When I first discovered Coke’s name
to be Coke,
I admit, I was taken aback
with the fact that it is the unusual title
for this amiable human
I often see in the lobby.
But Coke is used to the awe
of people discovering his name,
and ups the…
Yeah, humans are social creatures
you know, we see faces
inside clouds, fungus and tea stains.
Children conduct full-length conversations
with “pet” rocks and plush dinosaurs,
then as adults, they still try to assign meaning
to their frighteningly mysterious days
through science, philosophy, religion,
art, astrology or psychology.
I was taking a picture of the roses in the lobby when Val, the bartender summoned me over to see something. I took a stool at the bar and waited for a moment as Val rustled around in her bag, elbow deep. At last she exclaimed “Ah!” and pulled out…
Anja: How long have you worked in room service?
Howard: Nine months.
Anja: What does that all entail?
Howard: Well… amenities, doing orders, and uh, being very uh… kind and gentle with guests hospitality wise. You make them feel wanted, and if they want anything, you do…
Concierge Peter suggests
we all need to practice
watching our surroundings
while wondering why,
or how is it like that?
To behave like the elated toddler
who discovers everything is dimensional:
it can be crawled over, pulled, pushed
bitten and unraveled to reveal
what is at the end,
Katherine has been coming here for years
she was married for three decades
to a man who came to the Pfister to just to jog.
He died ten years ago
so, recently she asked the divine,
“could you please send me a boyfriend who does yoga?”
After she asked…
Jennifer is here. She just quit her job as the director of a troupe of tribal belly dancers. I learn that tribal belly dancing is more athletic than traditional. Apparently traditional belly dancing much more wiggly. I believe it, having taken belly dancing in college and finding it fairly impossible…
The following monologue was created from a conversation I had with two women as they waited for Val to serve them some hot glog. Note: multiple voices and perspectives speak as one.
We’re not down here too often
we work in Brookfield and have clients here
Right now in the Mystery that is the Pfistery,
there is a basket out in the lobby
a tisket, a tasket of apples,
all sized small
to keep inside my blazer pocket
my pocket’s apple is named King David
cause I’m told these are King David…
Each time I go to work someone from the staff is bound to show me something.
Once, Rick the bellhop tells me about his boston terrier, Mugsy.
“She grows more and more into a creature every day, and less like a dog. She has creature tendencies.”
Five moments of learning from the past week at the Pfister.
A kid from Chicago comes to my typewriter and gawks. I allow him to type whatever he wants:
“HAa Liamisthe greatest Pat and Kerianne suck and wish they could do this hahah”
A girl comes…
My recorder has stored a highly detailed 16 minute and 12 second description of a book this man read a couple decades ago. It is the autobiography of Bernard Baruch, a wall street guy who hung out at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in the 1930’s. The description would have…
A box with twenty hats were left for me at the front desk the other day.
Miraculously, all of them fit my head. I would like to end this story here and imply that I have a secret admirer, but I know who gave me the hats. I was introduced…
I got an asymmetrical haircut at the Pfister’s salon. Carrie, my stylist said she had a barn growing up. It was mostly empty, so she and her brother would perform plays inside. Carrie had “an asthmatic horse named Blaze.” I didn’t know they made asthmatic horses, but…
Eleanore ate salad at the Mason Street Grill last Friday,
in honor of her mother,
a woman named Blanche,
“she was a honey”
born around 1892.
When honey Blanche grew up
she worked for a time making
the most popular salads at the Pfister
so great were her salads
This hotel is rife with whiz-bang creators. At any hour someone with an opinion on Salavador Dali is likely to state it from behind a counter, since so much of the staff identifies with being an artist of some sort. Certainly, there is an official resident artist and an…
Mark and Delores (who have a German last name) are here from Miami. They are getting the German Milwaukee experience. They toured the Pabst Mansion, did a beer tasting and are asking who Captain Pabst (Pabst beer’s founder) was close friends with. Honestly, I don’t know.* Delores bought…
La Belle Fleur (the beautiful flower), is a pear infused vodka recipe that Katrina is following today. She is still deciding on her own name for it, but knows she wants it to be French. She is teaching herself French from an application on her phone.
Trois de poire (three…
“Next year we we’ll have 120 pounds of honey coming outta the two hives,” says Brian Frakes, Pfister head chef and as of this year, beekeeper. He takes me up to the roof; where 24 stories above the ground the bees await their sugar water refill. He lights the…
Dr. Hollander likes to talk and play at the same time. This afternoon he invites me to pull up a chair and keep him company. He hasn’t any sheet music with him but there’s no song he can’t play on the lobby piano. Aware of this, I…
The woman does not want to be identified.
The woman can make you an iced coffee.
The woman frequently makes me an earl grey
with a side of questions concerning Harry Potter.
She first read Harry Potter as a high school student
back in her homeland, the third major…
Mr. Joe Charney, Pfister lobby lounge frequent visitor, has already been written about by the two hotel narrators before me. And much of what he told me was also accurately described in those blog posts. But not everything! Here you will see why Mr. Charney needs a third story, my…
It is 2:21 p.m. and here’s what is going down: a recording of violin music saturates the air. Someone walks past hauling a 2.88 (or so) foot long camcorder. The fronds of a palm tree sensuously caress the south column. A security guard carefully explains how…
…said Kurt Vonnegut. A simplistic way to convey closure, to throw your hands up in the air and surrender, to explain the inexplicable. And so I go, back to my life pre-Pfister, after six months of exploring, discovering, conversing, photographing, writing, and blogging. There is no simple way to…
The Pfister is well known for its Victorian Art collection and for supporting the arts in Milwaukee, but did you know how many amazing artists they have on staff? One of the best parts about working here has been meeting and hearing the stories about the incredibly and diversely talented…