Walking South Flower Street.

I’m riding up the elevator. There are four others in this box, and I’m pressed against the back. The three outer walls are glass, floor to ceiling. My chest tightens. I have a need, I mean a real need to shift closer to the center but there’s no room to move. I squeeze the handle on my roller board, averting my eyes from the concrete floor 29 floors below me. Get me out of here.

It is a Westin. Fond memories of Los Angeles are anchored here. An infinity roof top pool. Chill music. Aquamarine mood lighting. Warm evening air. You were younger then. Work travel was a benefit. Dining out on the corporate card within your daily allowance. Lingering at the hotel bar for a nightcap. Watching the Lakers on the overhead T.V.

The elevator door opens. How many times in your life have you been in this exact spot, dragging your luggage (and your a**) out of an elevator, late evening or night, eyes desperately scanning for the room number on the wall, body craving sleep, body yearning for your own bed, your own pillows, your own comforter…Home.

There’s a large stain on the carpet. And then another. And another. I reach for my key. I step in. There’s a faint smell of tobacco. And then industrial disinfectant. I set my bags down and step into the bathroom. No separate shower from tub, caulking around the tub has separated. The faucet is dripping, splashing around the drain and a soft brown stain. My hands reach for a towel, the same towel used by hundreds of patrons, I pause, searching for blood stains, discoloration of any type. When I can’t find it, I advance – it’s coarse on my forehead and my cheeks, the industrial washers scrubbing out the remaining useful life. I breathe in the fabric of the towel. Smell? Nothing.

The air conditioner is a dated, large wall unit that’s better suited for a 2-cycle lawn mower engine. It’s emitting non-stop, soul crushing bedlam. Intolerable. [Read more…]

Flying to Michigan. With best-laid plans.

You made a tough call. You considered the various alternatives and consequences, and it turned out badly. Accept it, and move on, right? No. You b*tch at your stupidity, you stew in it, you try to find others to blame, and then you grudgingly lurch into resignation, slide into acceptance, and then drop into peace. But not until you proceed through the steps, one by one by one.

It’s a White Plains, NY to Detroit to Northern Michigan flight plan.  A major storm sits on top of Detroit. Our pilot circles around the perimeter hoping it clears.  It doesn’t.  We divert to Cleveland to re-fuel.

We all sit on the plane as it re-fuels, the pilot looking to get back up and to Detroit.

The scheduled layover in Detroit was short. I fumble through my Delta app to learn that I will miss my connection.

I then proceed to make a critical (and flawed) decision. I ask to get off the plane to see if I can catch a Cleveland to Minneapolis to Northern Michigan flight and arrive late, but on the same day. (I learn that this is a major deal for security reasons as my luggage is in the cargo hold and cannot be retrieved – and, separating passenger from luggage is a no-no.)

They let me off. (After taking a photo of my ID, my boarding pass and my luggage receipt.)  They make the same offer to the rest of the passengers. Noted, no one else follows me. The attendant explains: “Sir, now you know that you will not have your luggage and it will be shipped on the original flight path arriving tomorrow.” I shrug, smile: “No problem.”

It’s 2:30 pm. The flight to Minneapolis is scheduled at 6pm, then connecting to Michigan at 8:30 pm.

The storm moves on from Detroit, and guess what? It slides on over and camps right on the top of Cleveland.  And it sits, and sits, and sits. Torrential downpours, lightening strikes, and rumors of funnel clouds.

It’s 8:00 pm. With delay after delay after delay.

It’s 9:00 pm and we take-off.

I find a Delta Service Center in Minneapolis to assist in re-booking my flight the next day.  The airport is emptying out. I find a McDonald’s (Open 24 Hours!) and wolf down three Cheeseburgers, the highlight of my day. Is there anything more satisfying than a McDonald’s cheeseburger on a empty stomach? My fingers tremble as I unwrap the yellow wax paper.

I find a cab. He’s annoyed. “Do you know how long I’ve been waiting in this cab line for a long ride?” [Read more…]

Flying Over I-95 N. In Magic Kingdom.

Is that Magic Kingdom? Disney? Yes. Were you there? No. But Yes, in gusts of memories as I sat in a large ballroom at the J.W. Marriott in Orlando, listening to a speaker discuss “Cybersecurity in the Modern World.” Fastpasses. Teacup. Turkey legs. Splash Mountain. The monorail train ride to the park, Eric’s favorite part of the trip. The body aches, as I carry him on my shoulders along the parade route so he can see over the crowds. It’s a Small World (afterall).

It’s the late afternoon flight departing from Orlando — the 5:41 p.m. on jetBlue #1694.  “We will be boarding in a few minutes. This is a full flight. We are oversold and looking for volunteers to take the next flight.”  A morning flight was canceled “due to inclement weather in New York.” Why ‘inclement?’ Why not ‘bad’? Or ‘stormy.’ Or ‘wintry.’

A large crowd mills around the gate, impatient. “One of these things is not like the others. One of these things doesn’t belong. Can you tell which thing is not like the other by the time I finish this song.”

Mom’s, exhausted, shoulders slumped, have large bags slung over their shoulders. They watch their children run around the waiting area, others are consumed on their handhelds. Dad’s sit and watch loops of CNN on the overhead TVs.  Moms, Dads, kids, holiday, Disney and then me — the Suit, work.

We board.

We lift off. [Read more…]

Flying Over I-40 N. Apple-Pie-In-A-Jar and Ordinary Moments of Kindness.

It worked.

For four consecutive nights, two baby blue Advil PM pills worked their magic.  7 1/2 to 8 1/2 hours of deep, dreamy sleep. Wake fresh, and refreshed.

And then, it didn’t.

Last night.

6:00 p.m.

Early dinner at Hotel restaurant. Delicious pan seared halibut, its light, ivory flesh falling away from the buttery crusted filet with the touch of my fork. Creamy Mac & Cheese as a side. Two cocktails to chase it down. And, a deconstructed “apple-pie-in-a-jar” for a night cap. Spoon to jar to mouth, a pendulum, without pause, a sugar addict’s fix. God, I love dessert.  Delectable in the moment. Regrettable the moment I set the spoon down, scraping the last of the thick sugary cream from the jar. And I thought of grabbing this jar in a vice grip with two hands, lifting it to my face and licking it clean with my tongue. Oh, yes I did.

I sat, restless, waiting for the check – – and tucked my thumb down the front of my pants to let some air in.

8:45 p.m.

Cued up Michael Barbaro’s Podcast The Daily.

And it was lights out.

12:30 a.m.

Overheated. Turning, and turning, and turning. I jerk the covers off. 

[Read more…]

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.

Driving I-95 S. With Dancing Nancies.

olena kassian drawings pavane, 64- x 48-

Friday morning. July 17th.  77° F. 8:10 am.
Traffic?  A lava flow.
I’m in the center lane between two tractor trailers. Behemoths. Wall to wall.

The Mind, a Raccoon, ever searching, digging, anxious.
Its beady eyes darting.
Its sharp claws twitching, digging in sh*t they shouldn’t be digging in.

Shiny tinsel flashes from the morning readings.
Fulghum: The examined life is no picnic.
Remarque: The less a man thinks of himself the better he is.

And on cue, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds strum their guitars to open Dancing Nancies

Could I have been / A parking lot attendant
Could I have been / Lost Somewhere in Paris
Could I have been / Anyone other than me

A parking lot attendant? First job. Gas station attendant.
Paris? I’ll take just being in Paris, just once, lost or found.
And, ‘Could I have been / anyone other than me?’
Now, that is a question.

A copper colored Tesla jams his nose in the wee gap in front of me. I close the gap, with my nose within inches of his door panel. The mini cameras on the bumper trigger the sensors: Warning. Too Close. Too Close. He turns left to see my grill, and me, feeling the blast of natural heat. Oh, you know what you’re doing Friend. Save electricity with your Tesla. Burn me up. [Read more…]

5:00 PM Bell! Let’s Go Amangiri.

Amangiri9

amangiri2

Amangiri, ‘peaceful mountain’, is situated in Canyon Point, Southern Utah, close to the border with Arizona. The resort is tucked into a protected valley with sweeping views over colourful, stratified rock towards the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument. The resort is a 25-minute drive from the nearest town of Page, Arizona and a 15-minute drive to the shores of Lake Powell. Architecturally, the resort has been designed to blend into the landscape with natural hues, materials and textures a feature of the design. The structures are commanding and in proportion with the scale of the natural surroundings, yet provide an intimate setting from which to view and appreciate the landscape.”

Don’t miss the picture tour for Amangiri: Picture Tour


Source: My Modern Met

 

Driving to I-95 N. With Valet.

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Let’s hone this story down to the essentials. The peripheral details are a distraction. Or as Bertolt Brecht would say: “And I always thought: the very simplest words / Must be enough.”

It started 3 weeks ago. Her idea. First announced in a two-word text message: Hey Dad.  A mere two-word sentence that is customarily succeeded with cash outflow. The three dots flash: ping, ping, ping, ping. One hand grips my smartphone, the other hand protects my wallet. Here it comes.

Let’s go Dad. Come on. Let’s you and I go.  Just the two of us. Come on Dad.

She’s gainfully employed, and no longer tethered to Mom and Dad. But, she remains fully tethered to the rent-free, food-free, laundry-free and chore-free arrangement — and bathing in it guilt-free.

It will be a Father – Daughter thing. How many times do you think you and I will have this opportunity?  She deftly moves her Dad into position, places his right hand on the fulcrum piece on the teetering Jenga tower, and the tower wobbles and collapses.

OK Honey.

And as Paul Harvey would have said, now here’s The Rest of the Story. [Read more…]

Sleep like a bird?

Tree hotel in Sweden


It is the Treehotel’s Bird’s Nest room in Harads, in northern Sweden. From the outside, the room resembles an actual nest, a conglomerate of giant twigs. But from the inside, the room looks like that of a luxury resort. It’s large enough to sleep four. The design was to provide a contrast between indoors and outdoors.

Don’t miss photo’s of the inside of the Bird’s Nest Room at Grindtv.com: Treehotel puts you up…in a bird’s nest.


Saturday Morning

light-bed-hotel-rest-sleep-saturday


Source: Griffstream

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