Sunday, December 28, 2008

I, Voyager

I have both written about and photographed hotel rooms in which I've stayed.  There stretched a long era in my life during which I found myself in hotel rooms a lot but for no good reason.  I had a little money and often felt restless.  I would check into luxurious rooms too expensive for me on weekend or vacation-long excursions to nondescript locales, beach places, rural Massachusetts, downtown Seattle.  I'd spend more time in my room than a person traveling alone presumably would.  I'd hide out, and venture into the street or onto the water to sail or scuba dive.  I would pick up with a couple here or there for dinner or drinks in the bar, and glanced too shyly at women to help them provide the right kind of invitation for me to ask them out. I'd return from these trips more keyed up than when I'd left.

I once began a photo essay in which I photographed the rooms in which I stayed.  I had not quite sharp enough an eye to make them interesting, but the best of them could be haunting:  a coffee mug next to a television set showing an old movie in front of an empty, unmade bed; water stains around the door where driving wind and salt water off the Atlantic pushed through a porch door in Datona Beach; endless mirrors.  Some of these rooms were cheap, musty, dark places I stayed while motorcycling or driving across the country.  Some were lux, in places like The Turks and Caicos Islands, or on Great Exuma, in The Bahamas, or in Edinburgh, or London.

I gravitate to expensive hotels less often now, mostly because I can no longer afford them--much less afford them in London.  But, I do still like them.  I travel less frequently alone, too, but do sometimes--as now. When I return from Seattle later this week I'm checking in for a few nights into The Governor Hotel, for which there is an outstanding deal, on Expedia ($111 per night).  I will awake each morning with complicated feelings about why, and how, I arrived there.

1 comment:

David Loftus said...

This is lovely, David. It doesn't try to push too much significance out of the subject (and I mean, both hotel rooms and your emotional response), just lets it . . . be.