Flying Over I-40 N. Moments, Sparkling. Moments, Not.

2006. July. (I think.) Barcelona. I’m sitting in a conference room in the basement level of an aging hotel. You know the hotel – the one where all of the investment was poured into the lobby, and you don’t need to search to find disappointment, it finds you, at every turnThis Barcelona could have been anywhere – a Days Inn within a cab ride of O’Hare in Chicago, or a budget hotel in Newark, or a refurbished hotel in downtown Philadelphia serving small, short tenor business meetings. Yet, it wasn’t. The room was windowless, the walls were free of art. There was dim overhead lighting, the florescent tubes emitting a low sizzle. There was a whiff of fresh blue paint, cheap plastic surgery fooling no one. Beneath its blue skin, the bones of the room emit traces of hand rolled tobacco from 50 years ago.  It’s an hour after the working lunch, Hour Six of a day long meeting, and stupor is settling in. There was no audio visual equipment. There were no extra notepads or pens. There was no coffee. No bottled water. In the center of the table, stood a one quart jug, fingerprints visible on its belly, and a slice of lemon, not dressed in its distinctive canary yellow, but a dull yellow mustard clinging to the wall of the jug as if it were licked and pressed like a postage stamp, desperately seeking escape. The jug sweats, the air is thick, the overhead aluminum ducts rattle with the firing and re-firing of the AC system that was built for a building half the size. Hard back chairs surround the table and line the walls, with the butt cheeks of thousands of prior occupants having grooved and flattened the frayed cushions. Butt to cushion to metal, do-over and over and over.  I can see the blue palette. I can smell the decaying Gyprock. I can feel the heaviness of the air. Yet, I can’t extract a single shred of why I was there and what was accomplished, not on this day, not on Day 2 which ran ten hours.  The Blue Room returns and returns and returns and returns. The question is: Why?

~ DK


Notes:

  • Inspired by: Saabye Christensen: “You store everything inside yourself and then one day, wherever you are, whatever the time, it appears just like that, just like I could smell wet lilac now, lilac after the rain, even though we were well into autumn.”
  • Image Credit: Marius Tamosauskas with Blue Room 1
  • Related Posts: Commuting Series.

Comments

  1. You have described this so well, I am THERE. It sounds so terribly miserable, no wonder you can recall all those details all these years later…

    Like

    • Thank you Dale. It’s as if I’m sitting in that room now. Strange how our minds work…

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is indeed. Why I can remember the stupidest inane detail but not some major event, is beyond me. When I was 3 and 6, I should remember my sisters learning how to walk, no? Nope. Nothing. Mind you… I have very few memories from when I was young. Too busy climbing the monkey bars and running around. But I’ll remember if your name is spelled differently like Martyne instead of Martine…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Miracle, Mystery, Mind blowing. All of it.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Of course, my neurosurgeon stopped the bleeding, removed the tumor, and repaired my brain. I have small titanium plates, screws, and mesh holding it all together. The doctor told me I wouldn’t set off airport metal detectors. But I don’t know why not. I don’t know anything but the most general details about my surgery. I suppose I could do more research, but I prefer the mystery of medicine and healing. I prefer mystery in almost all things. Near the end of my surgery, I dreamed of my parents again. This time, they were standing in that same grassy field with me. Still holding hands, they stood maybe fifty feet away. They weren’t wearing white robes. They didn’t have wings or halos. No, they were both dressed in the same clothes in which they’d been buried. My mother’s favorite turquoise suit was simply tailored and beautiful, and my father’s favorite sweatpants and Geronimo T-shirt looked comfortable and sloppy. They looked like the people I used to know. I waved hello. They smiled, waved good-bye, and walked away through the tall grass. I wasn’t sad to see them go. I knew it was time to wake. And so I did.

          ~ Sherman Alexie, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir” (Little, Brown and Company, 2017)

          Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG! I hope they pay you a LOT!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. All of the investment in that lobby…happens often. Sorry it’s so vivid in your memory.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Christie says:

    I say book material…just sent you an email with some thoughts on your post…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And the only answer is..’because’…reminiscent of a basement room at Chicago O’Hare – a nameless hotel, reeking of beige and poor lighting and a reiterative agenda that allowed for daydreaming.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Amazing, your level of detail dissecting it.
    I have vivid memories of a pair of pyjama pants, silk black background with roses. The memory though is more of the frustration of trying to put my legs in. At that time my dad was a project manager for the construction of a border check point facilities at the west point of Kuwait, for travelers into Jordan or Saudi Arabia. He took us with him. The heat and humidity made it impossible to slide my legs in. And many times, both legs went into the same side. The frustration still feels real. When I told my mom she said I was only 2 years old when dad had that project. And confirmed I had those special silk pyjama pants. Other than the birth of my younger siblings this is my most vivid childhood memory. Stuck, both legs in one side of my silk pants.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have been in that hell…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great writing Mr K. So many people feel trapped in this blue room of life. Often they don’t know how they got there and they certainly don’t know how they can leave. They know they deserve more, they know there is more, but they continue to accept this as their lot in life. I say “Run, run, run” there is so much more to experience than this blue room. ☀️🌅

    Liked by 3 people

  9. you were in hell. )

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wonder how you remember the details so minutely.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Are we allowed to choose which “why?” question to answer . Could be why me? Why can’t I remember what was accomplished? Why Barcelona? Why the basement?

    I’ll go for “Why did I attend?” Answer: because you fancied an expenses paid trip to Barcelona, and the reason you have such vivid memories is because you were so frustrated at not spending your paid holiday in a room with a sea view.

    I once attended a 5 day leadership programme in Maui, which they too held in the basement with no windows. You could smell the sea and hear the laughter. They locked is in there 8 till 6 for 5 days. Madness. Needless to say I too recall little of what was accomplished.

    This all comes back to Maslow ‘s hierarchy of needs I reckon.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m thinking this is a piece of your personal mythos, your own Seventh Circle of Hell.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Great writing and recollection of a personal hell David 💛. We get caught up in the idea and the facade, and forget what matters … like life.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Memory is a funny thing and not always logical.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: