Writing in a hotel lobby makes me feel like a character in a noir novel. There’s a canned version of “Summertime” on piano coming in through the speakers, fake and inappropriate and poignant in the rapidly cooling fall weather, and an unused massage chair behind me. Upstairs is my employer and her baby, and her assistant, all now asleep. Behind me, Minneapolis executives (the only people chilling at this hotel mid-week) drink and talk.
A: No, that’s not the story!
B: The story is, the story –
A: The story is –
I sat outside talking to my friend on the phone awhile, and someone pulled up in an SUV to ask if I needed a ride somewhere.
“No,” I said, “I’m staying at the hotel. Just talking on the phone.”
“Okay,” he said, and drove off.
It’s only in the Midwest that anyone has ever offered me a ride from the side of the road, or expected me to take it, without feeling like someone was going to get brutally murdered. I still don’t hitch, but it’s amazing that here, people even offer. It’s surprising that there’s a place in this country, a city, even, where that exchange is more about friendship – “guest-friendship” – than fear.
So I’m inside, and I write, things I’m supposed to be, things I’m not supposed to be, things I’ve never heard of before, the only way I ever get writing done – between 11 pm and the morning.