Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Sylvia Beach Hotel: Day 2

I wish I could wake up every morning and have a buffet and hot breakfast waiting for me downstairs with an ocean view. Perhaps I should hire some elves and borrow Tessa's Endless Beach video.

Despite wanting to get away, it's been very hard for me to unplug completely. Hence I made the mistake of listening to uncle J's belated birthday message and replying by text, after which he immediately called me back. I guess he didn't take my voice mail seriously, in which I specifically say I'm on vacation and won't be returning calls until Wednesday. And why should he, when I'm so clearly chained to the outside world? I guess I need a few more trips here so I can get the hang of it. Of course my girlfriend is exempt from the rules, which is why I even had my phone out in the first place. Next time I go to the beach, she will be with me and then the phone is going into a deep suitcase pocket, never to be seen until check out.

It's funny that with less obligations than ever, I'm also harder to get a hold of than ever. But I'm just so drained from having to be in charge and take care of people and so I've just drawn into a shell to keep away from the people who want things from me.

I've been paper journaling during my stay here at the hotel and I really like it. My hand gets tired, but I need to start doing it again on a regular basis, especially considering my penchant for blank books. I bought another moleskin book, a calendar with notebook pages included for each week. I thought it would be a good paper memory, to make notes about the details of my day, which I tend to forget as soon as a night has passed. The dates will already be in there if I need to remember something about a particular day. We'll see if this new habit can be solidified for the long haul. And maybe it will also keep my frustration level down when I don't have time to write in excruciating detail as I so love to do.

UPDATED, late afternoon:

I was expecting a call from Jess on her lunch break, so I happened to have my phone on again and picked up a text message from my cousin: Aunt Mickey gravely ill, call me or dad. I had a few moments of confusion. Why was my cousin in Portland texting me about my Aunt Mickey in Texas? Reflexively, I hit speed dial and called her. It wasn't until I was on the phone that I figured out that she meant her aunt Mickey...who is my grandmother on my dad's side.

Lee Lee had taken Moms, as we call her, for a routine colonoscopy that morning. Sometime during the procedure, a nurse came out and said that there'd been a complication and they needed to get her to the hospital right away. At the hospital, they found a hole in her colon and it was leaking feces into her abdomen and causing infection. Though the people at the clinic didn't admit to it, it pretty much sounds like they poked a hole in her colon during the procedure and had to rush her to the hospital to fix their mistake.

They were about to take her into surgery but she was unconscious and the prognosis wasn't good. I talked to my dad and he sounded pretty good considering. At least I had time to get used to the idea. I told him we'd be back tomorrow and come to the hospital and he promised to keep me updated.

When we got back to the hotel, I took a quick walk over to Illingsworth Gifts, but they didn't have the stationary I was looking for. They did have truffles so I bought one for each of us in case of midnight chocolate cravings. Then I settled back into the green chair in the library and wrote some more. I meant to plant myself there for the evening, but the sun streaming through the window worked it's magic on me and I decided a short nap might be in order. The only alarm I had was my phone so I went without and hoped I wouldn't sleep the night away.

I woke when I heard Carmen come back to the room. It was just before 7:00. I went back out to my chair and resumed writing. Then Traci came back and she and Carmen started another puzzle, this time a 750 piece panorama of Times Square.

I couldn't resist. Before you could say, “pass me that edge piece,” I was fully sucked into the puzzle madness. In fact I ended up in charge of the top and side edges, while Carmen searched obsessively for the faces of Beyonce and Jessica Alba and Traci put together the words 'Times Square” and a description of the photo on the bottom.

We only stopped because we had to go get dinner before the restaurants closed. The desk attendant had recommended Local Ocean seafood as a good place that was near but just beyond the main tourist drag. Our waitress was slow but eager and friendly (in fact her slowness stemmed in part from her friendliness) and the crab cakes were excellent.

Back at home, Carmen bailed out of the puzzle about midway and then Traci abandoned me near the end. I should have stopped and gone back to writing but I was too close to finishing. The last sections were mostly a sea of almost solid black that proved tricky but I developed a system of separating all the pieces by shape and pulling from the appropriate shape pile in turn. I finished around midnight with three pieces missing, but still satisfied.

I went to put on my pajamas before I went back to writing and was informed by Traci that we had a visitor. Dickens the cat had taken residence on my bed. I was thrilled. I went back to my library chair but when I turned in around 2:00am, he was still there, curled at the end of my bunk. I carefully pried the covers back just enough to shove myself in. There was room for one leg to straighten out against the wall and the other I tucked up against my chest. After about 10 minutes of kneading my leg, he settled back down and went to sleep. Squishing myself around to accommodate an arrogant felt just like home.

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