Why did I wake up this morning in a random hotel room in Midtown to the sound of a secret service agent locking and loading his weapons in preparation to go on security detail?
It would be fun to write about a lurid night of guns and sex, but my lock-and-load awakening was merely the result of a night involving many Manhattan bars, my JFK girl Cassie, a former Real World cast member, his childhood friend (the secret service agent) and me, having had more drinks than was prudent of one who had a 3am, 30-minute, no. 1 train return to Harlem ahead.
It was against my better judgement to crash at the hotel room of a guy I had known for less than eight hours ... and ... it was against my better judgement to ride the train home in the middle of the night while mildly impaired. But since he was a close friend of the Real World celeb, and the Real World celeb was a close friend of my JFK girl, I voted against the latter and was relieved to save the $30 in cabfare. And as my JFK girl pointed out, a young secret service agent doesn't want any federal morning-after scandals, and an upscale Midtown hotel is generally safer than the subway in the wee hours of morning. It wasn't like he was some knuckle-head we had met in a pub; he and I had actually spent sporadic moments of our bar-hopping debating various political issues. And with the dawn of morning light, he proved to be a gracious host, lending a pair of shorts and a T-shirt to sleep in ... and a perfect gentlemen, respecting my personal space and allowing me to sleep in while he went on duty at 8am.
It wasn't until I was leaving the hotel solo later that morning when I began to feel sufficiently awkward. I changed back into my halter top, mini skirt and black, strappy shoes with a zipper up the heel; neatly folded the clothes he had lent me; brushed my teeth with the hotel's complimentary tooth brush, and wrote a quick thank-you note. As the elevator began its descent, it seemed to stop on every other floor, picking up other [legitimate] guests (mostly young families), and I was suddenly acutely aware of how I looked .... in night club attire, day-old makeup and frizzy hair.
And as the doors opened into a packed, Saturday-morning-in-the-city hotel lobby, I knew that I was beginning [what would appear to the rest of the world to be] an early morning walk of shame. The other guests streamed out in front of me, eager to begin a day of sightseeing, but I hesitated briefly in the doorway. I noticed one of the girls behind the front desk give me a second look as I fished in my purse and dreadfully realized what I must look like with so many Congressman staying in the hotel over the weekend. I swallowed the self-conscious lump in my throat, slipped on my sunglasses, tossed my hair over my shoulder, and tried to manage my baddest bitch face while I strolled out of the lobby like I meant to be there. Never mind the short skirt and black high heels before noon on a Saturday morning.
I avoided the gazes of construction workers and cabdrivers, caught a glimpse of myself in a window and was reminded briefly of Pretty Woman minus the amazing red curls and black knee-high boots ... and, oh yea, the $3000. I do have some long legs though, I thought to myself; however, the self-approval didn't last long as I turned a corner onto Seventh Avenue. I was sure I was among thousands of New Yorkers making similar pilgrimages home, but to my dismay, I only passed children, grandmothers and people with huge cameras dangling around their necks.
At a corner, I bought a hotdog and entered the subway to catch an uptown 1 train. Just when I thought I was home free, a man in a "Jesus Saves" T-shirt stood to exit the train at 86th Street. Before he disembarked, he methodically placed a brochure next to me on the seat. As he turned to step off the train, I looked down and saw this: