America Day 11 – Hotels and bars

I keep a flask by my bed. It is impossible to adjust the aircon in this hotel. You can switch it off by the panel, but the panel is a lie. It’s controlled centrally. I’m dried out and frozen as I sleep. Room service have stopped taking the winter double duvet off my bed. I found it in the wardrobe. They won’t put a cover on it. But they leave it there at last. It’s hot outside. I want to live in reality please, not expensive bullshitland. But I have to live in this aircon con.


There’s a water purifier in the gym downstairs. I fill my flask from it every night, as I utterly detest American tap water. Sure it’s safe and clean. But it tastes like it was squeezed from your armpit hair after a long day in the public swimming pool. I drank enough chlorine in Jersey when I was six and my swimming instructor kept ducking me. I can do without the memory in my tap water.

Last night I went, at about this time, to fill my flask in the gym. I found one of the company members dejected at reception. His door had run out of battery. The night porter couldn’t get him in. But let me just run that by you again. He couldn’t get into his room because his DOOR had run out of BATTERY?!? “Does this happen a lot?” I ask. “More than you’d think,” the night porter replies.

What fresh hell is this? What’s wrong with a key? I had to renew my card every day because the thing demagnetised in my pocket, principally because I’m carrying quick change magnets most of the time. My fault for carrying them maybe? But my friend can’t sleep in the room where all his stuff is because the DOOR has run out of BATTERY…! And the night porter can’t change the battery. So, after the first night of the show he had to sleep in another room that they opened for him. He did it with good grace… But…

I stuck with him for a bit to make sure the night porter gave him a toothbrush and toothpaste. I know how easy it is when you’re discombobulated to forget to ask for the things you need.

“How was the room?” I asked the next morning – “Did they give you the penthouse at least?” “No. It was on the ground floor near the car park.”

He shrugs. And then he goes off to teach his first ever solo class. He’s been worrying about it for a while. I have no doubt he aced it. But I remember my first few classes five years ago when I did this tour. I was nervous as hell. Paul had to help me out to get my mind into understanding that my life has been adequate training to teach these smart and inquisitive kids what they need. Now I’m doing Paul’s job from my first tour. I have to be supremely confident about classes and offer advice and be organised and active and helpful. Weird. But hugely powerful to understand how much I’ve shifted in five years.

This summer has been about seeing what I’m capable of. All of us are capable of more than we thought we were. Turns out I’m no exception. I’m going to keep raising the bar…

And on the subject of bars, next up is a 32 bar musical self tape that has to be in by Monday so will come from my hotel room in Chicago courtesy of iPad and gaffer tape. As a self taught musician I don’t even know what 32 bars means. I’ll just have to play something for a bit and not be shit. That’s hard enough, frankly. It might make Chicago a bit less fun, but it might make January a lot more fun. Balance…


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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