You don’t want to know how or why I ended up staying the night in downtown LA at the Hilton Checkers hotel after becoming sufficiently buzzed on Citron and soda during Happy Hour at Nick & Stef’s. Sufficiently. So sufficiently that I walked from the restaurant to the hotel. Yes, p-a-i-n, walked. It isn’t more than a few blocks, but in Pretty Woman-esque black knee high stiletto-heeled boots, it sure as hell felt like I was walking the streets for hours. Oh, no, you don’t want to know about my street walking.
Or maybe you do want to know, in which case I will only say that whatever dirty thoughts are running through your mind should be deleted immediately. I’m not a hooker. I just play one on reality TV.
It’s so much fun to keep people guessing, isn't it?
Really, there is no guessing to be done. I wish I could say that I have mad nunchuck skills that won the heart of some high-powered suit at Nick & Stef’s bar with the potential to be a sugar daddy, but I don’t. I wish I could say that I have badass bow-hunting skills that captured the attention of Count Corporate Cassanova who invited me up to a corporate suite for, oh I don’t know, a conference call, but I don’t. Guys only want girls who have great skills, and I have nothing but a pretty face. It’s a horrible curse that I’ve simply learned to accept.
And no, I am not a gold-digger. Neither do I actually wish that I could be one of those women who can successfully pick up random men in bars and clubs and have the freedom to spend the night with them on a whim, despite all the rank and nasty thoughts I spew out onto this blog. I stayed the night at the Checkers Hotel, but it was planned that way.
So now that I have spit on my sullied reputation and wiped off all the mud with the edge of my shirt, I can get really down and dirty ;)
It is obvious that the Hilton Checkers is an older hotel that has received quite a few facelifts in its time. Unlike sweeping circular driveways that lead through grand glass doors into lofty lobbies with sleek chic minimalist décor of brand new hotels, big Hilton, kor boutique, or otherwise, the entrance to the Checkers is modest. It isn’t quite hidden, as the façade of the building surrounding the door is ornately sculpted and easily identifiable, but it’s certainly no Regent Beverly Wilshire.
I stood back, taking in little bits of the Checkers’ attempt at romantic décor. I ignored the fact that the flowers were silk, and simply gazed into the candles, somewhat happily lost in a little fantasy. This was a quick getaway, a naughty little escape, and we had gone nowhere but downtown Los Angeles. I watched him from across the low, narrow lobby as he handled the process of checking-in, and was surprised at myself – grateful, but at the same time melancholy. There was a time when *I* was the person in charge. I was the person who was resposible for “handling things.” I was the boss of everyone and everything. I planned, I made reservations, I confirmed, I carried the tickets. But somewhere between my partner-track consulting career that I left behind and now, I became a princess. I am not sure how I feel about myself. It is refreshing to be the one receiving tender loving care and undivided attention, but at the same time, I felt I had lost something. Power. Edge. Drive.
I didn’t want to think about it right then, and I haven’t decided yet how I feel about it.
He walked around the table to “collect” me. As I walked alongside him toward the elevators holding only my purse and looking at him, again I felt the same mix opposing feelings. He was carrying my bag for me, because he certainly didn’t expect a little girl like me to lug my own big, heavy bag, over-packed by at least three days. It wasn’t a question. It wasn’t even spoken. That’s just the way it was. It was a wonderful feeling to be treated like a princess, and to know that it wasn’t contrived because that’s just the way he is. But in the strangest way, I also felt emasculated. For 30 years, I have always carried my own bags. If they were too heavy, then too bad; I should have packed more sensibly.
I felt a faint flutter of excitement as we ascended in the elevator, partially from the heady Happy Hour buzz that that had not yet begun to fade, partially from the motion of the elevator, and partially from just being there with him. I was giddy, a little nervous – the same way teenagers get when they skip class to go makeout under the bleachers. I probaby giggled softly, too, but I don’t want to admit something so utterly girlie like that. Oops.
No matter in what city I am, no matter which hotel it is, even if I have been there before, I am always overcome with the same sense of excitement when I step into the room. There is just something about a hotel room that speaks of a life of leisure. Not every hotel room is luxuriously extravagant, but it doesn’t matter.cRoom service. Maids. Endless fresh towels. A secret special refrigerator with naughty over-priced snacks.
The night was still young, so we simply dropped off our bags, freshened up (and by “freshen up,” I mean “looked at myself in the mirror to make sure I was still presentable to society”), then headed back out. We had no idea where we going. We were in downtown LA. We ended up in the lobby bar so that we wouldn’t be straying too far from the room. We might have exchanged mischievous smiles, but I am not sure.
There was nothing particular about the lobby bar that distinguished it from any other hotel lobby bar. Even the clientele was typical. We sat down one seat over from a lone man at the end of the bar who was writing in a small notebook. Occasionally he looked up at the soundless tv screen to catch a play or check a score, but otherwise, he was busy. Stuck in a city that is not his home, worki
ng because he didn’t have a reason to fly back for the weekend like his colleagues who are married or attached. I have done that. I have been there. It’s a lonely existence.
The bar top glowed yellow, a nice effect that I’ve seen before, but a waste in a hotel lobby bar that is patronized by people who are only there to escape the loneliness of their two Queens or one King. We ordered a beer for him, another cocktail for me, and though the beefy feast had been enough at Nick & Stef’s we ordered something off the sadly typical, wholly uninspired bar menu.
Whatever it was, it was horrible. The menu had said Deep-fried Baby Artichokes and Mozzarella, but it was hardly recognizable as that, neither by name nor by taste. They were breaded little bundles, greasy, sloppily thrown on the plate with frisee, and served with a dipping sauce that tasted like mayonnaise mixed wtih garlic powder. Strangely, I didn’t care. My attentionw as completely taken by him. We chattered. We were silent. We ate. We laughed. It was a moment where the details are uninteresting, the topic of conversation is not remembered, but you realize that this is how you want it to be forever. Comfortable. Easy. You never have to try.
We spent the night at the Checkers Hotel. It was fabulous.
I will probably never go back.
Hilton Checkers Hotel
535 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90071
** a year ago today, i conjugated verbs in spanish **