My New Favorite Perfect

I have considered coloring the following story about Anu and Cindy with grandiose flourishes, unhealthy exaggerated “aw shucks” sort of exhortations, and adjective rich descriptions of two ladies reeking of the delectable charms of deeply realized kin and kithness.

But, instead, I’m going to just tell this lovely tale of friendship the way it should be told. Simply. Because it has become my favorite sort of perfect.

(And, yes, feel free to erase my first overblown paragraph from your memory…I promise it’s my last ounce of hyperbole for at least 400 words.)

Anu and Cindy were seated in the Pfister Lobby sharing a bag of potato chips. Each woman was focused on writing a postcard. They looked unrushed, calm, and serene. I admired the great smiles they each had on their faces.

The ladies were resting in the lobby on day two of a friendship retreat. Both women told me that they were 50-years-old, though that was hard to believe looking at faces radiating with health and warmth. They had come to the Pfister to celebrate this special shared birth year because of the bonds of their important and lifelong friendship.

The ladies explained that 40 of their 50 years had been shared as the best of friends. Seeing the light of love surrounding them as they sat together enjoying the afternoon, I imagined that they had to have been adorable when their bond was sealed at the tender age of 10.

Anu told me the past year had been a difficult one, and this time with her friend was a significant acknowledgement of looking forward. The outing had been arranged by Anu’s husband and children, and I understood that affairs of the heart must hold a special place within her family as I noticed the greeting she had written on a postcard that was headed back home. It read, “I love you infinitely.”

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Friends of 40 years tend to finish one another’s thoughts. Anu and Cindy filled in all the empty spaces that remained in the story that I found myself leaning in to hear. For 25 years, the friends had been separated by great distance. Their friendship didn’t miss a beat when they found themselves both living back in the same state a few years ago. They told me with moist eyes that for the past 24 hours, through moments of great pampering at the hands of the Pfister staff, every one of their thoughts had been fiercely connected to each other. And even after 40 years, they discovered that they were able to learn new things about the person sitting across the table. Friends forever, for sure. Forever discovering each other, a sure bonus.

I wanted to honor this great pair of friends by doing something remarkably against my nature—to leave them alone. As a writer I constantly want to know more about a subject, hoping to draw out intimate stories and surprising admissions. But my awe over the real and profound affection I witnessed in the simple and loving regard each woman had for the other made me thank them for their time and step away. Anu and Cindy deserved their space.

A bag of chips, two postcards, and friends for life. In a year of seeing and writing about all kinds of extraordinary at the Pfister, this could be the perfect I adore the most.

Follow me on Twitter @jonathantwest for more smart remarks and snappy retorts.

Lesson Number One: Always Talk to the Mustachioed Rapscallion

I happily made the acquaintance of a mustachioed rapscallion named Farley as I was sauntering through the Pfister’s lobby.

Farley runs with a crew of real quick wits. I asked questions, viagra they gave me the straight dope; it was all very polite. Basically, Farley and his gaggle are like the fresh-faced reboot cast of “Friends.”

These nimble minded grinners came from the East (New York City) and the West (Los Angeles) for a friendly wedding. That is to say, the wedding event came about because their friend who grew up in the area asked them all to attend and they were happy to bring their shiny selves to Milwaukee for the very first time.

Farley is part of the New Yorker element of the crew. He loves the Pfister, look he likes walking around the Cream City, and he appreciates the fact that folks around these parts are friendly first. He’s also a fan of the beer in Milwaukee and holds a cold one in his hand like a champ. Suds soak his bushy lip decoration as he savors the flavors of an amber brew. That’s the downside of distinction.

Farley’s friend Monica is a spit-fire. She responds to all my queries with plain-spoken honesty. It’s also quite possible that she simply and cleverly sold me on a big bag of tall tales. I don’t care really. She’s immediately likeable, ailment so if she’s lying, she’s doing it with a lot of moxie and I’m always in favor of spreading more moxie around.

“Where are you from?”

“Los Angeles.”

“What do you do there?”

“I’m a housewife.”

“How was the wedding?”

“It was great.”

“What was the most memorable part of it?”

“I slept with my best friend last night.”

We quibble over prepositions. Monica insists she is in no way suggesting any inference of carnality. Monica is just trying to explain to me that she slept with her best chum in a comfy bed and is thoroughly refreshed. It’s all squeaky clean info, but you’re never really sure if Monica is telling you the whole story because she’s a cheeky one.

But Monica is also classy, and the prior evening’s activities were glittering and elegant as reported by her group of friends. They all sprinkle their description of the wedding and a Pfister overnight stay with words like “gorgeous” and “refined” and “stunning.” For a precious and shining moment, Los Angeles and New York City have ceased to be the centers of their world.

As I spend more time with this witty crew, I so, so badly want to pull upon Farley’s grand buffo mustachio. I stop short because of my internal gentlemen’s code. Farley has had an on again off again relationship with his lip of hair. He’s been going about growing and pruning and growing and pruning and growing and pruning for some five years now.

“I keep the stray hairs from those clippings in a jar under my desk. Never know when I’ll need them to put this back together,” he says pointing at his mustache.

I can’t fathom that putting Farley’s face back together with the shreds of his hairy calling card is a golden moment anyone wants to see. I hope he never has to try because I definitely found that I liked his sassy puss.

Simon and Kathleen, two of the good looking supporting cast of characters in this wry little sitcom, confirm Farley’s bold assertion. I get the sense that Farley’s mustache has gotten the whole crew in and out of a series of hilarious scrapes, fodder for a whole series of mad cap half hour pilots. I’m telling you, this group is ready for prime time, what with the style and the bi-coastal vim and vigor and the really nicely tussled hair.

Cabs are coming, flights are being pursued, but not for want of a quick getaway. These pals aren’t into tears and sopping hankies until they meet again. It’s nothing but a day of the fondest farewells for Farley, Monica and all the friends in between.

“What Are You Doing For Thanksgiving?”

 

The following people shared their Thanksgiving Plans:

 

Name: Ariana

Location: Artist studio

Context: One Pfister Artist Niki’s interns, drugstore Arianna spent her day crocheting condoms into upholstery for Niki’s fainting couch.

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“I’m going to my fake aunt’s house. I actually met her on the bus, recipe the green line by the Pick ‘N Save on Oakland. I was wearing this fake fur coat (‘cause it’s like 0 degree here all the time) and she saw me and said ‘nice coat.’ We started talking and I said I’m from Baltimore, and she said ‘Well, I’m from Maryland.’ We started talking and going on, we talked about her kids a little bit, and about me and about where I go to art school, and we’re just talking and she says, ‘I really like that you’re an artistic person from Maryland, I’m really excited about that. Let me give you my card.’ And I say ‘Well, let me give you MY card, because I had just made business cards for an internship.’ So we exchanged cards, and I texted her immediately, and we’ve been friends ever since. This was in February. I just went to her kid’s talent show this weekend. Her kids are 11 and 14, and smarter than I thought kids could ever be. She’s the most extreme extrovert I’ve ever met. We’re going Thanksgiving hopping, which I’ve never done before. We’re going to one at one ‘o clock, and then another one at six thirty. I was like ‘Great,’ I was like ‘Sweet, I’ve never been to multiple Thanksgivings, I guess this is what happens when you’re like super cool and always talking to people.’ I’m hoping some of this will rub off on me. “

 

I ask Ariana, how many people she thinks her fake aunt has met on the bus.

 

“Her car was out, like in the shop, so she had to take the bus that day. But I think she does have approximately two other fake nieces and nephews.

 

 

Names: Tim, Carmella, Joe, Corinne

Location: VIP Lounge

Context: All four of them sitting around a table and conversing.

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“I’ve usually been a cooker,” explains Carmella, “Our children have all gotten older now and they’re all off doing other things, so we decided we’d go out and have fun!” Previously, they’ve stayed in their Chicago homes to celebrate, but tomorrow they will be at the Pfister for the feast. “We’ve never been here. We don’t know how it works. We’re going to eat at the Mason Street Grill, three ‘o clock Thanksgiving dinner.”

 

They all look the same approximate age. I ask if they are all family.

“Yes, brother and sister.”

“He’s our father,” one of the two men, points at the other, who replies, “You can’t blog ****content censored!!!!**** you.”

 

 

Names: Shosho (who declined to be pictured) & Abdullah

Location: The café

Context: Shosho is finishing her croissant, they are two of the most attractive people I’ve seen in the hotel all week.

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Both are from Saudi Arabia originally, but they met in Chicago. Shosho is getting her masters in Education, so that she can work in the field of Administration. She has never been to a Thanksgiving dinner before, and tomorrow will be just another Thursday in Shosho’s life. Abdullah, on the other hand, has attended a Thanksgiving dinner in the past. “To be honest, I didn’t like the turkey. It tasted raw. Next time I’m just going to get salad and other things.” Eloquently put! Abdullah just completed an English as a Second Language course a few days ago.

 

The Pinecone Shaped Doorknob on the Seventh Floor

The suit store, Roger Stevens will cease to exist at the end of this month after its four decades at the Pfister. Everything is for sale.  Everything.

EverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverything.

EverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverything.

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The striped shorts!
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The suits!
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The exquisite chair!
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The authentic Italian army nesting cases!
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The books!
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The wooden beaver!
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The “HONOURS” board!

 

The bow ties!
The bow ties!
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The classic Ralph Lauren photographs!
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The jar of buttons!

But NOT the elk head. That one they tell me is on loan.

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I show all these manly goods to Wes because he is a man. He’s also a person with the inquisitive eye of a filmmaker-photographer-retired rapper. His eyeballs expand and emit rays of zing whenever he sees project potential. It is natural when in his company to want to show him every storied bit you can scratch together in the hope that he will do that peculiar eye thing again.

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He shows me things too. Things I have never noticed before like the pinecone shaped doorknob on the seventh floor. Wes explains that the pinecone is an important symbol to a lot of cultures and represents the pineal gland in the brain. It is believed by much of humanity that the pineal gland is where one’s soul enters and exits the body at the start and end of life. Also, the top of the head is where divine knowledge enters the body through the crown chakra.

I don’t know where he gathered all this knowledge, but it could have been back in Dodgeville where he was hatched amongst pinecones.

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Who is that?!

I show him the wall with the portraits of all the governors Wisconsin has ever known and Wes searches for Governor Dodge, the namesake of his hometown. None of the inscriptions below the portraits bear his name. Though there is one on the wall without an inscription, so Wes decides that one is him.   Either that or “A hipster guy who bartends over at the Sugar Maple.”

He told me about a movie he shot years ago in some abandoned houses of Dodgeville. He made his decision for the location when he went up to one and thought, “This house feels ghosty. ” He would tell his actors, “Let’s have you walk down this staircase and uh hopefully it doesn’t cave in.”   Sometimes the houses would smell weird, like animal death. After he made that movie he was traumatized from making that movie and didn’t make another one for a long time “Even though I tried like several times.”

He’s been more productive in amassing “Gourds of writings! Hoards of writings! Hoards of gourds of writings!” And now that he is retiring from rap he is ghostwriting an R&B album. “I’ve got it all mapped out, it’s a ‘triple triptych symphony.’ I’m working with three different producers and they’re each giving me 3D beats. Then they’re going to collaborate on each other’s beats so it will have a persistent feel to it with three different movements.” Wes explained this one to me thrice and in three different ways. Expect to hear the results nigh.

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The real Governor Dodge.

While writing this post I’ve looked up a picture of Governor Dodge. I think the unnamed fellow we found is more likely The Sugar Maple Hipster.

They Seem Very Busy

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, viagra the third major island

of the Philippines’ 7,107 total islands.

“I think every kid was inspired by Harry Potter,

he’s not perfect, he has a lot of flaws,

but the people around him make him strong.”

 

This management, accounting and law school graduate

has been in the states for a year now

working at her first job of all time

and has observed:

“Things are cleaner over here, purchase

and the people here are on their own always

instead of compounds of families all living together.

Things are very peaceful here,

but people have no time for other people

they seem very busy.”

 

She would tell me more

but a line has formed,

it is three in the afternoon

and everyone wants

a medium cappuccino

or some other brown dessert drink

that requires rituals & cream.

 

I go away to become busy

and am reminded of something

Joe Charney described before parting ways:

the ‘zombie grocery store,’

where Joe goes to get his food,

is a place where people go to ignore each other.

“They don’t mumble to themselves,

they pass each other,

but no action or reaction,

statement or thought,” he said.

People pushing their carts around

all demonstrate something he called, “the stare:

looking straight ahead, but not side-to-side.

They are unaware!

I often think that one of them could be stabbed

a little to the right of their field of vision

and they wouldn’t even notice.

Like horse blinders.”

 

I know what he was talking about,

but luckily here at the Pfister people greet each other

like in the elevator where I am asked,

“Hey, where’s your typewriter?”

And I say, “It’s heavy, I can’t lug it with me everywhere I go.”

“But heavy things are good for your muscles.”

“That’s true, but you see I have snake arms.”

I roll up my sleeve and expose my thin, straight arm.

The elevator rider laughs,

“Snake arms! I like that. I myself would call them ‘buggy whips.’”

 

Now there’s a term that is at least as old as the hotel,

pre automobile

and pre virtual fake reality network friendships.

‘Buggy whip.’

When horses wearing blinders

clomped down Wisconsin Avenue en masse.

 

I go back to the café and the line is finally gone.

I ask if I can take a picture of her tattoo,

and she says sure, it is not her face

though it has an eye of Horace

to represent restoration—

not bad luck

like some people think.

I think it’s pretty,

she got it here in the states

since in the Philippines it would be too controversial.

She tells me that both “The Da Vinci Code” author Dan Brown

and boy band “One Direction,”

have been banned from the country

she hopes one day to return to

though she now has a golden snitch

engraved on her arm to represent time flying.