Carol who included Courting and me, in an interview for Newsday was very unfortunately widowed that weekend.
However, her sense of humor remained intact. Please visit her new blog.
Saturday night/Sunday morning I was half asleep and even more spacey when I vaguely heard the car driver ask me something. As I’m polite I said:
“What?” Okay that’s not really polite but at least I answered
“How many kids do you have?”
“Are you married?”
“No, divorced.” I never know which sounds better.
“Who takes care of you?”
“Ha?” I had two hours of sleep the night before. Had I suddenly lost my portion of the fountain of youth? Then I realized what he meant
“I take care of me.”
I thought some more.
I’m jet lagged, exhausted, did some major errands, shopped at Fairway, and finished reading the mail, except for the magazines, credit card offers and the like. I want to sit around and space out, but I need to tell this story before I begin to color it.
I hadn’t done such a great job of taking care of me, in the prior two weeks, when I consciously stopped complaining after the first night when my blog seemed to disappear, the Internet connection in my room wasn’t working, and I needed my blog if I were too stop obsessing.
If everything is in order, I can relax. I know that there are some situations we can’t control, but don’t believe it about my own life.
Last summer in Santa Monica/Venice I stayed in an all suite motel in Venice Beach. This year I stayed in The Bates Hell Horror Hall. In the room next to Janet Leigh’s. Yeah I know, two years ago….The people who worked at The Bates Hell…were worse than Vampires but walking venom who deigned to take the fun out of a holiday.
“What do you want me to do? Reimburse you for the free Internet service not working?”
“Am upgrade would be satisfactory.” Since I have stayed at this chain for three summers in a row, and this thing that calls itself it a Hotel to get out of having a laundry or putting fridges in rooms, doesn’t give free nights, I think I have a chance as people always upgrade you
He laughs and I look at the mud colored rug and balcony that overlooks the parking lot, home to lots for many trendy restaurants. and think that this could be interesting. It’s been a long time since I haven’t been offered the full ocean view. One year it was an 180 degree view with a hot tub on one of the balconies, jacuzzi under the skylight, and wow, did I wish that I wasn’t a born again virgin. Something the people who worked in the hotel wished also.
Oh I want to skip over the indignities I suffered at The Bates, just one block from the truly amazing pier that did become a substitute for a balcony. But I like to wake up and see the Ocean. Oh I miss The Ocean View Resort in Montauk. Nobody can find the Resort but one room door opens to town and the other to the ocean. Only the second floor is worth it because the dunes have grown too far to be able to see the ocean.
This is how important the ocean is to me. I find the further I go from Long Island, the more manicured and less oceany, the hotel, motel, resort, hell hole is, though the Bates is on the wrong side of Ocean Avenue. The ocean view rooms are spectacular, and I am all about ocean and light. New England beaches are too cold for me. I like parts of the Jersey Shore and have never been further South, to beaches, except of course the other land of my people, South Florida.
For two weeks I can’t relax. I do figure out what’s wrong with my book, and write on different beach benches. Though I walk constantly, I never space out and go into myself. A form of self meditation that has always served me well most of my life, it is the reason I go on vacations where I can walk on or near the beach all day.
Instead I smile at strangers and we speak. It is something that I always felt I had to do, and actually give myself points for inviting them out to a meal, and more points if they accept.
I flash back to my childhood and realize that Freud wasn’t entirely wrong. My father used to take my sister Elka and I to fancy Fifth Avenue hotels and ask where the ladies room is. I hated it; Elka, two years younger than me loved it. She couldn’t have been more than eight and I was ten. When we were in Miami Beach we would have to walk to the fanciest hotels and ask to use the pool.
I have spent decades proving to my now dead father that I can ask. But barely a decade and a few years after the Fifth Avenue ladies room lesson, I pass The Pierre every morning. For fifteen years the doormen would ask if I wanted to go in. What did I have to prove? If the doormen wanted me to be a Fifth Avenue hooker, and the Madam’s clients thought I was one of her girls, I had the class and polish my father so desperately wanted us to have.
I can’t believe that I never understood that before. It’s so simple yet it’s taken me exactly three decades and seven month to understand this. Staying at The Bates Hell Hole helps me realize that I have always fit where and when I wanted to. I knew it but I never verbalized the whole thing. I believe that until you find the vocabulary, you can’t analyze or understand.
While I am at The Hell Hole, all the plane rules are changed. I find this strangely comforting as I had been traveling too often when real tragedy happened.
I am agitated and find it difficult to understand Delta’s memo. I am reading it too closely. I am in no frigging mood to analyze it.
I pack and repack compulsively. When I checked in at LaGuardia I had the sky captain weigh my overweight suitcase, but I didn’t have him weigh the other one.
The Hell Hole doesn’t do FedEx or UPS. I make them as I have never heard of a hotel that didn’t do that. I FedEx the small suitcase and walk to Venice Beach to buy a suitcase. Venice Beach Boardwalk is the Village, East Village, 14th and 34th Street before the Millenium. I love it much more.
It’s on the ocean, and the houses just outside the Boardwalk and through town are all Craftsman or fabulous modern. I even develop a love for Marina Del Rey that I never had before. It reminds me of Florida for which I am fast rethinking buying a condo in
South Beach has hotels with stone floors. So much more inviting than a mud carpet spewing up dirt. I am convinced that the AC filter hasn’t been cleaned in months. Without a fridge there’s no way that I can have a great antioxidant diet. I can’t stand sleeping in a room that smells of fruit.
When I check out a man is patrolling the floor making sure that people don’t go straight to the parking garage without checking out, and they inspect the room. The maid has been in it every day. The person who hands out the towels that are the thinnest I have ever seen, sees my room. Obviously it’s clean.
What do they think I’m going to steal? The generic coffee maker? I use a Melita.
In the car service I think how lucky I am to live in relative luxury in a building the board called during the heady pre-Millennium, 9/11/01 years called a “world class building.” Perhaps it is. It’s not as beautiful as my building off Fifth that was built earlier in the 20’s when the molding was more lavish. But it’s my kind of beauty: form, function, simplicity and color. I decide to repaint it as color has become much more adventurous. I was ahead of the curve in 97. Now, it is shameful People used to come just to look. My use of two lavenders on the ceiling and beams, and pink was talked about all over.
My bed room is a jewel box with, sky blue walls, lavender doors, a high metal four poster bed, a metal bureau with contrasting turquoise and pink drawers, a six drawer wooden night table, a mustard stressless, the 27 inch Sony metal entertainment center. When I get into bed with the patchwork comforter, three more blankets, and six pillows, I feel comforted.
I know that it’s a childhood bedroom remade to suit an adult, and I love having done it all. Nobody has ever found it cute or unbearable, but everybody begs to take a nap. Can’t wait for the White Sales as I need a new comforter, some shams, and more. Yes, I’m getting into nesting and self-love.
The late night doorman greets me with every word in English he knows, in one quick gulp. Apparently the doormen, except for the one who did the deed on top of the laundry machines, think that I’m one of about three people who “were raised right.” While we’re judging them….and not to speak up for me, they’re generally right.
If heaven and hell exist people will be judged by how they treat “the little people.” Please understand I’m using that term ironically.
I’m seeing the city where I live differently now. With the zeal of a new comer because in a sense I am.
In order to write the book I have to see and be immersed in the city as it was. But I want to be immersed in a New York where 14th Street symbolizes wealth, not arm pits. I used to think of 14th and 34th as Manhattan’s armpits.
But I remember the 14th Street of my childhood where I bought my first record album. It was a good one for it signified change. Chubby Checker “The Twist” I might have only been ten but I could tell trends.
Someday this week I will go Jones Beach because no summer is complete without a day at a Jones. It is perfection. But I’m an Island girl who couldn’t wait to leave then spent most of the next five years living in Sound towns..
I feel the relaxation I never could feel when away. It’s August in Manhattan, the best time of year to be here.
I’m going to take many classes, from intro to digital photography where I can feel advanced because I do know the menus, to four kinds of meditation classes, Yoga and Pilates where I will feel like a klutz but really really won’t mind.
But nothing in Manhattan begins until after Labor Day. This is the time of year where you can hear yourself breath. It’s a good time to explore.
I will be exploring until then. One day I will take the subway to Coney Island, walk to Brighton Beach where I will swim because it’s a great cove, then walk to Sheepshead Bay via a formerly very charming now garish town, the name escapes me.
Another day I will go to Queens, and Riverdale especially for Wave Hill. I have the zeal of a newcomer with the knowledge of a lifer.
With a certainty and firmness I have never felt before, I know that I am healed from the personal events that to me before and after 9/11.
I can remember my mother with laughter now. I see her more clearly than I have in years.
While I know the Bates Hell Hole is relatively decent, I see the difference between the room, and my windows which might not have a terrace, but have views.
I have no idea what I’m saying. I’m still jet lagged, and drinking my favorite comfort drink, iced ginger tea, made from tea bags and ginger I keep in the freezer, and diet coke. There is a combination of spices that both stimulate and comfort me.
“Look out, Manhattan, I’m back.” I’m pretty sure Rhoda And I didn’t even have to go to Minneapolis and be Mary’s best friend. Not that there was….
update. Last night was the first night I really slept in a week or more, am still jet lagged, something I almost never get. Still haven’t done my laundry, still haven’t gotten a replacement camera for the one that was stole at the Bates Hell Hole. Still haven’t….really need to be good to myself, and not think of my life as a collection of chores. Just so jet laggged.