I’ve been living in a luxury hotel for the last 40 days and 40 nights. There are routines here.
I am in a play. The setting of the play is a hotel room. Our production is site-specific. I live in the hotel room where we perform the play twice a night, five nights a week. So half of my home is covered in army netting, bamboo, tropical plants, a crushed velvet tiger painting and houses 28 chairs for audience members. It’s lush. There are fruit flies. The sheets have big flowers on them. Pink, Red. I watched How to Marry A Millionaire here on Netflix Instant and Marilyn Monroe kept calling things Creamy.
Yesterday I was sick with a gross cold. I was in the other half of the suite. It is bleach white and charcoal. Plates on the wall. Faders on the light switches. The deepest bath tub in America. I spent 32 hours in a king size bed with a pile of dirty kleenexes, a casio keyboard that me and my sister and brother got for christmas one year, a sack of clementines, and some really slow wifi energy charges inside of my laptop computer.
I heard a maid come in. I heard her walk through where the audience sits, past the bed where I pretend to almost have sex in front of an audience eighty times a night Wednesday thru Sunday, and then I saw her peek her head around the corner to where I was lying with my kleenexes. I muted the episode of Smash I was watching on Hulu. She wanted to know if she could clean the room. I didn’t know. Could she? Is it her job or my job to clean this up? If I’m sick, isn’t it my mom’s job? Could I go somewhere in my pajamas? Or could I just lay in the bed while she changed the sheets? Am I a quadriplegic?
“I’m sick,” I said. And laughed a tiny bit to let her know that being sick is…funny?
When should she come back to clean, she wanted to know. In my congested nasal passages, the answer was Never, but I didn’t want to get her in trouble with mom and dad. I made up a time. 5pm. But I knew how Groundhog’s Day that would be. She’d come in at 5pm and walk past the chairs, the ferocious tiger painting. She’d turn the corner and see me still trying to stream Smash on Hulu at 240 pixels per second, but this time it would be obvious that I had eaten some microwave oatmeal.
So I backpedaled on the 5pm thing. And we hovered in anxious silence. Sad giggles. Neither of us spoke the other’s language. I wanted to be honest with her. (And with everybody I would ever meet.) And once I remembered that, I knew what to say. I pointed to the phone. “Oh, I’ll just call down when I’m ready?”
Our faces changed. It was like we were giving each other secret back rubs in another dimension.
“You just call them.”
Now we knew the things to say. We said them.
She walked back through the Tennessee Williams set and was gone.
Until the next day at around the same time.