Vanishing Point A Bookand Websiteby Ander Monson


Days (in the Days Inn, or the Days Hotel)

I can nearly see it from the window of the much nicer JW Marriott hotel in downtown Grand Rapids. I am staying in the Days Inn because I can't justify the expense, and I couldn't get my publisher (or the sponsor of my reading in the area this week) to spring for the really luxe hotel. Technically the Days Inn is a not a Days Inn. It is a Days Hotel, and it is much nicer than the Days Inns I have stayed at, while not quite making it to nice as far as hotels go.

It's like other hotels, temporary spaces. They are generally nameless, faceless, airports without the security.


Days go by in the Cincinnati Westin. The Westin has beautiful beds, but I am sick, and its hallways are, as hallways must be unless they are really dressed up, depressing and endless. Inside the room things open up, but they oddly have crap cable on a crap tube TV. It is 2009. Luxe means LCD or Plasma. I don't expect every cable channel, but it pisses me off when I can't watch hockey. It's a little hard to track what time of day it is in hotels: though the clock radios are usually set, they differ on either side of the bed, and often from my cell phone and my computer, which I am pretty sure is the most accurate when it has had the opportunity to query the network. Then there is the matter of light to be dealt with, how much and from what angle does it come and how does it make you feel when there is that much light like that. You can spend days contemplating the passing of days, yes, in a daze.

Days go by in the Louisville Hyatt. They have a tennis court. The hotel's swanky in the lobby. Three glass elevators rise up 20 stories. Look upward from the lobby and the tower is ring after ring of floors until it ends in roof. The glass elevators make a horrible sound when you step in them or when they activate. One tries to ignore the sound and what it suggests.

Days go by in the Bowling Green, KY Holiday Inn, which is kind of awful, and which is hosting a convention for the Kentucky Sheriff's Association, which explains the couple hundred patrol cars in the parking lot. I get kind of freaked out by this kind of assembled authority. Also, it is a whole lot of dudes. The few female waitstaff are visibly creeped out. I guess they probably are used to there being a lot of guys in bars, but the sad sports bar in the lounge is surrounded by nearly sixty bulky guys. They are watching football. Another set of them is on the floor above (this hotel has a big lobby and transparent ceiling and glass elevators also, oddly: maybe it's a Kentucky thing). One lone sheriff is on the phone and he stares out into the atrium. He keeps glancing over at the crowd as if he's expecting something to happen. Days go by here as I wait for something to happen, too. There's a loud water sound from the cascading multilevel fountain that surely drives kids to fill the fountain with wishing coins. I want to put a rubber duckie in the top fountain and wait for it to cascade over to the next level, and the next, and the next, and the next. (There are about ten levels to the thing, and it is pretty cool; I'd be proud of this feature too if I ran this hotel.) Days go by while the glass elevators send me up and down and the fake plastic plants continue to faux-cascade over the railings of each level. It's a pleasing effect until you realize it's bogus.

Days pass in the Nashville Sheraton.

Days pass in the Denver Marriott-City Center.

Days pass in the Marriott Courtyard in Madison, Wisconsin, which is a bad ass hotel, actually. One of my favorite hotels in recent memory to pass days in. Great rooms, hardware, bathrooms (though the TV problem persists, I don't define this hotel as luxe so it pisses me off significantly less). I highly recommend time spent in this hotel.

Days pass in the Intercontinental-Chicago/O'Hare which is lovely but pisses me off. What's the point of having a big LCD TV if you don't get HD content? Days pass as everyone in this hotel seems to be going to or coming from a conference in a nicer hotel.

Days pass in the Phoenix Doubletree whose bitter oranges danging from orange trees at child height mocks Zoe and the rest of us.

Days pass in the Chicago Hilton and we are stuck in elevators with writers, which is the title of a musical.

Days pass in the Palmer House Hilton which I rather love and visit repeatedly.

Days pass again in the Grand Rapids Days Hotel.

Days pass one more time in the Grand Rapids Days Hotel which continues to be adequate to my needs.

Days pass, unfortunately, in the Columbus, OH La Quinta.

Days pass and I have trouble reading in these borrowed spaces instead opting for laziness meaning television, the American pastime.

Days pass in the Worthington, OH Doubletree which nearly faces a Panera Bread Company so you wake up thinking of coffee and the semi-European breads they claim to bake fresh in-house and might even do it at that while beaming wifi all over everywhere in a glorious net of scent and communication.

Days pass in the Oklahoma City Best Western, which is a surprisingly nice hotel at which some self-consciously-yokelly yokels flirt unsuccessfully with the ladies in my party.

Days pass as I contemplate my newfound bourgeois tastes in passing days in hotels. At one fairly recent point hotels generally became less good than my home, when I got a nicer bed and a big screen television, and so no longer look forward to hotels, even the fancy ones, because they skimp on the cable though the bath products are superior.

Days go by and all I can think about is you.

Days pass in the Denver Red Lion that overlooks what was formerly known as Mile High Stadium and looks kind of like it might have been in Blade Runner.

Days pass drunkenly in the Champaign, IL Country Inn, which deserves it.

Days pass in the Best Western Heritage Inn in Rantoul, IL.

Days pass hilariously in the Olde English themed Best Western in Iowa City, IA.

Important days pass in the Minneapolis Hilton.

Days pass slowly in the Knights Inn in Peru, Indiana, being Circus City, though the Circus City Best Western is closed, and when we check in there is one television in a box on the floor that we ask if we can hook up, and they say yes, sure, and so we do, and the whole place is pretty awful and feels like it was the setting for a film, horror, pornographic, or both. Sean is there and is horrified at my conditioner called American Cream which he thought came with the room, thus demonstrating its obviously sexual theme, though it's not as if hotels are not all designed with sex in mind. I guess it's different to broadcast it, and it makes us rethink our decision of splitting a hotel room.

Days pass as I download pictures of naked people which demonstrates its sexual theme.

Days pass as I Google myself and think about Michael Jackson and his rapidly decaying body and legacy and the few memories of his voice that aren't recorded somewhere else.

Days pass as I'm horrified by the commentary about my books on by some people I consider(ed) friends.

Days pass as I learn the lessons of self-Googling and find something better to do with my fingers.

I tweet that days pass and days continue to pass regardless of my noticing them.

Perhaps I will pass on to whatever's after this in a Days Inn or Days Hotel, on a pillow-top mattress, concentrating on the cable situation.

Days pass in the Hotel Solamar, San Diego, and dirty techno from Mitsubishi commercials echoes up to our room from the nightclub just across the street illustrating yet another thing I might have considered in my choice of hotels but failed to because you can't account for everything.

Days pass as I wish for fans, as I crack the window to let the crisp fall air in to try to equalize the heater hum with the proper temperature.

Days pass in some hotel I don't remember the name of in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan which I had hoped was the Murray Head neighborhood in Bangkok but was not.

Days pass in the Kenyon Inn in Ohio which is kind of glorious except for the lack of cell phone reception which might after all be a deserved respite from communication.

Days pass as I read Wayne Koestenbaum's Hotel Theory in hotels and in inns and start to think about these interstitial spaces more seriously.

Days pass in the Phoenix Embassy Suites where the oranges that grow in the courtyard are bitter and disappointing though at least they are real which is something.

Days pass and I don't sleep well in hotels more often than not but still I am drawn to them.

Days pass in a crazy hotel on Lake Michigan that's straight out of The Shining, which is a documentary about hotels and typewriters and what happens when they meet.

Days pass in hotels in cities where I do have friends and have been invited to stay with them, but decline, both because I like my own spaces and because I like passing days in hotels.

Days pass in hotels in cities where I have family and need to stay in hotels to control the terms of our endearment.

Days pass and I leave little bits of myself behind in the rooms that I only presume are gathered and thrown out and disposed of later, causing me to be craftier in the places I secret tiny artifacts or language so that they will be found by another hotel guest and not gusts of wind ghosting through a room or by the staff who might delete it and therefore me in order to more effectively neutralize the room and return the room to the ground state.

Days pass in hotels in strange cities where I fear to leave the hotels on foot because of my lack of knowledge except for bits from books often ones in which someone is killed in the city, usually in a hotel very much like the one I am staying in.

Days never pass in Nebraska City, Nebraska.

Nebraska City, Nebraska, is the opposite of time.

Days might have passed once for someone in Nebraska City, Nebraska, and now they sent me an unmarked envelope, and now they are dead.

Days pass in the Indianapolis Crowne Plaza where I stay in an actual train car with the walls decorated by too-realistic paintings of clowns that don't remain burned into my memory, not one bit.

Days pass in the Houghton, MI Super 8 where I smartly avoid my family or at least control the terms of our interactions.

Days pass in what used to be called the Vacationland motel and is now a Best Western of some sort in Houghton, MI, of which there are many poems written.

Days pass in all the hotels I have ever stayed in that are now something else or ruins or nothing but a decimated square of land that's being returned to its natural state due to explosives, failure, and neglect, though not in that order.

Days pass and the world is dazzled by sun and by the weather shifting into autumn.

Days pass and the world is a David Means story in which drug addict characters have fierce sex in the hotel room where I stayed for six weeks in my hometown.

Those days pass pretty quickly because they are not dramatic after the characters have left and become depressed or alone.

It happens a lot in hotels and days like these.

Days pass in this maze of hallways and holes in the wall and the floor through which I think for a moment I see something important about the world but it happens later that I think I must have been so drunk I was hallucinating something about Georges Perec because I was sure I saw his hair backlit by sudden bursts of sunlight which makes very little sense in retrospect so I almost omit it here.