanting something to drink for half of it.

March 10, 2007 12:25 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

I'd love to see how the lefties would respond when their precious offspring complained about "making minimum wage" and "being broke all the time"

Well I think we know how they'd react - similar to how they react to outsourcing - they'd be against it.

March 10, 2007 2:45 PM  
Anonymous tom_m said...

As far as the personality differences between the black folks and white guys, that could be do to black people being "sunshine people" while whites are "ice people".

Steve Sailer wrote an article about that awhile back, in which he posited that whites tend to be more dour (at least when its cold) and introverted, while blacks are more cheerful and outgoing, due to the fact that whites have spent most of their genetic history in cold and bleaker environments, while blacks have spent most of their time on Earth in sunny, tropical climates.

The icey conditions of a Rocky Mountain ski lodge might tend to manifest those kinds of personality distinctions.

I happened across a discussion going on at the Bismark, North Dakota forum while checking out the city-data.com site recently. There were alot of people complaining that North Dakota isn't diverse enough. Considering that the state is maybe 1% black, I guess what they meant was that they could use more African-Americans. Since they freeze their asses off for at least 5 months out of the year around there, maybe they were hoping that if they had more Sunshine People, it might help the place to thaw out.

March 10, 2007 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Harlem said...

Ziel:
Just so happens that I just came back from a short trip to Vegas. We were there the weekend after the NBA Allstar game. Universally, the service folks (cab drivers in particular) were extremely critical of the overall behavior of the attendees on NBA Allstar weekend. Obviously, the vast majority were African American players and fans. They said the tipping was pathetic to non-existent. We had one cab driver tell us that he was taking an NBA "star" from a restaurant to a hotel and the fare was $8.55. The "star", who he says was on the phone arguing over a few thousand dollars for an "appearance" the next day, gave him a $10 and the cabby gave him $1 back. The "star" said "where's the rest?" and since the cabbie only had quarters, he gave the "star" another 50c, losing 5c on the deal.
We heard "bad tipping/bad behavior" stories (with no soliciting) from numerous cabbies, waiters/waitresses, etc. They were consistent in saying that the NBA Allstar crowd was awful in terms of tipping as well as general behavior (cursing in front of kids, pushing in front of lines, spitting inside restaurants/hotels, etc).
Interestingly, all these folks (every one!) was adamant about saying that they didn't want to say anything bad about African Americans (I think they said blacks) in general but had to say that this was just there own terrible experience that they hope they never have to go through again. Two cabbies and three waitresses said they would definitely take vacation if the NBA Allstar game every came back to Vegas.
By the way, the Circ De Soilel "Love" Beatles show is great.
By the way, way: I'd have loved to see the confrontation between your beautiful spouse (who I love) and those low tipping morons. Anyone who thinks your wife wouldn't have won (though you might have lost), doesn't know your spouse.
Harlem

March 10, 2007 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Harlem said...

By the way, "anonymous" is correct, according to cabbies & waiter/waitresses we spoke to: There were several early closings of bars & restauarants during NBA weekend due to fights, shootings & intimidation ("What you mean, there's no more pecan pie!).
Sounds like it was not a fun weekend in Vegas for the unsuspectinging Mr. & Mrs. Joe Shmoe from Kansas who just picked the wrong weekend.
On the other hand, I imagine the casinos did great with very little card counting going on.
Harlem

March 10, 2007 6:29 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Harlem, thanks for that input - that does confirm the news accounts that came in. I'm guessing the service-industry workers in Steamboat this week would echo the LV tipping complaints, but probably not the behavior complaints. As far as the "confrontation", the consensus seems to be that it would have gone alright as long as I was not there.

March 10, 2007 6:40 PM  

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