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.

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