Day 2 cont'd. cont'd., cont'd.
"We require a $20 deposit to activate the phone... and then we charge for any calls you make." Even credit card calls? "Yes, sir. But there is a payphone in the lobby, sir." Well, of course there is. Okay.. thanks. "Thank you, sir." Oh- wait. Is there any way to turn off the air in here? We tried to, but nothing's happening. "Yes, sir. You just turn the knob all the way to the right. You'll hear it shut off." I know, I think that's what we did, but nothing happened. "Hmm... try it again." Okay, great. Thanks. "Thank you, sir." Oh, um.. one more thing. Could we get a wake up call? "What time?" Uh... 11? Rebecca? Yes- 11 o'clock. "Thank you, sir." Thanks.
I walked to the thermostat, looked at it- a beat here- and turned it all the way to the left- the coldest setting. The air conditioning clicked off. Another beat. I walked to the window and opened it to smoke, cradling the cigarette under the umbrella of my palm as a driving drizzle tried its best to pelt me, then changed its mind, blowing parallel to the building. It must have been having an existential day as well. I decided to wait to phone my mother until the morning- I didn't feel like going downstairs again. We settled into the bed and Rebecca made drinks- beer for me and vanilla vodka and 7up for her. And me, too. I really needed to take the edge off. Not that it did much good. I was too keyed up to relax, so Rebecca started in on the massage she'd been promising all day. At some point we turned off the television, likely around 4 or 5, and went to sleep, finally.
The wake up call came and I awoke somewhat refreshed. Either that, or I was still filled with excess anxiety that my body couldn't get around to the night before. Checkout was at noon, and we were required to check out and then check in again, as we had decided to stay an extra night so we could meet up with Rebecca's father and extended family on the way back through Pennsylvania.
The elevator doors opened into a lobby filled with disgusting noise. In New Jersey, "Under Renovation" is not just a sign. It's a statement. The statement is, "Prepare to be bombarded with a fucking jackhammer." We approached the desk and began the process of yelling our request to check back in. Right as we began talking, the phone rang and the clerk motioned for us to wait while she answered. A moment later, she looks at me strangely and says, "It's for you."