A well dressed vagabond in Washington, DC

For those who know, I recently descended upon the nation’s capital, Washington, DC. I am as thrilled to be back in Los Angeles as DC was to get rid of me.

I had a plan in place. A 4pm flight would have gotten me to DC just before midnight. The rental car company is usually the least complicated aspect of my trips, allowing me to arrive around 1am at the DC apartment of the DC Vixen. The DC Vixen is a republican Jewish brunette, but I am happily involved with the Chicago Cannonball. At 1am, the DC Vixen had what any man in that situation would desire…a couch to sleep on and a warm shower in the morning. My meetings at the White House were supposedly to begin at 9am, giving me a good 7 hours of sleep. I prefer 14, but 7 would have to suffice.

Unfortunately, not everything in this world that is American is set up to allow plans to function properly. While I try to consider myself patriotic, I do not blindly follow my nation. I believe in America, but nothing bothers me more than something that claims to be American, and yet acts unamerican. I was the victim of the worst kind of American.

Yes, I am referring to that bastion of worthlessness, American Airlines. I detest flying them. If I ever had a positive experience flying them, I was too young to remember it. Although United is a close second, American stands alone at the bottom. In an industry as contemptible as the airline industry, that says a lot.

I have said on many occasions that I worship at the altar of big business. Therefore, if you are a big business, and I dislike you, then nobody in America likes you. If you are the worst in an industry I dislike, then you should quit. Nevertheless, American Airlines did not quit entirely. They just acted like they did, which led to a four hour delay of my flight. I did manage to get a whole row to myself, and thankfully I sleep very well on planes. Even American could not bother me while I was asleep.

Before taking off, I called the DC Vixen and let her know that I was arriving at 4am instead of 1am. She let me know, sweet angel that she is, that I was not going to be arriving at her place at that hour. I am still shocked to this day knowing how many women sleep comfortably without me showing up. I asked her if I could just drop by her place and use her shower. Unfortunately, she wakes up at 5:45am and leave at 6:30am. I asked if I could use her shower at 5am. She reminded me that she is not a morning person, and this was not going to work.

She did offer me a suggestion that actually seemed feasible at the time. I should just go straight to the hotel that was having the conference, and use the shower in their gym. I have to admit I did not think of that. I arrived at the hotelat 4:30am.

Just before reaching the hotel, I noticed that one area had a ton of security and do not enter signs. I needed to turn my car around, and on more than one occasion even high security areas would allow me to enter, make a u-turn, loop around, and promptly exit, so I would be headed in the right direction. Yet this place seemed like a fortress. I was curious as to what could be so special that I could not make a simple u-turn without enduring a conflict that I would not survive.

I looked up, and realized I was at the White House. Ok, fine. The extra security was merited. I turned my car around in the middle of the street, although there was no traffic at 4:30am. I pulled up to the hotel, and looked for the gym.

The Hotel was the St. Regis. For those who ever want to brag that they stayed in the hotel right next to the White House, it only costs $800 per night. For $700 a night less than that, a Courtyard Marriott has a comfortable bed and a tv set with enough channels to make life peaceful.

Looking at this hotel, I kept thinking that it looked like the type of place where people like Eliot Spitzer and Ted Kennedy kept their girlfriends. It is located on K Street, which is where all the lobbyists hang out. As much as I love politics, being that close to everything made me want to give myself a good scrubbing. Then again, it could have been the grime of being on a plane all night that gave me that feeling.

The gym was locked. Only guests were allowed to use the facilities. This hotel was not about to make an exception. I explained that while I was not staying at the hotel, I was attending the conference. They stated that if I wanted to rent a room, I could. When they quoted the $800 price, I had the concierge help me find my eyeballs on the floor. I popped them back in, and explained to them that I only really needed a bed for 4 hours, and that I knew they did not do discounts in such a ritzy area. To my surprise, they were willing to do a partial stay for only $565. Given these prices, I can see why Spitzer’s call girl charged so much. She lived in one expensive town.

Although I was not permitted to use the gym for a shower, I was allowed to use the bathroom. I completely missed the normal bathroom and wandered into a private bathroom that was bigger than my first dorm room in college. The napkins to wipe hands with were big, and they were thick. They were thick as…well…towels.

Yes, Skid Row had met the White House. I locked the door, stripped down, and used the sink to take a shower. Thankfully it was 4:30am, and nobody was awake. The lather from the hand soap was rich enough, and the sink faucets had water that was just lukewarm enough. I managed to lather, rinse, and dry off, and even have time to brush my teeth, hoping that the hotel management would not find out. A housecleaning lady did come by, but thankfully did not knock on the door. Before changing into my suit, I had to dry the floor. Whatever material is used to make those hotel napkins is a most impressive substance.

There is nothing like the feel of a nice suit over a body that has had an inadequate shower and most likely an even less adequate soap removal. Nevertheless, given how badly Washington reeks, the worst I could do was fit in.

It was now 5am, and the concierge told me I was welcome to read the paper, but sleeping in the lobby was not permitted. The guy seemed to empathize with my situation, but I know he would have gotten in trouble had other hotel guests seen a vagrant in the lobby. Granted I was quite the well dressed vagabond in my suit and patriotic American flag necktie, but putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t make it a gazelle. I definitely did not look my Wednesday best.

I went to the breakfast room, accepted a couple of complimentary newspapers, and found a chair on the other side of a divider that was obstructed from view. The chair was facing the outdoors, so that my back was to the public. It looked like I was reading the paper. I fell asleep in the chair, all the while aware that more than one episode of “Murder, She Wrote” had an episode where somebody spun aound a chair to find a dead guy sitting in it. In at least one case, the wrong guy was killed. Why can’t killers look and make sure that the right person is being targeted? Besides, at that moment the chair would have been a bigger loss to the hotel than me if anything had happened. It was an expensive chair.

After some more intermittent sleep, the meetings actually started at 10am instead of 9am. As someone who does not drink alcohol, I was surprised to see Bloody Mary’s being served. I truly was in a town filled with Kennedys. It turns out they were virgin drinks, which allowed me to try the Bloody Mary for the first time. They were miniatures, and I had 3 or 4 of them. Man, I hope they were non-alcoholic. Given that I was staggering due to exhaustion, I assume the drinks were virgin drinks because I was not any less coherent or dextrous after consuming them.

Despite burning eyes and searing exhaustion, I made it through the meetings. I departed for Dulles Airport, which might be one of the worst ones in the nation. American Airlines actually almost left on time, and again I had a whole row to myself.

Yes Dorothy, there truly is no place like home. My shower is mine, and nobody can ban me from using it. Sure, the building could have turned off the water for maintenance, but I would have just at that point killed an innocent bystander and taken their restroom. Or I would have sulked and accepted it, or something inbetween.

I still love politics, but DC is not for me. In the spirit of Randy Newman, all I can say is that I love LA.


No Responses to “A well dressed vagabond in Washington, DC”

  1. parrothead says:

    Eric having traveled to DC MANY times, I want to know where you can find even a Courtyard by Marriott for only $100.

  2. micky2 says:

    ” I was surprised to see Bloody Mary’s being served. I truly was in a town filled with Kennedys. ”
    ” kept thinking that it looked like the type of place where people like Eliot Spitzer and Ted Kennedy kept their girlfriends. ”

    As much as I disagree with Teddy, lets all pray he makes it through this.

  3. Jersey McJones says:

    Yeah, that was some news about Kennedy today. I hope he’s okay. Whatever you think of the Kennedys, Teddy’s eventual passing will truly mark the end of an American era. Suddenly I feel old…


  4. micky2 says:

    Yes, but do you feel mature ?
    Chuckles, hee hee, yuk yuk.

    Jeez man , the whole media is lit up like the guy is dead alteady

  5. parrothead says:

    I also hope he survives. I may not like his politics but I never wish this stuff on anybody.

  6. Jersey McJones says:

    Mature, no. Old, yes! LOL!

    Ya’ know, I was never one to but into all that Camelot schpeel, having a more realistic view of the Kennedy’s; the good, the bad, and the indifferent. Heck, I remember getting into heated debates with my big “D” Democrat family over whether JFK was really the liberal icon he’s made out to be (I always thought he was a bit of a status quo corporatist). But you can’t deny the impact this family has had on the American psyche and mythology – our very identity.

    Stick around Teddy. America needs you.


  7. blacktygrrrr says:

    Update: Normally on Saturdays I sleep until noon. Since the Chicago Cannonball is in town, I had to get up at an ungodly hour (before 10am). I hit the publish button on my column that was pre-written several days ago. I did not check the news. I then went to the beach, which I have not done in years.

    I just got home, and saw the news about Senator Kennedy.

    I fiercely disagree with his politics, but the man is a human being. Had I known about his condition before I published today’s column, the line regarding him would have been excised.

  8. micky2 says:

    I realize that you printed this before you knew about Kennedy Eric.
    I meant no critisism towards you.

  9. Jersey McJones says:

    Got it. No prob. Actually, I couldn’t imagine having taken offense at what you said in the first place,,, it was funny. We can’t live life without the ‘funny’ just for death.


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