Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
7000 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
I don’t know how people do it. They live in Orange County but work in LA so their daily commute up and down the 405 is the equivalent of what it would take to get across three states in any other part of the country, four if it's New England. Maybe it's not the distance, since the actual mileage from Santa Monica to Newport Coast is not more than 40 miles, but drive-time, which is about 2½ hours, one way. The fact that “drive-time” even exists as a concept is evidence enough that everyone should get job like mine and work on the Internets.
The one good thing about the drive however, is that my Valentine’s Eve commute provided me with 2½ hours of pure thought, unadulterated except when some 18-wheeler is careening across four lanes of traffic to make an exit within 50 yards. I never have 2½ straight hours to do nothing but think. When I am awake, I am on, burning at ten thousand kiloampliwatts; I am blogging, emailing, IM-ing, working, or doing other some such random stuff related to busy-ness. The only time I am not doing those things, I am sleeping, and I have absolutely no control over my brain when I sleep. I hate that, but that’s nature. My life is such that my brain is completely on or completely off; there is no dimmer switch to get me to that pensive point in between.
So I had 2 ½ hours to myself in a tiny capsule of space inside my head on Valentine’s Eve. Guess what I thought about.
Nothing! I didn’t have deep, philosophically provocative thoughts. I didn’t muse over my life’s direction. Though I was tempted in the beginning near LAX, I didn’t run through the task checklist in my head. I have this problem when I am afforded 2½ to do nothing but think. I don’t think. I fantasize. I see things in my head play out like random scenes from different movies, all different genres, all different stories, all different people.
I saw her in my head. She’s a siren.
Sweet, feminine soft waves of hair look like an ebony halo, but she’s no angel. The true wicked vixen is wearing a dress made of hell-fire and black patent leather skyscraper heels. Sharp stiletto. Fiercely pointed toes. Double-sided weapons.
She’s half sitting, half lying on her side on a luxurious calfskin leather settee (seriously, “settee” is the only appropriate term here) with her legs outstretched, but carefully crossed in feigned modesty. It’s meticulous, calculated placement. Everything about her is so totally disarmingly natural, and yet so totally unnatural. She’s leaning back, but her head is bent forward, looking over the far edge of her glass. It’s not a martini glass, for she doesn’t drink such a silly drink. She has her long, lady-like fingers wrapped around a vodka on the rocks, no twist, no garnish, no stirring straw. Every so often, she ever so slightly pulls her ring finger away and taps the glass with her perfectly manicured blood red nail. It’s a habit. But it's conscious. It’s a distraction.
On the cushion in front of her, there’s a small black box. Every so often, she rests the arm that’s holding her drink on the settee and uses her free hand to lift the lid. She never lets go of the drink. She slips her hand into the box and a moment later she pulls out…a man. A doll. A plaything. She smiles. " She bats her eyelashes. She has another cocktail, maybe dinner, maybe...? And as soon as she’s done, she whispers "Baby," folds him up, and puts him right back in the box with the rest of them. She amuses herself, playing a game with all her dolls. She keeps men like chocolates in a box. She’s picky. She’s fickle. She doesn’t know what she wants so she has to have them all.
I want to be that girl.
When I’m at the Roosevelt Hotel, I am that girl.
I hate to admit it y’all, but sometimes, I love to imagine myself as the glamorous, yet mysterious siren I imagine, and all I want to do is sail effortlessly past the guard at the door, glide across the lobby in 4” heels, leave a soft ripple of hushed whispers in my wake, and sink into the luxurious atmosphere that is the lounge inside the Roosevelt Hotel, Teddy’s.
Driving up Hollywood Boulevard, you can’t tell what’s going on inside the hotel, for the tourist-heavy chaos that kicks up dirt and grime into a swirly whirl on the street and surroundings. Even the building itself is old, yellowed, and looks like it may crumble with the slightest quiver on the Richter. But when you pull into the driveway on the backside and valets with tiny wires dripping out of their ears into their collars step up to the car, you know you’re escaping into a tiny, tourist-free bubble.
The interior of the hotel is a series of small, moody spaces strung together with dark, narrow corridors. All paths lead to a large open space that looked almost like a strangely animated still-life: The Beautiful People purposely positioned on luxe seating, gorgeous girls draped like accessories on men standing around the perimeter of the room, scanning, looking, sipping cocktails. I felt "watched" as we crossed through the scenery into the smaller room on the other side.
r room feels like the luxurious library of an unknown billionaire, very similar to, but slightly less eclectic, than the vibe at Citizen Smith. It is just as sexy.
The scene in the Tropicana Bar outside is just as "beautiful," but with a DJ spinning, feels more energetic than the hipster quiet inside. I've been to the Roosevelt Hotel before for daytime parties by the pool. It was all canned tan chic-lets in wedge heeled espadrilles, hot pants, string bikini tops and designer sunglasses. I sat on one of the sticky patio chaise lounges and melted into the background, noting that yes, darkness makes everyone, and everything, look better. As the night wore on, the strong drinks were adding to the blurring of beauty.
That was me. That girl. Sitting on the patio chaise, sipping a cocktail, imagining herself a siren among men, but hiding in the shadow of the palm trees. I'll be back, if only to live the fantasy in my head.
** a year ago today, we set the tivo for graze anatomy - the 6th ed. of dine & dish **