Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Business Hotel in Ueno

Ueno, Japan:
In Alice's Wonderland, everything was strange, but still reasonably clean. Its characters had motivations that were odd, yet constructive and to a bizarre end. In my wonderland, the room had the same bizarre sense of being practical, but in the wrong scale and smelling like stale sweat, smoke, and urine. The novelty of the place was that corners were cut dangerously close, to the detriment of accomplishment its practical end - a hotel that approximated being a hotel while smelling like an ass.

Near my window, there was a vagrant moving around on a ledge or fire escape, clanking bottles and cutting a monsterous, jagged-looking sillhouette. The window was locked with a pretty secure-looking clasp, but couldn't help thinking that whenever my particular room was vacant, the vagrant crept into my room and slept. My thoughts hung onto that image, convincing myself that the he was going to come in and rifle through my bags the minute I fell asleep.

As disturbing as those thoughts were, as bad as everything smelled, and as dirty as the blankets felt, I slept like a baby. My last thought of the night was, "So what? I'll offer him the floor."

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