Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hotels & Airports Have Mediocre-At-Best Coffee.

I fly into New York around 8 PM. Security loses my baggage, so I’m stuck there for about an hour too long. Stupid time difference gives me jet-leg, so I pay far too much for a small cup of hazelnut coffee and throw my luggage into the back of a cab in the pouring rain. He doesn’t bother to help or make small talk. In fact, he spent the entire twelve-minute trip yelling into the Bluetooth attached to his ear. But apparently that’s just how Italians talk. I gave up on trying to check my voicemail, too. My cheap cell phone company doesn’t want me to have service outside of my city and it’s three surrounding ones. I listen to music instead. The volume turned all the way up.

I must say, I can’t sleep in hotels, but the feeling I get when I first walk into one is incredible and almost worth the shitty nights sleep. I get the intense fresh smell that must be manufactured and sold strictly to hotels. No amount of cleaning can produce that smell, especially in a place like a hotel; a place where people just shuffle in and out, constantly leaving their scent, and their mark. The maid service comes in and erases any trail of this person. It’s a bit eerie, if you ask me. The fact that someone just disappears from the history of a room creeps me out. That’s the reason I can’t sleep in hotels. I know after my stay, someone will come in and do the same thing I did and not think twice. Then someone else will come in and do it again. For years and years this will happen. And at the end of day, or world, I suppose, this room has no idea what it’s supposed to be.

I turn on the TV, and even with the help of the card telling me all of the channels; I find nothing. In order to pass time until my body shuts down & collapses, I wander around the hotel. You know, take the elevator down to the main floor, check out the weird lounge thing they've got going on with the even worse coffee than the airport. Take the elevator back up to the sixth floor, examine it; go to the fourth and see if there's any differences. There never is. I give up on the scavenger hunt and decide to get one of those pay-per-view movies. I make sure to get one that's still in theaters.

Before the movie starts; I recognize her. I wasn't being all that creepy. I always get told it was creepy, but honestly; it wasn't. There I am, admiring the New York skyline when I see her. A girl in the hotel room across the street from me. Black hair and eyes, I couldn't tell you the color. It's one of those times where you're intimidated. You don't know why, but you are. My palms are sweaty. I don't remember what she was doing, or why she looked back. She probably just got the feeling that someone was watching her. She smiled, I'm sure of it. She never admits it, but I know she did. She waves and I quickly scramble to open my window. I finally find the trick to it, and pry it open the only four inches that it allows.

"Hey!" I yell.

She simply waves.

"What's your name?!" I'm sure the people on the street and in my neighboring rooms can hear me, but I don't care.

She opens the window and leans her head out.


She sparks a lighter and lights her cigarette. I've had enough. I slam my window shut and do the math. One, two, three, four, five up. One, two three, four across. Backside of the hotel. I grab the pen off of the desk and scribble "5-4" on my arm. The opening scene starts and I turn the TV off. The hotel won't give me a refund; that blows. I take the stairs, jumping down flights at a time. I take the emergency exit. The alarm doesn't sound; I knew they were always bluffing. The sidewalk is crowded, but I find my way through the crowd and wait for the safe-to-walk light. Each second seems like a minute, thoughts racing through my mind. It's safe to walk. I jet across the street, wondering what I'm actually going to say.

I make it into the lobby and notice the similarities between the hotels. The lounge is the same, but maybe their coffee is better. I take the elevator this time, catching my breath and making plans for our first words.

"I just wanted to see what color your eyes were."

No. Way too lame. This isn't a Ben Stiller rom-com.

"Can I bum a ciggarette?"

No. That's forcing it.

The elevator doors open and my heart is in my stomach. In a haze, I count the rooms. One, two, three, four. I stop, trying to catch my breath. I swear, I stand there for two minutes. It's never going to happen. My hand shaking, I knock on the door. I immediately regret coming here. Twenty seconds later, I hear that uplifting click. The door slowly creaks open. There she is. Her hair tied up, and yep- her eyes are brown. That dress looks nice on her. I finally speak.


"Hi." she responded.

I haven't been home since.

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