As I landed on the tarmac at O’Hare, my phone rang. It was the Hilton where I was staying. They said they had given my room away. Well they hadn’t given it away, they’d sold it. I took a cab to the hotel thinking I’d talk my way into a room. In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the guy talked his way into a whole suite and he isn’t as cute as me. It was 1 am; it was cold in the Windy City. I felt sure that they would honor my reservation somehow. In movies, hotels have special rooms they give to special people. As it turned out, I am not of those special people.
I was not the only one at the hotel whose room had been sold. Fog and cold weather had planes coming in late to Chicago which is booked for a conference. This couple was there with their baby girl, they also were turned out into the cold. The guy explained that at midnight they sell the rooms for more money.
The guy who works at the front desk, Steven, was uniquely unhelpful. He just said, Good luck. With a number of calls, I found a room at the Embassy Suites. When I got there, that room was gone. They pitched right in and called around the city and then they called a cab and took me to Suissotel where I am now for the same amount I was paying. This is a four star hotel. It has my favorite thing in a hotel, really comfortable beds and robes. I am crazy for the hotel robes. It feels like I am a queen when I’m sitting in a comfy hotel bed in one of those thick white robes and it reminds me of that great film Beverly Hills Cop where Eddie Murphy stole the hotel robes. Of course, nobody important in Hollywood goes to the Beverly Hills Hotel any more since the Sultan of Brunei owns it. The problem with that thinking is that if you investigate the evil corporate ownership of every hotel, restaurant and grocery store in any big city, you’d find that there are a lot of evil corporations you don’t know about. I’ve done my share of drinking in the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel but I’m fine not going there any more.
At any rate, after this adventure I’m going to get an email confirmation that they are holding my room before each trip. I would rather not have this happen again even though it all turned out. I can see the lake shining in the sunlight, and tonight I’ll be back in Los Angeles. I need to go for a long run tomorrow. Decorate the tree.
There is dense sunlight in Los Angeles where freeways are suspended above crowded houses, miles of them. Here in Chicago, the city feels massive, stone and concrete piled together. And against that, the lake. If I lived here, I would walk by that lake every day and think about the ships it has swallowed and how it shimmers right now holding liquid light.