T R A V E L It has long been a secret desire of mine to spend my life living in a hotel. It doesn’t matter where, although the larger the city, the more appealing that life becomes. If money were no object, if family could re-adjust the values I planted in them about hearth and home, kith and kin, yeah, I could live indefinitely in a hotel. Sure, having your room cleaned, your laundry washed, and your bed made by someone else every day, not to mention the convenience of hotel restaurants, room service, reduced long-term rates and all that, makes it a sweet trade off for utility bills and fees we pay to “sit tight,” but there’s more to it than that. Hotel life isn’t for people with children, dependent elderly parents, or collectors of Hummel figurines, but it works for some people.
It doesn’t matter in what city I’ve stayed, or what hotel. As long as they have a bar the clientele never changes. There’s the woman in the slinky dress sitting on the corner of the bar sipping a split of champagne. Is she a hooker? Hard to tell. There’s the older businessman, distracted, but eyeing the women from either the end of the bar or from a table while he tries to look important as he makes text after text. There’s the loudmouth who bellows about his room, the service, the price of the drinks, anything he can think of. Anything to be noticed by everyone else, who largely ignores him. He’s the one who pisses off the bartender, who angrily throws the empty beer bottles in the trash with a deafening clang while she impatiently watches the last fifteen minutes of her shift tick by on the clock. There’s the couple, usually sitting at a corner table kissing and nuzzling, preparing to go upstairs to their room for a night of wild monkey love. There’s the dad who slipped down to the bar for a beer (no glass) after his wife and kids finally fell alseep in their room. There’s the group of conventioneers complaining about the traffic and sweating themselves through glasses of Jim Beam and gobbling the overpriced burger plate while trying to outdo each with how early their wake up calls are going to come in. And then there’s me, sitting at the bar, largely invisible, listening to the conversations and studying the human condition.
Yeah. That’s what I love about hotel life. It’s not about the room or the service or the little soaps, it’s about the people. Forget the gym, forget the pool, forget the spa. The bar is the only place you’ll encounter hotel humanity.
Steph Waller is an author and composer. Books One and Two (With A Dream and With A Bullet) of her rock and roll series, Beyond The Bridge, takes places in late 70s London. Read more at Bucksnort Chronicles and SKWaller.com.