Thursday, January 17, 2008

How To Go Back Home

It's not easy to be a regular at a hotel. I managed it once, back when the company I was working for was bought by a company in the Bay Area. I spent about three nights a week down there for a while, and that was enough to make me a regular at the Claremont. Not that being a regular there made a tremendous difference. The Claremont was reserved, self-contained. She was grand, in a slightly over-the-hill kind of way. She doled out a few familiar nods here, an upgrade there, but the Claremont never did smile when I walked in the door. Maybe she was giving me my space. And that was fine, then. She was pretending that she wasn't past her prime yet, and I was pretending... well, that's another story.

If I was going to be a regular at a hotel now, I would want something different. No pretending, and certainly no stand-offishness, not even the elegant kind. To be a regular now, I would require something a good deal more enthusiastic than the Claremont could offer.

And I think I know just who I'd get that from. Susan was right, at 10PM, I was off to go be myself, in what has become my absolute favorite hotel so far, ever. This hotel is so good, it's one step away from love.

There were symptoms of love that night, that's for sure. There's that feeling you get, like you have discovered a soul such as no other soul you have ever discovered before. This is a soul that has fantastical things, walls full of birds, the photo booth in the lobby, and someone lovely from the front desk who will linger at the bar at the end of the night, drinking old-fashioneds and charming you with talk about the things you love most, books and being young in New York, moving for love, losing love, finding it again. This soul is a building, with big old windows like eyes wide-open and swinging doors like easy smiles. It is welcoming and lively, and the people who work in the kitchen, at the bar, in the coffee shop and at the front desk, are all the kind of people who remind you just why it is you like people in the first place. People who will give you a hug at the end of the night the first time they meet you, who will take your email and maybe write and maybe not.

And either way will be fine, of course, because all of it, the scraps of paper with addresses on them, the photos you took, the book you left behind for the bar back, they were all just the many ways this hotel, just like the good kind of love, was giving you back to yourself, reminding you who you were before, and who you get to be again, now.

1 comment:

h a i k u g i r l said...

I love your writing so much it's almost weird.