This Was Just One Subjective Experience
Everyone Was Nice
Plus It Happened Years Ago
I stayed at the saddest place on earth, the Marriott Courtyard by the… Memphis airport. I thought it would be smart because I’d have—my flight was so early and Memphis is the closest… airport. To where we live. Uh, while remaining far enough away to be utterly inconvenient.
The bar area was, uh, brightly lit. It had grass… a long table, a long communit—ahr—ablooooeehhh—a communal table like you see… like I remember from a hotel called the Mondrian. In fact… it, it made me think of the Mondrian, which was fashionable, I guess, at some point in the nineties, when I was staying there.
Milli Vanilli—did they attempt suicide? Did one of them commit suicide? Anyway, uh, you remember their scandal. What a—how is that a scandal, you know? They—they’re… performers. Well, anyway, some tragedy occurred, perhaps. I might look it up later.
But anyway, I believe whatever tragedy occurred happened at the Mondrian, in one of the corner rooms! I used to always stay in room 1006. Ten-oh-six at the Mondrian, a big corner room looking down over Sunset Boulevard. Those were the days! People’s expense accounts were crazy back then!
There were a lot of loose purse strings, is that an expression? Well…
So, somebody from the Marriott Courtyard planning committee, I guess, went to the Mondrian, and thought, “Oh, there’s a communal table and they use grass as a…” At the Mondrian there was, like, grass everywhere. There was just… pots and… uh… troughs… [laughter] of grass, just some kind of beautiful, special grass, I guess. You know. Wheat grass? No! But green, and… and, uh… tall… and cultivated and curated, trimmed… neatly… and yet with a touch of wildness. Grass, everywhere! Green grass.
And so, there was like, this long rectangle of grass that went along the middle of this weird table where I was sitting at the Courtyard Marriott near the Memphis airport.
Mmmmm, somebody didn’t get the memo!
I said that in a weird Art Fern sort of voice, which is really just a Reginald van Gleason voice. Look those things up for yourself!
Look, I don’t know whether they call it “Courtyard Marriott” or “Marriott Courtyard.”
So, anyway, I stayed there, and, and I thought, “I’m gonna… I don’t know, I don’t trust this brand of coffee they have in the little in-room coffee maker. What’s this?” It was called “Barista Bold,” I think.
The bar down there was called “The Bistro.” And little kids in swimming suits were running all around it, which is not what you want in a bar, not me personally. And then I went to sit in a booth, away from where, uh, all the kids were screaming and running around…
I mean, this is a business hotel near the airpo—I mean, I’m, that’s fine, people have kids, and…
But is that where you—if you’re goin’ on a family vacation do you really wanna stay at the… Marriott Courtyard by the Memphis airport?
That’s no… fun.
And I had pictured lots of weary business travelers, who I would get along with, ‘cause we wouldn’t look at each other. But… it was just kids! Screaming. And, d-uh, then I went to a booth—nnn—nn—each booth in this “bistro”… was equipped with a television! Going! Lo—you know, I didn’t see a way to control the volume. Just television talking at you. On some reality show or something, featuring monster trucks. You can’t even go sit in a booth in a bar without a giant TV looking at you in this bistro; that’s not a… good bistro. [Laughter.]
Oh, grass like the Mondrian…
So I was mistrustful of this in-room coffee, but my flight was leaving too early for me to get coffee anywhere else, and I… thought, “I’ll just… I’ll get… They have Starbucks coffee down at this bistro… I’ll just get… and there’s a microwave in the room… so I’ll just get a cup of Starbucks coffee and microwave it in the morning.”
I said, “Is it okay to microwave these Starbucks paper cups?”
And the woman at the bistro said, “Sure, of course it is!”
So I took it up to the room and…
I’m gonna shorten this story, believe it or not.
Or maybe I won’t!
Anyway, I was lookin’ at the side of the cup and it said, “DO NOT MICROWAVE,” in big, bold… all caps.
So I went back down there and said, “I’d prefer, you know, maybe to get a mug. [Unintelligible.] I noticed these ceramic mugs you have up here.”
She said, “Of course!”
And I said, “Are these safe to microwave?”
And she said, “Yes! Yes! These are safe to microwave! Enjoy! Yes. These are safe to microwave.”
So, I, uh, went back up to the room and first of all, when I took the cup I realized it was made of a plastic, not of a… not ceramic as it had appeared.
And I looked at the bottom and I saw that it was made of something called Melamine…
So of course I called Anastasia and she looked up Melamine on the FDA’s website and… saw that it was very unsafe to microwa—microwave.
I had this great solution.
Are you ready? This is really worth it, by the way.
I thought, “I’m gonna take that little coff—I’m gonna put my Starbucks coffee… large Starbucks coffee… in the… refrigerator overnight and then in the morning, I’m gonna pour it directly into that coffee maker so it’ll come out hot on the other end. I won’t put that little pouch… uhhh… nosiree. I’ll just pour the coffee right through and use the coffee maker as a de facto coffee heater. So…
Anyway, I got nervous to do that for some reason, so when I woke up I made the “Barista” coffee first, “Barista Bold,” it was called. “Barista Bold,” my ass! And then, uh, and then I said, “Well, you know what? This isn’t very good. I’m gonna do what I—my—I’m gonna do my incredible… uh… innovation. So I poured the Starbucks coffee into the back of the little coffee maker, cold. It came out hot. And I drank it and I couldn’t tell the difference between it and the Barista Bold. It just—maybe my taste buds aren’t sufficiently developed.
Jack Pendarvis has written five books. He won two Emmys for his work on the TV show Adventure Time. During a period of light employment, he spoke into a digital recorder whenever the mood struck him and transcribed the results, accumulating the two thousand pages from which this column has been extracted.