Journal Entry: October 10, 2014
Beware of the “upgrade.”
As previously posted on this blog, we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this past July. For our anniversary, we had planned to visit the bed & breakfast where we spent our honeymoon all those years ago. We found out earlier in the year, that the inn is under complete renovation (oh, the irony), but they planned to re-open Fall 2014. We decided to wait until autumn to celebrate so that we could stay at that special B&B. We wanted to spend some time on the California central coast relaxing, reminiscing and rejuvenating our marriage. Unfortunately, the B&B is still not reopened, so we decided to stay up the road at the Bed & Breakfast where we spent our first anniversary, 24 years ago. My husband is from southern California, and he went to law school in California, so we have spent quite a bit of time in, California. The other hotel happens to be The Heritage House where they filmed part of the movie, and where the movie was supposed to be set all those years ago, Same Time Next Year. It’s a cheezy old movie from the 70’s starring Ellen Burstyn and Alan Alda, but the setting is pretty amazing, right on the cliff in a little area south of Mendocino. We then planned to take a road trip down to the Esalen Institute in beautiful Big Sur and attend a workshop, and finish the trip with business in Silicon Valley.
When we booked The Heritage House, we tried to choose the same building we had stayed in in 1990. When we checked into the hotel, however, they had “upgraded” us to the owner’s suite. We have learned to be rather quite leery when a hotel gives you a complimentary “upgrade.” In my experience, it usually means the room you originally booked is so popular (due to it being really, really good for whatever reason) that they overbook it and end up “upgrading” unsuspecting people who do not know the difference. This happens a lot in Vegas. We have previously been “upgraded” from a simple fountain view room at the Bellagio to a huge 2400 square foot suite with a marble bathroom bigger than some of the apartments we have lived in. Sounds great, right? Nope! The fountain view rooms also have a view of the strip and were newly renovated. The suite was very dated, and although large, had a view of dirt, and a freeway. I am not saying the room they put us in at The Heritage House was not an upgrade, of sorts, but I still think we should have fought harder to keep our original room. Big is not always better. I have also learned my lesson about the hotel “upgrade” scheme at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons on Doheny. They have “upgraded” us several times from my preferred “Premier King Corner” with two balconies, to a “Junior Suite” with separate living room and bedroom. We stayed at the hotel three times and were upgraded all three times before I actually got to stay in the room I wanted, and now I know why. The “upgraded” Junior Suite has one small balcony (if you are lucky) and some of the bedrooms do not even have a window. I do not really care for the layout, but I will give them the fact that it is larger and the bedroom is separate. The premier corner kings are on the corners of the building and have a lovely layout with two balconies and there is nothing sweeter to me than going into those rooms and opening both balcony doors, letting the sheer draperies blow in the breeze, and lying on the bed admiring the strangely hazy yellow pink polluted skies at sunset and all the lights and the Hollywood hills that signify you are in La La Land.
Now back to The Heritage House. The Owner’s Suite turned out to be huge, with a full sized gourmet kitchen, a full sized living room and dining room, a monstrous bedroom with attached office and a bathroom twice the size of our largest bathroom at home. The whole suite was large, and sterile, and sparsely decorated. They called it “newly remodeled,” but I think it was so newly remodeled that half the furnishings had not been added yet. I longed the whole time to be in a room that was cozy and romantic. We also knew before we arrived at the property, that there was no mobile phone service. We figured, no problem, with wifi. Oops, no wifi either. This turned out to be a real pain in the ass as we had to drive 30 miles away to the nearest Starbucks to get internet. We own our own business, so there is no such thing as being completely disconnected from the world.
My trauma seemed to be in high gear. Mostly, there had been a lot of silence from my husband, which is always a scary proposition. We had eaten lunch at a seafood restaurant in Fort Bragg and at one point we were in a particularly depressing conversation about my husband’s abhorrent behavior over the past 15 years (so what’s new?) and my instinct was to just walk away. I sat there and thought to myself, if I needed to get away, and I didn’t have a car, what would I do. I had noticed an Enterprise rental company up the street. I thought I would walk up there and just rent a car and drive to the nearest airport and fly home. As we were walking out to the car, I asked my husband, if I got in the car and just drove away and left you here, what would you do? And without skipping a beat, my husband said he would call his friend Smiley to come pick him up. Smiley lives less than four hours away by car. And there you have it, folks… the immediate difference between me, and my husband. If left to fend for myself, I would. I would not call anyone. I would take care of myself, rent myself a car, and get myself home. If my husband was in the same situation, he would rely on someone else to take care of him. He is the least independent person I know, and I am the most independent person I know. There was no right or wrong answer to my question, and he gave me an honest answer. I don’t think either of us is completely healthy in our thinking, and I think I need to be less alone, and he needs to be less reliant.
When we returned back to the hotel, I was feeling especially uneasy and I asked my husband to draw me a bath. I honestly do not think I have ever taken so many baths in my life. I am not normally a bath person, but somehow, lately, bathwater soothes me. While I was luxuriating in the bathtub and wallowing in my sorrow all at the same time, my husband got into the bathtub across from me. I spent a long time just staring at him, at his thin arms and legs, at his hairy chest, at his balding head and his blue eyes and I couldn’t stop that horrible, horrible feeling of knowing he had sat in a bathtub, in a hotel room, with another woman, and let her touch him in all those places that were exclusively mine to cherish. My chest ached and my eyes filled with tears and I long for a day when I could do just one normal thing without thinking of the betrayal, and the lies, and the infidelity.
I got out of the tub and sat on the bed. I turned on the television and wouldn’t you know it, the cable was out, and the only thing playing was the hotel’s never ending loop of the movie Same Time Next Year. It was right near the end of the movie and so I decided to sit and wait for it to start over, and just watch it. My husband begged me not to because, you see, the movie is about two married people who meet up at the hotel and start an affair and then they continue to meet at the hotel each year at the same time. The movie is about infidelity. It’s wrapped up in a hokey, sometimes cute, sometimes poignant package, but it is a story about two people cheating on their spouses, for decades. We sat and watched the movie together, even though he really, really, really did not want to. We both cried near the end when Alan Alda talked about how his wife had died the previous year and he had found out from her best friend, that his wife had known about the affair for 10 years.
I promised my husband I would never watch the movie again, and he promised never to cheat on me again. In the back of my mind I kept thinking, I am going to go through the rest of my life thinking about my husband’s infidelity, and then I am going to die.