Saturday, April 6 – 6:10 pm – The Hyatt Hotel at the Bellevue
After some lonely hours wondering what I was doing with my life, I decided to walk around the building and clear my head. The hallways were lined with a soft, mint green wallpaper with stripes and designs which matched the multiple shades of blue carpet it accompanied. The images looked almost floral, sprouting up and fanning out on the floor, while still holding a sense of elegance and complexity to their arrangement. It reminded me of when I first entered the lobby, and I received a feeling of royalty echo through me. The brown and burnt orange marble columns rose like scorched redwoods from the floorv and gave the impression of a castle in hell. A broad and elegant stairwell with a railing in the center spiraled upward off to the left, and statues of flute players carved straight from the rock were on display as an ode to the romantic era from which they came. Everything, outside of the front desk and the potted plants, was made from marble or stone. Visual recognition of the prestigious history and radical cost that the Bellevue so proudly boasted it had. The front desk was made from a dark, stained hardwood (which I would guess to be oak, although I genuinely wouldn’t know for sure) and sat tucked against the back wall with three computer monitors poking out from behind the counter. The monitors were the only suggestion in view which would date the lobby to the present day.
I strolled down the fourteenth-floor hallway attentively, several times reaching the end and turning back around to scour the floor again for signs of adultery. The rooms did not indicate what was behind them as the thickness of the wooden doors prevented any audible sound from escaping with enough texture for one to determine what the sound was and who had made it. I nevertheless continued to stroll, somewhat thankful that I hadn’t caught her in the act just yet, and eventually made my way to the fifteenth floor, and then the sixteenth, and then the seventeenth. Some executive offices were on the eighteenth floor, which was an immediate dead end, and the nineteenth floor was an upscale, fine dining restaurant simply named XIX. I decided rather quickly that my attire wasn’t appropriate enough to be gallivanting around the distinguished restaurant, so I headed back downstairs, intending to stake out the lobby for several hours.
Initially hearing Jake’s idea to read a book in the lobby and stake it out, I didn’t think of it as threatening. However, the execution left something to be desired. Twenty minutes’ worth of reading, unaccompanied, in the lobby of a magnificent hotel, goes unnoticed. Forty minutes’ worth attracts the attention of the doorman.
“Are you waiting for the valet, sir?”
“A cab then?”
“No, I’m just reading.”
“Oh? You are a guest, correct? You checked in earlier.”
“Yes, I’m a guest,” I replied. “I’m just reading here for pleasure.”
“Oh. Very good then.”
An hour’s worth of reading attracted the attention of the front desk attendant.
“Is something wrong with your room, sir?”
“Oh? Are you waiting for a friend?”
“No, I’m just reading. I enjoy background noise when I read if you must know.”
“Oh. Very good then.”
After an hour’s worth of reading, unaccompanied, in the lobby of a magnificent hotel, I went from being unnoticed to the only thing any employee noticed at all. The doormen, the front desk attendants, the concierge, the bellhops, and some guy in a suit all were paying very close attention to me as I sat reading my book, perhaps not so secretively, watching for my wife to enter or leave with her lover. With the anxiety of the Bellevue employees now coupling with my wife’s possible affair, the weight in my mind was too much for me to endure in public, and I decided to retreat to my room after spending only a little over an hour staking out the lobby. As I approached the elevator, a hanging placard caught the corner of my eye.
CAMFIL REGIONAL SALES MEETING
Saturday, April 6
7:00 pm – Associates Dinner at XIX
10:00 pm – Cocktail Hour in the Conservatory
My wife worked for Camfil! Not directly, but one of her clients was the director of something-or-other for Camfil. I was sure of it. I specifically remembered hearing the name Camfil during breakfast. Or was it dinner? No matter, I now have a lead.
Since the Associates’ Dinner was already underway, I retreated to my room with the excitement of a detective uncovering a clue, where I prepared myself for the Camfil Regional Sales Cocktail Hour in the Conservatory.