A few weeks into December, a generous and innovative customer commissioned me to typewrite five short stories to give to their various family members on Christmas day. Being the purist that I am, I decided that all the drafts for these stories should also be crafted on a typewriter. After a week of writing five short stories and their numerous foul drafts on that unforgiving contraption, I felt compelled to unlock my shoulders. They were digging into my jaw and I was beginning to walk funny. Finally! The excuse I’d always wanted to visit the Pfister’s basement… that’s where they keep the WELL spa!
I ordered a 60-minute massage and they gave me a clipboard. Would I like any upgrades? Coconut cream kneaded into my scalp? A longer time for the shower? Deeper pressure? Fifteen extra minutes to just relax in the room by myself afterwards? And did I bring my own iPod or would I like to listen to nature sounds or classical music on the internet radio?
I am a wild animal in human form,
so nature sounds, please.
They demonstrate how to use the shower. It’s a little complicated because it features so many enjoyable options. There is the traditional handheld showerhead on the east wall, or one could bask in a cool mist or dance their way (this shower is large enough to accommodate the dance party of a medium sized family) into the south corner and experience six jets of scalding hot water coming at you from three different directions. I chose that last option and was utterly flustered with relaxation.
I learned from my masseuse that nine out of ten women have kinkeled shoulders like me. The expression is true in that that’s where “we carry the weight of the world.” Men, conversely, tend to strain their backs by holding all the tension in their buttocks. My guess is that many of them are just trying to grip the world from the bottom, but the world is too heavy to be carried real far that way.
Midway through the massage the nature sounds transitioned from a scene of crashing waves on the beach with euphoric seagulls to a bathroom sink sized brook that gurgles and tinkles. I had to ask her to change the station to classical music and let me use the plumbing before continuing. That is my only critique of the experience, aside from the fact that any massage that’s shorter than five and a half hours is way too short.
To make everything even better at the end they offered my choice of a glass of limewater, tea, mimosa or champagne to sip, and I could sit around as long as I wanted, reading magazines and snacking on fruit and nuts. I drank the chamomile.
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 to get to the Metro Market to a hotel guest. I estimate the guest to be about thirty years old by the way he has trimmed his beard. Another man in a baseball cap asks me if I am typing a letter to my mother, cialis I am not. I am writing a letter to the hotel lobby, or rather what is happening inside it, since the lobby itself might not be sentient in the way that you and I are. If it were though, I’d feel sorry for the rug. Here is this exquisite rug placed on top of the ornate wall-to-wall carpeting and people just walk right over it without respectfully acknowledging the brief yet fantastic change of terrain.
This is a place where no matter where you look there is something that you can get lost dazing into. I am going to stop typing now so that I may enter reverie as I consider the spatial delights experienced by the light emanating from all the electrical fixtures. I consider the spatial tension that exists between the empty chairs at the top of the stairs. If you stick around in this place long enough you will hear each quarter of the hour marked by the dingdong chime of a grandfather clock. Today I’ve typed here long enough to see a ball bearing pop off my typewriter and roll down the marble steps. The steps here remind me of salami. How delicious!
A man descends the stairs and I notice that he has clipped his sunglasses to the backside of his turtleneck collar. I have never seen anyone keep their sunglasses snug against their neck vertebrae like that before. Someone loudly asks, “Anymore gifts?” Their companion loudly replies, “We are up to $1500,000 now.” People wheel their baggage through. It is funny to think about how 20 years ago all this luggage would have been lugged in without wheels. When I was a kid it still had not occurred to society to put wheels on suitcases. We have come a long way. I leave my typewriter to go sit by the fire for a while. My eyes close. Val, the bartender asks if I want anything, but no, I just want to sit by the fire. “That’s fine, people have been doing that since 1893,” says Val. As I sit I hear a pair of middle-aged women in the midst of some profuse giggling. I walk over to them. Pam & Kate explain how they just got back from a Photoshop conference and are now feeling giddy. The Happy Hour has descended. Roc at the desk has told me that the lobby bar is where Marilyn Monroe liked to sip her drinks. The stairwell is where Elvis Presley stood to graciously wave at everyone. Roc himself spent an hour and a half discussing international politics with Margaret Thatcher. Roc also said, “The hotel never used to allow dogs in here like they do now. Dogs love the elevator here! Each floor has it’s own bouquet of smells that the dog catches whiff of as they go past in the elevator. I wish you could interview a dog and get them to tell you what it is that they smell on each floor.” Hmm, good idea.