I work in Hotel California.
I check out often, but I have yet to leave.
Truth be told I have been checking out way too often as of late.
I had a girl thank me for sending her over to a man the other night. I have no recollection of doing this. Sounds like something I would do.
Sometimes I am hard pressed to recall the cab ride home, or the 3-4 hours proceeding it.
I had a focal seizure at the bar the other night, well before I got drunky. My drinking makes it hard to tell the difference but I knew. I am wondering now how many times that happens in a night and I am just too full of booze to notice.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget.
I dance because I love being on stage. I don’t drink to forget, I drink to cushion my knees from the hard surface of the stage, and to buffer my shyness. I am shy. I know it sounds unbelievable for a girl who spends 5 nights a week naked on a stage in front of strangers, but it’s true.
I don’t look past the stage, the lights get in my eyes and I let them. The music carries me away somewhere else and I let it. I snap back to the here and now when there is applause. Some days I shut out the cat-calling and commentary and sometimes I fight back with righteous fury. Depends on the day, my mood, how many drinks I have had.
I don’t actually know what I look like up there. Every club I have ever worked at has a mirror behind the stage and I just don’t look. I take a Stevie Wonder approach and do what feels good.
People clap, an entire conference of 200+ men once did the wave for all 5 of my 3 song shows. The starting line-up of a football team both cheered for me and sang karaoke once. I get tipped more than average. Other girls tell me they like the way I look. Queen of the Plastics said she loves my show last night, not my music but the way I move.
I love and hate my job.
Last night the DJ looked at me, took his thumb and tried to smooth out the vexed ‘I want’ dent I get in the middle of my forehead when I am thinking real hard on something.
We talked for a bit about my dilemma, he absolved me like a priest in a box, reminded me my happiness was important too and then proceeded to add…”if I was single”
I thought I knew what was coming, but the end was “I would go fuck her so you could have your boy back.”
This is what friendship looks like.
This is why it is hard to leave.
This could be Heaven or this could be Hell
The comradery. Feeding each other, watching Jeopardy with my bartender, belly laughs with my girls.
6 weeks ago I showed up at work, eyes swollen from crying, broken toe, broken heart, uterus in protest and trying to exit my body. Hadn’t eaten or slept in 2 days. And there was a great rallying around me. My little nudist colony playing music I liked, feeding me homemade tidbits of this and that, just holding me in the change room while I rocked back and forth and cried in a high keening wail.
And then last week I got in a fight with a girl and it almost came to blows.
That night too my stage shows were lackluster, just counting the seconds until I could walk off and retreat back to the bar, my back to everyone.
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
I don’t want to be here anymore.
My soul isn’t happy there anymore. Used to be, not now.
I know exactly what happened.
End of December it went back to the way it was in the time called before. Way back in the day when a $400 night was reason for pouting and protest and $700 was average. Where I had a hard time leaving the back room to make it to stage or out for a smoke because there was a line up waiting for me. All these men moving geographically closer to the dance lounge hoping I would emerge and they could catch my eye. When the tips and drinks were flying like murmurations of sparrows.
We haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine
We had exactly 3 days of this and now it’s dead again and its killing me.
I don’t hustle, that is my hustle. I walk around, I say hello and then I walk away and let them come to me. And they do.
I find it tacky as fuck to try and ask a man for a dance before he has even gotten a beer. That is not what we are here for. I rarely ask, I make them feel like it was their idea, and what a good idea it was honey.
The other girls do not function this way. I am as cool as a cucumber until someone disrespects me to my face. I went a decade without a single fight with a girl. Sure I had to choke out a customer or two, but that doesn’t count. I firmly believe in sisterhood, and as with all sisters, we may not get along, but we are in this fucked up little family together. But apparently I will still cut a bitch.
I mentioned said almost-fight to the Giant the other day, he said “How would you feel if I said I wasn’t surprised?”
Weird. I felt weird sweetheart.
17 years and 4 girl fights. 2 of them in the last 3 months.
I sunk to my lowest and dated that god awful bouncer with severe mental illness, I think I didn’t notice because I was drunk the entire time. I have got to get out of there, this isn’t me.
It is a riptide and I am getting tired of swimming.
We are all just prisoners here, of our own device
I know I fucked up. I took a year off when I should have been busting my ass and banking everything. I made two major purchases and lost money. I have downsized my life substantially. I now know I can make it as a waitress.
I have a choice between fight or flight.
Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
(all italics from The Eagles, Hotel California)