Thursday, February 3, 2011

Please Cut It Out, 2011

My father passed away last week. I was flying home from my business trip, and when I got home my mom gave me the news. Anytime your mom calls you at 11:45 pm, you know it’s not going to be good.
We’d been preparing as a family for the inevitable, but no amount of preparing does you any good when you actually hear it. I’m still trying to make sense of it all, but I just hope my family can make peace with his death and the cause of it.
My mom, sister and brother all flew to Boston so we could at least gather and give each other a hug in person. In a way, the repairing that happened over Christmas prepared us a little more for this, but it also sort of felt like another family gathering he wasn’t present at.
I’m not sure if the gravity of his death will really be felt until we gather once again this summer to scatter his ashes. It’s been a really rough week, but I’m very grateful to have such amazing friends checking on me every day. My apartment is filled with flowers right now, and also an amazing, chocolate-filled gift basket from Zabar's. I’m so lucky to have a wonderful family and amazing friends to take care of me when I need it.
I really need to have a heart-to-heart with 2011, because it wasn’t listening to me very well when I asked it to please be kind. 2011 is kind of a dick, and while we have a lot of work to do to make it better, it’s getting easier day by day.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The One About the One-Legged Prostitute

For the next week, I'm going to be doing some traveling for work. I'm in Los Angeles now and then early Saturday morning I'm headed to Chicago. Because the weather has been so frigid in Boston lately (Nine degrees on Monday!), I decided to stay at the beach during my time here.
Now, I know Venice Beach has its "reputation" as being a place for the down and out or characters, as they're sometimes called, but throwing caution to the wind and trusting the pictures I saw online, I booked a room, eagerly anticipating the sound of waves and the salty air.
Typically when I travel, I like to book at mom-and-pop hotels because you're supporting a local business and there's usually a little more attention paid to the customer. I may never do that again after what happened today.
I park my rental car, and start walking to the hotel, I notice a few of the Venice characters roaming about: the woman wearing rollerblades laying in the middle of the street (sidenote: dead? maybe?), the man with the biggest dreadlocks I've ever seen in my whole life, the young couple sitting in a shopping cart together, etc. Then, I round the corner and see my hotel.
Outside, there are more characters, including a woman on crutches with one leg, wearing a see-through shirt, and her friend, who looks very possessive of her, ifyouknowwhatImean. I keep my head down and walk into the lobby, which is in shambles. Continuing with my "benefit of the doubt" attitude, I start the check-in process. The young lady and the gentleman come inside and push the elevator button, and the woman behind the desk says they're not allowed to enter the building anymore.
She says, "You are not guests here; you need to leave. There's been reports of thefts. We know what you're doing up there."
The woman is very obviously intoxicated (and, uh, also missing a leg), and tries to grab the counter and misses. She falls backwards and SLAMS her head into the wall. I'm standing there speechless, with my eyes bulging and my hand over my mouth in horror.
The guy helps her up and tries to move her to the lobby couch, and the woman behind the desk says, "You still need to leave. Get out of here."
Now, THIS is the point where most people would leave. I chose to view it as an isolated incident, and said, "Room 310, you say? And, how do I get wireless Internet again?"
I go up to my room, and it's disgusting. It's incredibly hot with no air conditioner (usually not a problem at the beach, but I LOVE sleeping in a cold hotel room), the toiletries had been used and my pillow case had black scuff marks all over it.
On the verge of tears, I sit on the bed searching online for a new hotel and feel so bad for having to go downstairs and tell the woman at the front desk that I'm unhappy. I really hate complaining, but I think a one-legged prostitutes, dirty sheets and used soap are legitimate reasons to now be typing this from a cushy Sheraton that serves Starbucks coffee in the rooms.