Tales from the Snowtel

My last job had me staying in Hiltons all over this great nation of ours and I have racked up a ton of points to become a *drum roll*

DIAMOND MEMBER

That’s pronounced “DIAHAMOND” member.

DIAHAMONDS! DIAHAMONDS!

DIAHAMONDS! DIAHAMONDS!

Which I guess puts me at “High Roller” status for the Hilton crowd. To me it means I spent some days working 16-18 hours in a city far from home and others trying to get my HDMI cord to work with the big screen TV in my hotel room so I could watch Battlestar Galactica on Netflix. No one aspires to be a member of a hotel loyalty club. You just kind of fall into it. So those points were put to work for a cozy one night “Snowtel” room five minutes from work.

One night.
One.

I wake up to a frozen wonderland and the news that everything is closed. Thinking, well I can’t check out and drive back in this, I figured I’d book another night.

Thus began Tales from the Snowtel:

5:30am: I wake up in a panic from a dream where I was making out with David Guintoli from Grimm, but sadly had to leave for more pressing matters.

Sorry, David.

I guess those pressing matters were worrying if I had work or not. I didn’t.

Back to sleep.

7am: Up. Showered. Dressed. This is what happens when you spend months waking up at 4am for work. You are an insane person who wakes up ungodly early for everything. My DIAHAMOND member status gives me exclusive access to the Executive Lounge which I imagine to be full of old white guys in suits.

It was.

So I go in and see an entire spread of eggs, fresh fruit, coffee, fancy tea, and pastries. I help myself to eggs and some fruit, careful not to get greedy. With my light breakfast haul I ask the hotel lady how much it costs. A businessman chuckled behind me while he fixed his coffee.

“It’s free. You should get more.”

Free? Like free FREE? Um, no. This is not free. I must pay someone for this fancy breakfast. The hotel lady nodded and said, “Yes, it’s free.” Still feeling like someone was going to tackle me and demand payment, I went back to my room and ate my free food. I’m sure that businessman had a good story to tell at his meeting today,

“They are just letting any old poor into the Executive Lounge these days…”

9am: News reporters are sticking rulers in the snow all over the DC / MD / VA area and ecstatic that we got more than a dusting. Or just ecstatic they got a forecast right for a change. I can’t stand to hear the same thing over and over so I switch to HBO. Hilton has about 10 ESPN channels for the dudes. Bravo, E!, Lifetime, TLC, and whatever other channels play The Real Housewives of Wherethefuckever for the ladies. Then Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network for the wee ones.

The Hilton: Perpetuating gender stereotypes one TV channel at a time.

So I switch to their only movie channel and find a Rosie O’Donnell stand up special. A current one. I still find that broad funny after all these years. It’s also better than watching those daytime talk shows where women scream for toasters and the latest book by Dr. Phil signed and under their seats. If you want to get information out of me for anything, play an episode of The View and I will tell you ANYTHING. I’ll confess to shit I haven’t even done for you to turn it off.

12pm: I’m hungry again. Like super hungry. However, did I mention I was totally broke? Yes, Sallie Mae cleaned me out so I had about $10 with which to live for the next 24 hours until I get paid on Wednesday. I fished the “emergency low blood sugar” granola bar out of my purse and ate it like a cavewoman while watching Belle. I briefly contemplate escaping this “Snowtel” torture and hiring a tauntaun to get home.

I prefer the personal service of a tauntaun versus the commuter bus feel of an At-At.

I prefer the personal service of a tauntaun versus the commuter bus feel of an At-At.

2pm: I decide to head down to the gym to run for the first time in two months. On the elevator I met a nice German woman and her son. We chat about Germany, she lived in Heidelberg (SO DID I!), and I got to practice the four words I remembered from German classes in elementary school. She was lovely and I headed to the gym after making a new fruend.

The gym was just as fancy as my free breakfast and completely deserted.
Score.

I picked a treadmill and proceeded to start it up knowing that I’d probably last about 10 minutes before I gave up and wanted someone to strangle me with a gym towel. The running gods must have had a snow day too as I hit my stride 20 minutes in. Yeah, bitches. I looked around at the other treadmills and noticed that a disturbing number of them were tuned to Fox News. Had all of those businessman been working out in here before their free breakfast like some sort of dystopian novel come to life? I imagine them all running in unison as Pharrell’s “Happy” is piped over a loudspeaker on repeat.

4pm: I have an hour before the lounge opens for hors d’oeuvres. There will be cheese. I know this because hors d’oeuvres means cheese platters in French.

It does not, but shut up and go with it.

Some Liam Neeson movie is on. He’s on a plane and saving people. I wonder if it’s the movie of what happened when he was on his way to find his kidnapped daughter in that other movie I like to call, “Don’t Go to Europe with a Slutty Friend”. My mind wanders to the kind of cheese they will put out. Will it be cubed? If there are toothpicks cubed is hard to grab off the plate. You’re forced to figure out how many cubes fit on one toothpick and next thing you know you have about 5 cheese cube kabobs on your plate and people are staring. They’ll definitely have cheddar…but will there be brie? God, I hope there’s brie.

5pm: There is cheese. It is sliced. I fill an entire plate, go back to my room, and devour it all in .5 seconds. Of course I needed more, but how long do you wait? I was JUST in there. Do I change my shirt? Will those businessman, worker drones recognize me and report me to our Cylon overlords for eating an excessive amount of free cheese?

Then I decided I didn’t give a shit and went back for more.

7pm: Rosie is on again. My belly is full of free cheese and carrots. I settle in with my tea and a cookie for the night.

“And I heard the work drones exclaim as they marched out of sight, “Happy Snow Day to all, and to all a good night…at exactly 7:30 or you will be forced to work in the fields.”

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Coyote Ugly

There I was in the final group of girls in the running for a chance to dance and bartend at DC’s new Coyote Ugly bar.

We had finished our dance and now it was time to “stand out”. There was a bucket of water that we were encouraged to use like we were in Cancun. Not a hotel ballroom in the middle of DC. It was 2004 so all of us were dressed in matching Britney Spears style low rise jeans and belly baring shirts. Some sported the trucker hats I could never make work on me. How was I going to stand out in a sea of sparkly, pink belly button rings and bedazzled jeans?

Dump the whole bucket of water on me and dance around like my own version of Flashdance of course.

You know the movie…the bar where they don’t serve water, but a healthy dose of tits and ass. Fully clothed of course.

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Piper Perabo is an innocent Jersey girl who moves to New York to pursue a music career. What performer can’t identify with that? She ends up bartending at Coyote Ugly, a raucous bar filled with drunk frat boys where the bartenders are hot, buxom, and total badass chicks.

When the film was a moderate success, I’m sure a bunch of dudes in Ed Hardy t-shirts got together and thought,

“Boobs, dancing, alcohol…fully clothed of course. Let’s open more. It’ll be like a strip club, but not.”

The movie was already based on a real bar so why not open more? Then some more. Until Washington D.C. was gifted one of its own. A local radio station staged a contest to hire bartenders. So I bought a push up bra and figured I might as well use what I have to get a job that could make me some real money finally.

Yay, feminism?

The first round of auditions was essentially to walk in, show us you can move, and you’re in. I came in and shook it to some BeyoncĂ©. No one can resist the urge to shake it when B is on. Even if you’re not that into her, you shake it. My clothing choices were deemed worthy enough to be called back for the next round a week later in front of a panel of judges. We would be judged on dance, flare style bartending tricks, and I guess boob size. Who really knows?

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Me, circa then.

So there I was in the final round, drenched, wanting to be noticed. My flare skills left much to be desired as I dropped the cups everywhere in the round before. This was my only chance to gain some ground.

Did it work?

No, it didn’t.

My name was not called in the end. Although, an Angela was and I ran up to the judge to make sure they weren’t mispronouncing my name. Alas, there was an actual Angela present who wore her cut off t-shirt and trucker hat like she just fell off the cover of Maxim.

After the bar opened I was called in a few times to dance on the bar as “filler”, meaning not a core dancer/bartender, just a girl to keep the customers busy while they poured drinks. A few weeks in I realized this was not going to lead to a steady gig. Plus my classmates were all studying in exotic locales like Greece and Peru while I was shaking my ass at a bar in downtown DC for nothing.

What the hell was I doing?

A year later I was walking the halls of The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. My professor was head of the Greek and Roman Antiquities department there and got me an internship working for Regine Schulz, curator of Ancient Egyptian Art. She immediately put me to work gathering research for a mini exhibit on Ancient Egyptian magical amulets. I immediately put myself to work doing impressions of her thick German accent.

She vas a lovely voman.

Ten years later, I look back at vain, rebellious 25 year old me who didn’t care if she got ogled if it made her a few more bucks an hour, and wonder if I would change that moment. I definitely cringe when I think of the contest, but it was a blessing in disguise to not be deemed “experienced” enough to work at Coyote Ugly.

It left me room to be noticed not for my cleavage, but for my mind.

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Love Letters

Out of all the letters this week, this was the hardest to write. I thought of posting it tomorrow to coincide with the holiday, but thought with all the rotten luck that has gone into this impossible situation, isn’t today more appropriate? Tomorrow I’ll have the day to reflect, buy myself something, and eat lots of pizza.

You know, a normal Saturday.

Thank you to everyone for reading these and letting me work through some things via my writing.

So without further ado, the conclusion of Love Letters…

Dear Guy Who Changed Everything,

Sometimes I wonder if I will always refer to my life as “Before you” and “After you”. Will I constantly compare other men to you? Will there be a future man who reads these and doesn’t ask about the other guys, but wonders who you were and what you meant to me? What would I say to him?

I think it might sound something like this:

“I spent a long time floating around by myself meeting people and never feeling any real connection with anyone. Or that I’d met “that” person. Then, through a series of unrelated events, boom, there he was. It was entirely unexpected. You know how space is this crazy place where asteroids are constantly crashing into each other and blasting chunks of themselves into other planets? Stars are imploding; black holes are swallowing everything in their path. The chaos is unrelenting, and up close, it’s a mess. Yet, if you pull back and look at the universe from a distance, it’s quite beautiful.

I think it’s a great metaphor for life.

Sometimes a person crashes into you and they change you.

Up close, it’s messy and beyond complicated. Parts of you are flying away, some you are glad to get rid of: the cynicism, the hopelessness, the loneliness. Others you wish would stay: the rational part and the walls around your heart.

Then it ends.

Not with harsh words or arguments, but due to extenuating circumstances beyond your control.

Those walls that were blasted away are quickly rebuilt and you try to move on as best you can. Time passes, you get some distance, learn the lessons, and are able to look back and appreciate how lovely it all was.”

Having to say goodbye is never easy, especially to someone you care deeply for. No one is ever ready to do that. It’s even harder when you are left to do it on your own and you never thought it would happen in the first place. I think that’s why we always just said “tbc” at the end of our talks. They were never really over…just suspended until a later time.

I hope you found that piece of yourself you lost and I wish you every happiness.

In the meantime, this is still a spectacular view from one of my favorite places.

Angelle

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Love Letters

Part five brings us to someone who I still think about every day and wish I could have done things differently.

Dear Guy Who Should/Shouldn’t Have Been,

I don’t always remember the first day I meet someone. I will remember certain days that made an impression on me, but never that first moment I meet someone.

You’re the exception.

I walked into Phil’s house, saw you sitting there, and thought, “Hi…who are you?” I knew immediately that was trouble. Whenever I think, “Who is this boy?”, heartache and tears are soon to follow. I think I was fooling around with someone I shouldn’t have been, as was usual in those days. We had stopped at Phil’s house to hang out for a bit. Was it around Christmas? I can’t recall, but I do know you made me laugh so hard that night.

You were smart, cute, and lightning quick with the jokes. If you can keep up with me that’s always a plus. Unfortunately, at the end of the night you said you were moving to Los Angeles in a few weeks.

Hopes deleted.

Then, well, a few months? A year? You came back, but you weren’t the same. You hated LA, you got depressed, and all of that came back with you. You were still funny and cute, but there was an edge to it now. I was disappointed, but thought it was a phase and that you’d come out of it soon. Years went by, we never dated, but always stayed in touch. You invited me out countless times; I declined countless times, due to working three jobs and going to school. After I turned you down yet again for my obligations you said, “With as much as you work and go to school you should be rich with four degrees.” I wish. We hung out a few times. Every time I wanted that spark back.

Every. Single. Time.

It just wasn’t there.

You once invited me out for a real date. I had a panic attack on the phone, you got offended and took your invitation back. I moved to Paris and further complicated things by being lonely and pulling you into that with me. Then, as people do, I made a really bad choice…

and we haven’t spoken since.

I spent a really long time wanting those feelings to be there and I think if this has taught me anything, it’s that you can’t force it if it’s not there, even when you want so badly for it to be. I always say if a genie appeared and granted me three wishes, one would have been to have those feelings back from that first night.

Wherever you are I hope it’s happy, doing something you love, and no longer dragged down by all of your demons. The film looks awesome :)

XOXO,
A

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Love Letters

This is part four of my Love Letters retrospective. I’ve grouped a couple of men into this one.

Dear Countless Booty Calls,

You taught me:

-Never trust that you are the only one they are seeing

-That if they are not taking you out during they daytime, there’s a problem (or a girlfriend)

-Just coming over to watch a movie is NEVER just coming over to watch a movie

-It may also involve some pirate Puerto Rican rum that no human should be consuming

-That I don’t like your band

-That I’m pretty sure you’re not going to be famous

-That I’m not listening to you talk about yourself again, actually I’m thinking about what I’m going to have for lunch tomorrow

-If you prefer car magazines to reading books, we just aren’t going to work out

-To put my cell phone on mute at 11pm

No x’s or o’s (you got plenty and far too many of those),
A

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Love Letters

This is part 3 of my Love Letters retrospective. Some of the guys from my past really had an impact on me and taught me lessons I carry with me to this day. So I wanted to write them little notes letting them know that they were special to me. They will remain unnamed, but they all made a significant impression on my life.

Dear Guy Who Taught Me About Nice Guys,

You were there through some tough stuff. You were there when I was pretty sure I had lost my mind. I went from spending 2 years with a guy who couldn’t bring himself to buy me lunch, to a guy who couldn’t wait to take me places and show me stuff I’d never seen before. Before I met you, I was not anyone people would have considered “cool”. I was a theatre nerd whose idea of branching out was turning up The Beastie Boys really loud to drown out my suitemate’s 5th listen to “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” so she could practice her “singing”. Then you came along and I was hanging out with the cool kids at The Black Cat and listening to bands I’d never heard of.

There were mornings you’d either left early for work, or you were still asleep and I would pull a comic book off of your shelf and start reading. It didn’t matter if I had picked one in the middle of a story, they were fascinating. Several years later while reading The Sandman I recognized it as one of those volumes I had spent an early morning reading while waiting for you to wake up.

Unfortunately, I will also never forget how it ended and how I learned I was capable of breaking a heart. One that cared about me very much.

It would be years before we spoke again and buried what was.

I should have treated you better and I will never be able to apologize enough for that. However, I’m glad that these years have given us a friendship and you a lovely fiancĂ©e :) May all your days be happy ones full of bands I’ve never heard of, black nail polish, wallet chains, and super awesome mix CDs.

XOXO,
A

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Love Letters

This is part 2 of my Love Letters retrospective where I write letters to the unnamed guys in my past who have had an impact on me. I’ll share things I remember about them and the things they taught me. No sordid details, just memories and lessons.

Enjoy.

Dear Boy with the Simba Hair,

I’m sure you know who you are by that introduction alone. There has never been a love/hate/hate/hate/tolerate relationship quite like ours was in high school, despite never having dated. Actually despite you wanting to date everyone BUT me. I don’t have many memories from high school that don’t involve us in a show and me endlessly pining away for something that was never to be. You made me laugh, you were the first to notice my Timon “Tastes like chicken” t-shirt (I wish I still had it because I would wear THE SHIT out of it). I’ll never forget after a run through of Oklahoma when the choreographer made us hold hands during notes, because Curly and Laurey needed to like each other.

Really, really awkward.

However, I grew to appreciate your humor and alternately be absolutely repulsed by your political views. Then I remembered the last night of Hair when I saw you crying during the finale when Jane came up onstage to sing the last number with us. I knew then that underneath all the inappropriate jokes and Republican propaganda is a warm hearted guy who I’ll always have a soft spot for.

XOXO,
A

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