Monday, May 06, 2013

Being there

The "difficult to find in an airport shuttle" hotel* had moved its entrance to the side because someone of authority had decided that they could make better use of the lounge (read: serve more people $15 cocktails) if they got the reception desk and the staircase out of the middle of the room. This must have been a fairly recent decision because they were still furnishing it when I arrived. I mean literally. Not "it was not yet entirely furnished", but rather, many employees scurrying around building small tables from kits, and scowling over the handfuls of leftover screws; workmen hanging mirrors over flaws in the sheet rock and the like.

When I first walked into the lounge, it looked as though they were planning on staging a production of The Chairs** in there. So many chairs. Large chairs. Everywhere. The major precepts of the new business model seem to be expensive drinks + armchairs. Somehow though, when I returned after dinner, they'd arranged things normally. There were still many large armchairs, of course, but it no longer looked like a room in which a maniacal chair enthusiast had been given free rein. It was Jazz Thursday and there was a three-person combo playing when we came back around 9:30, as my server, Celeste, who'd provided me with complimentary tea and chatted with me for a longish while during the table-building madness, had urged me to do, so as not to miss it. And then, when I did, not three hours later, she didn't remember me at all, which was bizarre to an almost "Twilight Zone" degree.

The reception area is now stuffed onto a little landing and the hotel "office" is now a desk directly adjacent to but lower than the reception desk. I won't lie. It's kind of silly looking. Fortunately, despite being there on a cut-rate coupon, I was not obliged to spend the night in reception, so it made no difference. Apparently, they had run out of the type of room I was meant to have, so I was upgraded to a king-size room, which was rather thrilling for me. The room was larger than my own living room, though it also had a couch and a table in it. There was a very large flat-screen TV that I was unable to turn on, but I didn't care because there were also several books on the bureau, one of which was Noel Coward's collected diaries. Noel Coward! He just keeps cropping up. Really, had I only had that one night in that huge bed with no baby overhead, reading things like, "Dropped in to see Winston. Found Mrs. Churchill alone. We played croquet." That would have been quite sufficient to count as a vacation.

And yet I got more. Lucky duck. I think I gained several pounds, which is tiresome now, but seemed irrelevant at the time. Marja and I ate many delicious things (including among many things, dinner at Street [outside seating, with blankets provided] and Industriel [more armchairs!]), We also had flaxseeds, which I found uninspiring and which adhered to the inside surfaces of my mouth in a remarkably determined way, but which Marja assures me are the key to health. That is a sentence with far too many whiches, but let's just ignore them. I am a staff of one. There are no copy editors around here.

There was also:
  • miniature golf (!)
  • a search for a dress that exists only in my imagination
  • a search for shoes that exist only in Marja's imagination
  • a discourse on when and why Anthropologie's clothes became so absurd, but no less costly
  • dinner with a friend I seldom see, but love just as much as I always have
  • an extensive Stanley Kubrick exhibition at which I came to realize I have seen very few Stanley Kubrick films.

Then it was time to go.

*Are you dying of curiosity about this? Sorry. I stayed at the Beverly Crescent. It's pretty. Though, of course, it looks rather different now that it does in the website pictures, clearly taken back in a bygone era when they had a front door and a sign. To say nothing of smaller chairs in the lobby lounge.

**I've actually never seen The Chairs; there may not be a lot of chairs in it, but let's pretend there are because, at the time I said to myself, "Good lord. It looks like they're staging The Chairs in here." And I hate to ruin perfectly good jokes I tell to myself.