Drunken Relaxation

Musings

Be Drunk

You have to be always drunk. That’s all there is to it—it’s the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.

But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.

And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: “It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish.”

-Charles Baudelaire

I’ve decided that I am going to be the Eloise of the Sheridan Inn. Okay so I don’t have a rich father and mother who jet-set and leave me in the hands of a somewhat capable but negligent nanny while I run amok in a fancy hotel. No. But I do have a waitressing job in which I work twelve hour days, six to seven days a week and a pocket full of dough’nt rain on my parade; one night at the Historic Sheridan Inn would have to suffice. At least until I figured out a way for the staff of the Inn to look the other way to my squatting in their luxurious Western quarters and sipping coffee on their expansive covered porch.

I had read in one of my Hemingway books that my beloved Ernest had stayed at the Sheridan Inn on August 3rd, to work on a Farewell to Arms. Naturally I got it in my mind that I too needed to stay at the Sheridan Inn on August 3rd to work on my novel… errr, or blog… or play checkers. Okay fine mostly to lounge, drink wine, eat brownie skillets, take a bath in a clawfoot tub, look for ghosts, drink coffee in rocking chairs and use up vast quantities of wifi. To be fair, Hemingway had noted that he didn’t get much writing done at the Inn during his stay due to the hustle and bustle of the Inn and its proximity to the railroad. So I was in fact in good company.

But I didn’t care. I had to see for myself and also see if I could conjure some of his energy or perhaps writing prowess while ensconced in between the Inn’s historic timbers. I left work after a 72 hour work week that had sapped me of my will to live. Alright mostly, it had just sapped my will to serve another God forsaken pancake, but same dif. Upon arriving at the Inn, the vacant eyes of stuffed elk, bear and Buffalo Bill stared back at me from the surrounding walls while I waited to check in.

When the front desk gal arrived I excitedly told her that Hemingway had stayed here on August 3rd. She nodded politely.

“Do you happen to know what room he was in?” I asked mentally crossing my fingers that she knew and that the room was also available. Of course I hadn’t planned ahead, because that is sincerely unlike me and I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to snag August 3rd or 4th off from work, much less sleep where Hemingway had laid his beautiful word-filled head.

“I don’t know. Also we re-did all the rooms, so it would be hard to say.”

I was instantly a little disappointed that she didn’t seem to want to go to any investigative effort on my behalf and find out what portion of the hotel Hemingway’s writing spirit lingered in. But I didn’t push. I was here on August 3rd and that would have to be enough.

I asked for a spacious room with a large bed.

She said the Esquivel Brothers room was exactly that.

“I’ll take it.”

“That’ll be $199 plus tax.” I didn’t bat an eye as I handed over my Visa. I would probably pay any amount to hunt for Hemingway if truth be told. I had planned on this Hemingway stay to be a solo trip. One for self-reflection, writing and sheer drunken (reference the poem at the top if you’re confused) relaxation. However, my baby sis Kia had arrived in town and had the day off and when I told her of my plan, she looked at me with hopeful doe eyes that she could join in my overnight adventure. I couldn’t say no of course and so Kia and I carted our bags up the grand wooden staircase to the second floor.

The room was perfect. It was fully decked out in Western décor: leathers, Native prints, reds and browns, but in a subtle and non-tacky Western way. There was a checkerboard table with a leather satchel holding the game pieces. Two windows overlooked the bronze dancing couple statue, teepee and railroad. There was a loveseat and oversized chair for lounging which I felt I had earned. And then there was the bathroom. Oh but the bathroom was the kind of bathroom that other bathrooms aspire to be.

The floor was white with miniature black diamonds. The double sink had two oval mirrors. The bathroom was wide and open with a window to let in sunlight. And then. Then, there was the claw foot tub, as deep as it was wide, perfectly sitting like a regal queen in the middle of the room, with a wraparound curtain. Deep enough where all the water would account for my height and hips. Deep enough where I could perhaps do a little snorkeling.

Kirst and I had this kind of tub in our apartment in New York City and it instantly flooded me with happy memories and swells of gratitude that I had the kind of life that allowed me simple pleasures like claw foot bathtubs with wraparound shower curtains.

At any rate, the room was a dream. There wasn’t a television in sight and for a solid hour I mostly lounged on the loveseat or flopped about on the high and deeply cushioned bed, before my stomach began to growl and I lazily decided food would be a good idea. Nay a grand idea, because I adore food almost as much as I adore beds with extravagant amounts of pillows.

Kia and I ate outside on the porch. The summer breeze was warm and we shared an appetizer, then dinner, and dessert. I sipped on chardonnay and then switched over to coffee with my brownie. The breeze picked up and the sun disappeared. I had to take off my belt to make room for my over-full stomach. I discreetly placed it in my purse and then Kia and I rocked in the rocking chairs until the blue sky darkened to bruise proportions.

Kia and I took turns pruning in the bath. We had read about how one of the proprietors of the hotel, a Miss Kate had lived and worked there for 64 years and now was rumored to haunt the hotel. I had only gotten four hours of sleep the night before and had foregone my usual after-work nap in hopes that my sheer exhaustion would wave my paranoia over ghostly run-ins.

After my bath I texted a friend about Miss Kate but had forgotten her name and instead called her Miss Kitty as that sounded more Western to me anyway. I noted that I had put the Do Not Disturb sign on the door and would that seem like an invitation to Miss Kitty to in fact disturb us? Was I being too cocky? Should I take the sign off, so Miss Kitty could roam freely?

He replied that I was too easy of a victim for Miss Kitty and not to worry.

I convinced Kia to draw on my back to woo me into slumber, but I still had slight unease over Miss Kitty’s presence even with my overwhelming exhaustion and the sedative that was back drawing. I woke up a few times in the night, eyeing the room suspiciously for Miss Kitty. I didn’t see her and eventually dozed off to have a deep and restful sleep.

The next morning after breakfast in the Ladies Lounge, coffee on the porch and a day spent perusing shops in town, I lingered in the overstuffed easy chairs of the hotel’s third floor wishing to write and never leave. That’s when I decided I would be the new Eloise of the Sheridan Inn. I just needed a way. Or a pocketful of rubies. Or maybe a Hemingway-esque bestseller.

Well there would be time. I now knew that Hemingway was right about the distractions of the Inn. It was perfect for decadent baths, crisp chilled chardonnay on porches and ghost hunts, but if you were in need of drunken relaxation, perhaps no real writing would get done.

But like Mr. Baudelaire said, “It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish.”

Or be drunk on clawfoot bathtubs, old Western hotels, plush beds, rocking chairs, brownie skillets, Hemingway, back drawings, and unbothered and un-hurried sister time.

Life Begins Over Again

Musings

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

I have had a fucking wonderful summer. Excuse my language, truly I try to be a lady but all things considered (my heart breaking into smithereens and having yet to locate all the pieces or put it back together properly) I have stuck to my mission of becoming who I am becoming. Not only that but I had some incredible adventures.

Now truth be told today started out rocky. I woke up and something about today… the date, September 1st speaking of change including a new season upon us and a new job for me, the dreary rain, the fact that my sister’s boyfriend Kurt was packing up to go back home after being here all summer and delighting me daily with his adventuresome spirit, all of this and more soaked the day in melancholy. As I gave Kurt a hug goodbye I joked that I felt very sad he was leaving and he wasn’t even my boyfriend.

Then I hiked in the woods in the rain for a long while. And got some writing done at Starbuck’s while enjoying my beloved extra extra hot pumpkin latte. But upon hearing this song (which I listened to incessantly while Out West) it made me yearn for Wyoming with a wild desperation. All of a sudden I had to get out of Starbuck’s because all the melancholy suddenly felt like too much. I just knew I had to cry.

As soon as I got in the car I burst into tears. It felt so ridiculous the onslaught of hysteria that I had to question myself. What were all the tears for? And so I answered myself to maybe calm myself.

They were for Kurt leaving and me feeling a little sad because he felt like a little brother now, but mostly for my sister Kirstie, because even if it’s just a move and not a break-up, leaving is always hard.

They were for the start of a new season which suddenly I didn’t know if I was ready for; I had just gotten used to summer. Why was summer over? Didn’t it just begin?

They were for Wyoming. Silly, maybe, but suddenly I ached for Wyoming and felt trapped here and unsure where I belonged at all and I longed for the open West and freedom.

They were a little for DC, who I thought by this time I should be good and over and I am good, but certainly not all the way over. I’d say I have one leg over.

They were for my sister Kia who would be leaving as well to move back downstate in a matter of days and would no longer be my partner in crime every day when I needed her. And it just seemed wrong that I should ever have to be without even one of my sisters.

They were for a friend who I recently found lost his grandfather that I knew he loved so dearly and it just seemed so heartbreaking his loss and there being nothing to be done over it and so I cried for that too for good measure. Well I mean once I was already crying.

And then I decided to pull myself together. And the way to do that would be by sharing my top three summer memories to cheer myself. So here goes:

My birthday. Okay, so that seems obvious, as all who know me and some who don’t know I love my birthday disgusting amounts, but this birthday was quite frankly not one of my favorite because of its painfully close proximity to my break-up, however, this doesn’t mean it was not memorable. My dear best friend booked a night in a teepee for me as she knows me well. Normally this would’ve gone over like chocolate being delivered and spoon fed to me by a bearded man, that is to say, amazingly. Except before we got to the teepee which I would be spending the night in with three of my sisters and bestie, Em mentioned that the area we would be staying in was purported to be quite haunted by Native Americans. And she didn’t leave it at that. She then told stories of the hauntings. Okay fine, I am not that big of a baby that I can’t handle a haunted tale (actually yes I am) but then once we set up our fire, Em and my sister joked about the Native American ghosts who might be in the woods and I very gravely told them they could NOT joke about Native Americans. On their Land. Near their teepee. Seriously I had watched a special in which a man who was warned not to go hiking on cursed Native American land did anyway and he disappeared and then later his remains were found and no one knew how he died. I do. It was obviously the Native American Curse. He was warned people! So naturally I had to be the first to fall asleep so as to feel safe that night, and I was. Because of the exceptionally cold night, we had all doubled up in our bunks except Em. I got my sister Alexa and Sav and Kirst were spooned together while Em was across from us. All was well until I woke up at a time I was unsure of but suspected was the bewitching hour. All I could hear from the teepee were sounds of snoozing from all the girls. Instantly I became frantic that the Natives might be mad that the girls had made jokes and when they came in to strangle someone to death that someone might be me, because what if they got confused and didn’t know it was my birthday, or wasn’t sure where Kirst was, or just decided to strangle all of us to make a statement. Honestly if it was going to happen I knew we had brought it upon ourselves. In a matter of mere minutes I was so wracked with terror and so convinced I was about to be maimed by a dead Native American chief that I shook Alexa up. “What.” she whispered. “I’m terrified,” I said. She insisted she was awake now and it was okay, but I retaliated with the fact we needed to skidaddle. Because we were sleeping in a teepee on haunted Native American land with Native American ghosts who probably rightly wanted to kill us and I didn’t blame them. But I wanted to live because it was my birthday and I like cake. Alexa who knows how much I like teepees and Native Americans but who also knows how much I value my sleep, my life and the power of Native American Curses screamed at everyone to get up because I was scared and we were getting out of there. My other sisters promptly whipped out of bed and sprung into action gathering blankets and asking if I was alright with grave concern while I insisted I was not and we were going to die and needed to leave. Em, the only rational one asked why we couldn’t just stay because now everyone was up and my sisters exchanged glances understanding that was of course never an option. Blankets and phones and marshmallows were thrown into my SUV haphazardly and we drove to a hotel two miles down the road where I happily and safely slept in between Alexa and Kirstie.

 

The Meteor Shower. So there was this incredible meteor shower up here that I was dying to see a few weeks back. I think this was also during the Super Moon, but the moon might’ve just been full and large, but it definitely lit up the whole sky, almost taking away some of the stars glory. My sister, her friend and I made our way down to one of our favorite beaches around midnight to catch the show. We had my sleeping bag and a bottle of pink champagne for the occasion. The night was a cool sixty degrees and it seemed cloud cover was moving in over the stars but we were hopeful. As we sipped champagne from our plastic flutes, suddenly my sis jumped up and insisted she needed to skinny dip. She wasted no time in de-robing and running into Superior. Now I am all about Superior all summer long, though most sane individuals are not. But on this cold night, taking a dip in Superior’s frigid depths, much less naked, seemed a dicey choice. But when my sis came back out seemingly exuberant and slammed the last of her champagne and asked if we were coming in too, it seemed I couldn’t rightly back out. She was younger than me and being this bold, I could hardly be the unadventurous one. So I undressed too and ran in. We all did. And our teeth chattered in the water under the moon and soon-to-be shooting stars. After getting back out, getting dressed and cuddling close the girls saw multiple shooting stars while I only spotted one, but one was all I needed to feel truly and wholly mesmerized and to make a solid wish, which of course I can’t share or it won’t come true.

Wyoming. Sweet Wyoming, there are so many words I have for you (you deserve a whole blog post and will probably get one) that I don’t rightly know where to begin. But I’ll begin with the cowboys. And the horses. Oh mercy me, these two things alone made my summer visit here one of the greatest in recollection. I joked with a friend that the state was so filled with cowboys and horses that I was certain if I moved there I would be given both a cowboy and a horse as a welcome. Wyoming filled my soul with such grandeur, such drunken adoration over the ever changing landscape: wide and winding rivers, fly fishermen, mountains that were green and blue and red and grey, valleys and rolling open land, that most times I was just speechless while others I wanted to throw a tantrum over how desperately I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stomp and fling myself into a moustached cowboy’s arms and beg, don’t let them take me. I am yours now. I belong to you! Honestly, I didn’t want to leave so badly that I applied for a job there in hopes of staying. Hence why I wept over Wyoming today. That place really got ahold of me.

While I obviously had so many more incredible summer memories with sisters and friends and family alike, I said top three and I have already been wildly verbose, so I will leave it at that. But, see there, I’m reminded that if summer was this sweet, I certainly no longer feel like crying and instead feel warm and magical over what this new season has in store for me.