(parenthetically speaking)

a random gal’s random thoughts about nothing and everything in general

When I Check Out, I Like to Check In July 19, 2009

I love hotels. Love, love, love them. Like Tiny Tim—who I had the pleasure of interviewing from his Des Moines hotel domicile back in 1994—I think I could even live in a hotel.

Just think, they’d be no bed to make and there’d always be someone to pick up after you. You could crank the AC down as low as you like and use all the hot water you want and not have to worry about huge electric bills. And room service when you get the munchies at 1 a.m.? Hello! Not to mention all the free ice you want.

To me, there’s just something exotic about staying in a hotel. Even in the most rinky-dink, cookie-cutter chain hotels. It somehow makes me feel, um, international. Even when I’m just shacking up for the night in some hole-in-the-wall along an isolated stretch of interstate in Winnemucca, Nevada.

For one thing, I always sleep better in hotels. Maybe it’s those dark, heavy drapes they always seem to have that block out even the slightest hint of daylight—so much so that if you didn’t know better, you’d think the sun had exploded, enveloping the planet in a veil of black while you were busy dreaming about lollipops and unicorns.


Here's hoping there's room at the inn.

The best I can recollect, my love affair with hotels started when I was 16, when my brother and I were driving in my old brown Toyota Tercel from Texas to Arizona to visit my aunt. I’d drive until I couldn’t drive anymore and then we’d stop at some cheap motel called the All-Nighter or something like that, and then start all over again the next day. Being that it was just the two of us, I felt like such a grown-up walking up to the clerk and saying, “I’d like a room for the night.” Actually, I can’t believe they didn’t look at the two of us and ask us where our parents were and refuse to rent us a room. Because, trust me, I didn’t look then like most 16-year-olds do today—like they’re 18 going on 25. I was lucky if I passed for 13.

In the years since, I’ve stayed in some really nice hotels. The Fairmont in Banff, the Peabody in Memphis, the Owners Suites at Signature in Vegas, to name a few. I’ve also stayed at some real fleabags. Like the time when my mom and sister and I had to scramble to find a room in Galveston, Texas, in the middle of the night after our tent blew down in a storm. I can still picture that tacky red velvet bedspread, the nasty, dingy brown shag carpet, and the live wires coming out of the wall. It was not in the least what you’d call exotic, but it did keep us from having to sleep in the women’s bathroom at our campground all night, where we had retreated after our Coleman SunDome took off in a whirlwind like Dorothy’s house in a Kansas tornado. It was such a pit, the three of us still laugh about to this day. So see, even the crappiest hotels can create lasting memories.

Another reason I love hotels is that they, at least for me, serve as a much-needed escape from the ordinary. I mean, don’t you ever get tired of sleeping in your same old bed night after night? Staring at those faded paisley sheets with the burgundy trim that you’ve had since your thirties?

Sometimes when I’m particularly down or stressed, or some frightening combination of the two, I want nothing more than to check into a hotel, pull the covers up over my head, and get away from the realities of the world. I did that very thing when my precious cat Harold, whom I’d had for 20 long years, got sick and had to be put down. I left the vet’s office, got in my car, and just started driving. I didn’t know, or care, where I was going. I just needed to get away. And rather than turning around and heading home at some point, I simply checked into a hotel for the night. No toothbrush, no night clothes, no nothing. And I think in some small way it may have actually helped start the healing process. (Now some of you will call me crazy for having such an intense reaction to my cat dying, but that’s another blog for another day. Besides, you never met Harold. If you had, you would have done the same thing.)

Anyway, the point is, that when it comes to hotels, it’s like Martha Stewart says: “It’s a good thing.” Of course, Martha would never be caught dead in a beat-up old motel room in Galveston, Texas, with a red velvet bedspread and brown shag carpeting. She doesn’t know what she’s missing.

To further prove I love hotels, check out the column I write about them at Examiner.com.


When Good Service Goes Bad, Part 2 January 12, 2009

Okay, here’s a new one.


I made my first trip to the gargantuan BrandsMart store by my office yesterday (which, FYI, I found extremely overwhelming in a gawdy Vegas sort of way), and when I went to check out, I had no sooner handed over my purchases, than the cashier said, “Please check YES or NO on the screen.” There, on the screen of the thingy you swipe your credit card through, was the question, “Was your cashier friendly today?” Well, um, damn, I’ve barely started my transaction, should how can I say? Plus, I’ve got to pick up the stylist and check the appopriate box right in front of the checker who’s about to complete my transaction. Wouldn’t checking “no” be like harassing your waiter right before he’s about to serve your food?

And this after I was already annoyed, because before they would even give me my new $39.99 router to take to the checkout stand, they were asking me for my phone number. Why, I ask you, do they need your name, rank, and serial number just so you can buy something? I mean, if I have the cash, or my credit card goes through, what the heck else do you need? Before you know it, they be wanting our fingerprints and a pint of blood before we can even buy a stinkin’ pack of gum!


A Pat on the Back December 31, 2008

images1 I’m kind of proud of myself. Yesterday I did something I’ve never been able to do. I actually came up with an analogy. I was writing a review on the website VacationPlanning.net, and I compared visiting Las Vegas with dating the bad boy in high school. I said, “You know the risks, but you can’t help but hop on the back of his motorcycle and go for a ride.”

Sure, it’s a small thing, and maybe not even that great of an analogy, but I’ve always been envious of the people who could come up with gems like “Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze” (that one courtesy http://tsl.vox.com/library/post/25-great-analogies.html) seemingly off the top of their head. Again, it’s a small victory, and a very personal one, but aren’t those sometimes the best kind? Like the freshest flower in a summer bouquet, or catching a green light when you’re in a hurry, or … wait, maybe I’d better stop while I’m ahead.