Friday, May 9, 2008

In an empty hotel bar

While I’ve traveled alone a few times now, and greatly enjoyed my solo wanderings, my typical style is to stay in a hostel, which ends up being a fairly easy social environment, or to eventually meet up with a roommate at my hotel. Tonight is actually the first night I have stayed in a hotel alone (DS is meeting with me tomorrow, for those of you who were wondering), and it is actually a little odd. During the day, I don’t notice. However, when I returned to my far-too-opulent-for-little-ol-me room at around 8:30 tonight, I found myself wondering what I was going to do to occupy myself for the rest of the evening. While I have gotten past the problems of dining alone, I am not yet at the stage to venture into the Seattle nightlife alone. So, I struck a compromise, and here I am, in a dead empty hotel lounge, writing and chugging a glass of Riesling (chugging because it turns out the lounge is only open for 10 more minutes-- something that would have been good to know before ordering).

I was actually hesitant to venture to the lounge on my own. Visions of 60-year old business men drinking martinis and sidling up to me popped into my head—hence why I brought my computer as a date. If pre-occupation (or blogging!) doesn’t scare ‘em off, nothing will. 


But what does one write about whilst sucking back white wine and trying to look very intellectually preoccupied?
How about creepy customs workers?

CCW (creepy customs worker): So why are you going to Seattle?

PP: I’m visiting a friend.

CCW: Why are you staying in a hotel then?

PP: She’s coming up from California, and we decided to meet in Seattle.

CCW: Why do you have a friend from California anyways?

PP: (thinking “Answering that I know her through my blog and have never actually met her in person is probably not the right answer right now”) I’m a graduate student, so I met her at a conference.”

CCW: What do you study?

PP: I’m a PhD student in psychology.

CCW: That’s funny. You don’t seem like someone who would try to get into another person’s head.

PP: (thinking “Wow. Nice cliché. And what does that even mean that I don’t look like I try to invade other people’s brains?”) Haha. That’s actually probably to my advantage.

*insert part where he inquires about how long I’ve been in school, etc*

CCW: I don’t really understand. Why is she coming all the way up here and you all the way down here just for a visit?

PP: She had some air miles and has some other friends in the area, and I just decided to hop down for the weekend, since I live so close.

CCW: Can I see your return ticket?... So you’re just here for two days? Is this a romantic rendezvouz or something?

PP: (holding back laughter. Did he really just suggest that DS and I are lesbian lovers?! And how exactly is this relevant information at all?) *flustered* Oh no! We’re just friends!

After prolonging the inquisition a little more, he finally decides to let me go.
And the United States is saved from the terror of importing a craved Canadian lesbian to seduce one of their own.


Other highlights of the day?

#1- The most hilarious and offside gift ever for the Duke, which includes the most brilliant quote of the day ever. Unfortunately, that sneaky guy may be reading this, so I have to hold off on any further description.

#2- The most diet ignoring dinner on the planet (okay, I’m not actually on a formal diet, just trying to focus on eating healthy) by the waterfront—clam strips, fries, super yummy clam chowder and American iced tea (I forgot again that their iced tea is different—and substantially grosser—than the Canadian version).

The most entertaining part of this dinner was that there were masses of seagulls swooping along the perimeter of the patio—but it was almost as though there was an invisible electric fence, because unlike in my city, they remain on the water side of the fence. However, these were some talented seagulls, as they could catch French fries from mid air with incredible accuracy. And the funniest sight ever? A man in leather chaps, holding out a French fry over the water with incredible dedication and desperation, hoping for a little avian contact.

#3- As I made my way to the waterfront, I decided to walk down a random set of stairs. Before I made my first step, I saw two fellows sitting about halfway down, apparently sharing a bottle of something other than root beer. My first inclination was to look for another path. However, I have this little internal rule stating that it is good to challenge myself and go against my impulses every so often. So I walked down the stairs.

And, of course, as I walked by these two gentleman, who turned out to be around my age, they stopped me—apparently because they liked my jacket??
So I talked to them a little. They told me they’ve started up a rap label, and showed me their tattoos of the rap label’s name. One started telling me how he’s a chef, and wants to cook me a dinner while I’m in town, and how I should go to a baseball game with them.
I told them I was going to meet a friend.
They told me we should hang out tomorrow, and wanted my number.

(As a side note, I have a whole theory about how women in our society have no skills in telling men they aren’t interested. We feel like we can’t say no or “don’t talk to me”, because we are automatically branded as bitches, so we have to play along, even when we aren’t the slightest bit interested. This was maximized in my case because I was all alone in this city on this random staircase, and they were actually quite nice to me—it’s much easier when they are super pervy.)

Rather than just saying no (I know, I know), I told them I will take their numbers instead. As I was taking down their number, one of the guys said he would type it in. So I handed him my phone, at which point he called his phone using my phone, so that he'd have my number.


Strike one against being indirect.

Side note—I went to pay after chugging that glass, and they said that I could stay while they closed up, and offered me more wine.
Now, two glasses of wine later, I’m more than happy to be buzzed and watching What Not to Wear in my hotel room.


Psychgrad said...

Fuck - that guy was sneaky. What now...screen your calls?

I wonder what the custom's agent would have said if you said, "No we're friends...but there's only one bed in the we'll see what happens". I would pay to just see the look on his face after that. Or..."No, but I hear she has epic breasts".

Yay for free hotel wine!

Ant said...

I usually avoid the hotel bars and try and find some bars/restaurants nearby. They are almost always quite soul-less and usually there's some good places just nearby.

Damn that guy (and creepy customs guy too - he did not need to know as much as he was asking...) I say be branded as the "bitch" and don't chat (that's a tactic used by rejected men anyway...)

Stephanie said...

Whoa, that customs person was totally inappropriate! It's one thing to think something but to actually imply that you are meeting your lesbian lover? Uggh, weird. Hope you guys have fun!

Z said...

WOW on that customs official - but I'm loving psychgrad's retorts :)

brookem said...

i love reading blogs when people are traveling!

ha, oof- hate when the guy does the "put their number in your phone and call it" bit. haha!

and geesh!, the guy in customs was way too nosy for my style!

have fun!

Deutlich said...

the customs dude is s.l.o.w.

btw, last time I went to Canada it was for a Backstreet concert and the dude was like, "why are y'all coming here?" and we all shouted BACKSTREET BOYS at the top of our lungs.

he almost didn't believe us - except we had a HUGE poster in the car w/us as well.

we're cheezballs.

Princess of the Universe said...

I cna't get over how terrible American Iced tea is. Although everytime I think that I feel a tiny twinge of guilt, cause their iced tea is, you know...tea.
Ours fits way more into the Kool-Aid category than the tea category. ;P

Beth said...

That was one nosy and impertinent customs agent. Too bad we're at their mercy and can't tell them to mind their own business when they cross the line.

Nilsa S. said...

Why the f--- does the United States customs officials need to employ such ridiculous tactics for interviewing you. Seriously, my (pathetic) country needs some instruction in tact ... not to mention gobs of image control!

Have a great time with DS - cannot wait to hear of your adventures!

Crushed said...

I think it's easier for women to tell men they aren't interested, then it is the other way round. It just feels so wrong, spurning a woman's interest.

I can't imagine you do look much like a psychologist type.
You don't come across as the bookish type, though I'm sure you have to be from time to time.

I must admit, I take a lot of phone numbers from girls when I'm out. then I wake up next day, and I can't remember which of these new numbers in my phone belong to who.

You have what Not to Wear? Not the Trinnie and susannash version! Tell me this a North american equivalent!

All Mod Cons said...

Too amusing! But don't be giving your phone away!

"epic breasts"! Fantastic psychgrad! I'll have to remember that one!

Surfergrrl said...

sometimes I think that border patrol is seriously bored so they come up with the most random questions. funny answers though! what did you like about Seattle? If you ran into G did you dump hot coffee on him for me? :)

PrincessB said...

Oh the customs guys! I had a crazy experience in Halifax, actually. They searched every inch of my suitcase and my UNDERWEAR in detail. Pervs.

Women do have a problem saying no. I have that issue. Please analyze me and help me stop!

lspoon said...

Ew creepy weird people. I hope your trip isn't full of them! :)

EF said...

Sounds like you have met all the best people Seattle can muster on short notice...;-) Hope you love my hometown!

chasinglibby said...

ooh that guy knows the game, alright!

and ugh, yeah. canadian iced tea is so much better. i learned that the hard way, multiple times.

and i totally plan to stay alone in a hotel in london for kicks when i go!

Jack said...

There is nothing like wine and taking your computer on a date. It is awesome. :D

Heart Of Darkness said...

I myself love being on my own - no people around... I know I'm weird, but I just love my own company! ;)

It was a rather strange conversation, though. I once had one with a recruiter, that more or less spat questions at me and whatever I answered, he questioned to the point where I was on the verge of biting his head clean off. I didn't, I'm a pacific (but changing means evolving...) but a part of me was wondering "if you really don't want me for this job, what the hell am I doing here, talking to you in the first place". And, after broadcasting he had about 100 people for the job, he had to admit a few days later that he didn't find a "suitable match". And here's me thinking - okay, maybe I wasn't the right one. But out of 100 people, not a single suitable match? C'mon, someone's not very good at his job!

But what I've noticed is, some people talk just because they love the sound of their own voice, and nothing more.

Larissa said...

You're right about women needing to learn how to say "no thanks" properly. I'm terrible at that!

SMARTBuddy said...

Meeting another Blogger trip eh? Exciting stuff! Theres a radio show over here that has a phone number you can give to guys to put them off (its called 'flirt or divert') and then they play all the anserphone messages that get left on their radio show. Funny!

the frog princess said...

Dude, when I got back from Uganda I was the first of my group to get my luggage and head past the Homeland Security guys.. and they freaking grilled me!! Why was I in Uganda? Who was I with? Were there teachers? How long did I stay? etc. etc. etc...

I was totally freaked out.

Nobody else in my group got the third degree... have terrorists started recruiting 5'3" grad students with unwieldy luggage?

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

I LOVE going out and getting wine by myself, I do it often....some people think thats totally strange, but whether its with a computer or a book or just my lovely ME, enjoying time alone is essential. AND I LOVE seattle, I'm a little bit jealous that I'm not there :( But glad you're enjoying your time ;)

lissa said...

great post. clever and witty. i'm so envious of your trip. i'd love to go to seattle.

Alexa said...

this sounds like so much fun! what a great start to your trip. i can't wait to read about the rest!

Katelin said...

okay that guys is just plain creepy, and straight out weird, wo.

Yoda said...

That's easy. You don't wear anything in your hotel room! What else are the full length mirrors for if not for narcissistic examinations?

Yoda said...

btw, i love seattle. do remember to check out Pike place market and where Starfucks was born!

Sheila said...

He has your phone number? Yikes!

That customs agent was either really bored or was hoping that maybe he'd have a chance with you. To me, the custom's guy was even creepier than the hotel guys.

By the way, what is wrong with our tea?

Jess said...

US customs SUCKS. Every time Torsten and I travel to Germany to visit his parents, we have to go through separate customs lines because he is not a US citizen, and oh my god they INTERROGATE him. It's AWFUL.

Sassy said...

What is the difference between American and Canadian Iced Tea??

S'Mat said...

For all its Royale with cheeses, the square-jawed, direct nature of many US denizens always seems to be pretty refreshing (at first). It's candid and ennui-free.

I am forever getting into trouble at the US customs, and that's only BECAUSE I have (well, HAD) a green card. Go figure.

Love the dangerous liaison image, esp. with psychgrad's additional commentary. Lesbians: a threat to the US's skyscraping financial penii. Is Seattle known for its oysters?

eric1313 said...

That's awfull! He totaly gaffled your number g style. Well, I hope he can handle international rates.

I love hotel bars. The last time I was in one was at a live action role playing convention. I was there with a few friends to meet some of the DnD makers and authors, but there was also a live vampyre role playing session going on, so my only refuge was the lounge. Apparantly, creepy psuedo-kids who wish they were undead blood suckers can't afford to drink, so I was perfectly left to my own devices as I chatted up the bartender...

And got her number, ironicaly enough.

But at least I didn't steal it! That's as brazen a snake dick move as I've ever heard!

Peace out and talk to you again soon. Say hello to DS for me! You all are going to have so much fun on your "encounter"...

That's hilarious. I'm sorry to joke about it further.

And one more thing: Go Wings!

poodlegoose said...

:) I'm finally getting around to catching up. This post made me smile. Hope you're having a lovely time.