Thursday, January 26, 2012

L. A. Diary: Happy Catholic and the Strange Encounter

Part 1: We Begin
Part 2: On the Road
Part 3: We Arrive


So, there we were, beat up from 5 hours of driving, 3 hours of steady box moving, several days of jittery Boxer toilet patrol, and showing it, I am sorry to say.

Looking for the nearest hotel that would take a dog, we wound up at the Hollywood Holiday Inn. Which didn't take dogs, as it turns out, but did afford us a glimpse of the hubbub surrounding big doings at Grauman's Chinese Theater with media lights and a huge crowd as we negotiated the insane traffic.

Finally, after making the wise decision to do a broader computer search for dog-friendly hotels from the Holiday Inn parking lot, we headed for the Marriott near Bob Hope Airport, thinking it would provide a little peace and quiet.

I thoroughly enjoyed the ride by Warner Brothers Studios again, through Burbank which looked quaintly nostalgic for the 1950s (my grandparents went to a pharmacy that looked just like one we passed), and then just a bit further to the Marriott.

The Marriott, however, instead of being that island of peace we imagined, seemed to have a lot going on. As Rose and I waited for Tom to come out, we wondered what event was going on that required so many black ties, limos, and bustling bellboys. Tom emerged, with a bellboy in tow, and dispatched us with Zoe to go to the room while he parked.  We took said bellboy in tow, now pushing a cart laden with our many bags. And Zoe's giant water bowl. (Chic. That's us.)

We got to the lobby well ahead of our escort and paused, nonplussed. There was a huge cocktail party. Everyone was talking just as fast and loud as they could. The noise level was incredible. They were dressed up, some in rather garish clothing. Entering that riot of noise, especially after the day we'd had, was disorienting. We looked down at Zoe who was pressed against Rose's leg, obviously wondering what fresh hell we'd brought her to now. We looked again at that crowd and then the bellboy said, "Straight ahead, ma'am, and then through the bar to the elevators."


We looked again at Zoe, each other, and the gauntlet ahead. I told Rose, "I feel as if we ought to have a greyhound on a fancy leash to take through this crowd." She laughed and we forged ahead.

Everyone turned to look and delightedly gestured, smiled, or cried out, "Look! A Boxer! I love Boxers!"

Zoe pressed harder against Rose's leg, kept her head down, and we all kept going, with everything a blur around us.

(Who builds their elevators behind the bar? Seriously!)

Finally, the gauntlet passed, we were safe in our rooms. I began taking inventory and pulling out the bottles for cocktails. (Yes, we were supplied and never had we been gladder than that evening when every nerve was frayed.)

Tom arrived and we all felt the room service salads crying out to us after all that fast food on the road. Rose left with Zoe to look for the patch of grass the front desk had mentioned. Tom left also (I can't remember why now). I called room service.

"Yes, ma'am, how may we serve you?"

"I'd like to order two Chicken Caesar salads and one Cobb Salad."

"Yes, ma'am. And how many people will be dining?"

Pause. I didn't know what that question meant. Wasn't this fairly straight forward?

Wait. Just how big were those salads?

"I'm sorry. How many people?"

"Yes, ma'am. So we know how many plates and how much cutlery to send up."

"Okaaay. Well, we'd like two Chicken Caesar salads and one Cobb Salad. So that's three salads. One for each of us. So that's three people?"

"Yes, ma'am. Sometimes we might get one person who would order three salads."


Had we somehow actually had taken a short jog to Las Vegas? For some reason, I felt a casino vibe in the air now.

Tom came back and I told him about the conversation. His eyes twinkled and he laughed.

"Welcome to Hollywood!"

Rose returned, her eyes twinkling and a grin on her face.

"I found out who all those people are downstairs. It's a convention for the sex industry!"

We gaped at her. And then we all burst out laughing out loud.

"The patch of grass is right next to the convention hall and it has all glass walls. I was just staring into space and then I realized that the exhibit booth I was looking at was for Fleshlight - the number one sex toy for men."

Euwwww. Incredulous laughter from us.

"And then I started looking at the other booths. Trojan. Hustler. That's when I realized what was going on."

Tom got on the computer and we discovered that we'd landed right smack dab in the center of the annual convention for "adult industry" marketers (XBIZ Retail).

Vegas. Definitely a Vegas vibe was what I felt.

Rose got a big Vegas-style dose when waiting for the elevator to return to the room. Her eyes were past twinkling by now. They were gleaming with humor.

"It isn't just marketers here. There must be some of the 'stars' too. The elevator opened and I was eye to eye with a couple of implants that made Pamela Anderson look flat! How can she stand up straight? And who would think that is attractive?"

Zoe continued to be shy about wetting around strangers. We took turns hourly walking her and all had a chance to marvel over the idea of having a marketing convention for the sex industry.

As we would brace ourselves for the elevators to open to the noise of the bar and lobby party, two things became clear.

One: the Boxer just may be America's favorite dog. Every trip had cries wafting after us of, "Look! A Boxer. I love Boxers!" As the evening went on, the numbers did not decrease but they did grow increasingly drunk. My last trip at 11:00 was to shrill whistles and treats being tossed to Zoe as she slid by, ears back.

Tom finally set the alarm and got up at 2:00 a.m. The lobby party was still going strong, but there was finally a lack of outdoor traffic and Zoe gratefully used her toilet privileges in private.

Two: the second thing was that every time I looked at these very normal seeming people, I was filled with pity for them. They had managed to fool themselves into thinking that their marketing jobs were just like any others. Of course, in the sheer mechanics, they are. But in the sheer misery of soul that their industry generates to people ... well, that is hard to measure but it is no less real for being invisible. I began praying for them. And I still do so whenever I think of that evening, which has been fairly often as we have told this story.

The Marriott was a luxurious treat, beyond our budget, but for one evening it was just what we needed. And I'd have never seen "Vegas in Hollywood" without it.

We knew we'd have to find cheaper digs the next day. And, out of the blue we found what just may be the best deal in Los Angeles.

Which I will tell you about ... tomorrow!


  1. I enjoyed reading that. I've never been in a hotel that accepted dogs. Do the rooms have an odor? And of course you had to meet boobie implants in

  2. Lots of national hotel chains accept dogs. Holiday Inn, Marriott, etc. Sometimes it depends on the franchise holder but the rooms have always been perfectly clean and fresh. And we were always at pains to leave them that way too. :-)

  3. I spent 15 years traveling between Reno and Las Vegas; I found that, if one avoided the Strip and Downtown, it was a fairly normal place, albeit hot in the summer.