We went away for the weekend. The first time! A surprise! He didn’t tell me where we were going, simply what to pack. But I figured it out pretty early in the car as we drove his son to his sleepover. We were heading East in LA on a Friday and we would only head East in LA on a Friday if we were going to go farther East; Palm Springs. I was right. Traffic was intense. As to be expected in a Friday in LA- trying to get out of LA. We were not the only ones. But I brought the “37 Relationship Questions” from the book, “How to Be An Adult in Love” and those kept us busy for most of the time. Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours, I would say. We learned a lot about each other and I believe, grew closer. Which is always my goal.
The Ace Hotel. That was our destination. I had never been, neither had he. It was recommended by a dear friend. Cute midcentury design. We checked out the first room, on the quiet side, but facing the parking lot, which I didn’t mind. But he wanted a different room so they switched us to the inner courtyard, right across from the smaller pool and the wedding hall. They warned us that this was a much noisier side and I, in my desire to be liked and not a problem, said nothing. That was my mistake.
The Ace Hotel- unbeknownst to either of us, is known as a “Party Hotel” and on the weekends, it becomes a twenty-something rager. That first night there was a wedding that went until about midnight. I was super grateful for bringing my industrial sound machine and it came in super handy. I made it through the first night. Dinner that night was a little awkward. I offered to pay and he let me. I felt guilty and a little anxious about him spending money on this place and me. I don’t know why I pick up on that. I feel like it makes him feel weird. But I could be wrong.
Surviving the night aside, the room WAS lovely and being together in a new place was also lovely. We spent the morning checking out the Desert X art installations which were super fun then we lounged by the pool. They have a bigger pool on the other side which we could hear and were grateful we had this smaller quiet pool to ourselves. That did not last long. Before we knew it the excess partiers had migrated slowly over to our peaceful world and taken over with their cigarettes and straws in beer cans. Drunk. People got DRUNK. And we watched them do it. Two forty-somethings sober trying to have a romantic getaway. Deep breaths. But I kept it together. Because I did not him to see me cry.
I struggle in these situations. I am super sensitive to sound and smell. So the raucousness and the cigarettes were pushing me WAY out of my comfort level, but that is the thing when getting to know someone, I didn’t want him to not like me because of that. So I repressed and controlled it. Barely. But he didn’t seem as non-plussed about it as me and that I found rather interesting.
When it became too much to endure we went inside and had a lovely nap. We were intimate and it all felt super good and wonderful. I was happy and satiated. Then the most obnoxious group of girls that had plagued us by the pool ended up being in the room right next to us. And once they entered their space, their music and voices took over ours.
Torture. Hell. For me.
We walked to dinner, a mediocre Mexican restaurant referred to us by the front desk person. I offered to pay for dinner and he was very excited about that. So I did. Our dinner conversation was fascinating to me- his knowledge of history around the world I find enthralling. And we talked about South Africa and apartheid. He also, earlier, at dinner the night before, asked me about my higher power and I could not tell him. I realized then that I needed something I could make personal or this faith thing was not going to work- and that it just needed to be something. After dinner, while walking back, he described in detail to me, his bottom almost thirteen years ago and what finally brought him into the rooms. I could relate as I had a similar bottom in 2004 myself that was predicated on having an affair – or affairs- as the case may be. I shared mine after. It was uncomfortable to admit stuff like that- for both of us- but I think it was helpful and bonding. I understand him- a lot of his arrogance he speaks about earlier in his life. I too was incredibly arrogant and self-righteous. Especially while in the entertainment business. He did Special Effects for years while I was acting. I Had a dream the first night that his ex-Suzanne- was the lead in a giant musical and was dancing in this dress leading a group of people down the main street in some town. After dinner, we were both too full to do much so we went to see a performance art piece that was very mediocre and then had mint tea and a child’s sundae. I continued to pay for food for us. I could feel his money thing and it was all I could do. Afterward, we went back to the room and listened to the drunk loud people next door. I was beginning to panic- so suggested we turn on the TV. He was ready to go to bed right then but my adrenaline was running way too high. We snuggled and watched stupid stuff until around 11pm when I could not delay the inevitable. I turned on the sound machine as high as it could go and placed it right next to my head on the nightstand. I also put in earplugs which he bought for me. And for the love of God, did not hear them anymore. I was so fucking deeply profoundly grateful. I laid down and went to sleep. In the morning, we woke up gently and went to breakfast and then packed and stopped by the final art piece on the way out of town. It was a house with mirrors all outside and inside of it. We also snuck into a model home afterward that was beautiful. I know he enjoyed that a lot. Then we drove home in more traffic.
On the way home, he told me about a few of his ex-girlfriends and I felt some jealousy start to well up in me. I cyber stalked them when I got home- I did- and realized, without a doubt, that I was a serious fucking catch and had NOTHING to worry about when it came to his ex-girlfriends, who, by the sound of it, were just not right anyway. One of them was kind of overweight even if she was an actress and about a decade younger than us. And the other one looked old and desperate. I am truly one-of-a-kind! I am beautiful, inside and out. I make strangers feel welcome and comfortable. I am warm and gracious. I am gentle, sexy and kind. I am clever and witty. I am funny. I laugh and smile a lot. I am sober. Again. I am spiritual. Self-effacing and aware. I have great style and a sexy body. It feels super strange to write good things about myself. But why not???
Anyway- looking back over the weekend, I am slightly bummed we didn’t stay somewhere more intimate and romantic, but maybe this was the best he could do at this time. I knew he was stressed out about going. He made that very clear the week beforehand. He did not seem excited about it until the day of, to be honest, and he admitted as such. He resents spending money on this sort of thing and very frugal and almost anorexic with himself while also somewhat of a hoarder.
Overall, my takeaway from the weekend- which is not that dissimilar to our Santa Barbara trip is that under heavy stressful situations- we seem to navigate together in a beautiful calming way- at least he is for me- so far- a calming agent. I feel relaxed around him in tough environments for me. We have weathered some storms already and I am hopeful based on how we reacted. I also know it is only four months- but still- I am impressed with us and the effect he has on me.
With anyone else- at that hotel- I would have LOST. MY. SHIT.
It truly was my worst nightmare come true and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.
And I was okay.
And I walked away with a deeper understanding of Sean – knowledge that we should plan things together in the future- I can live through something like that with grace and his help- that together we both brought things to the situation that helped me be okay- and that an elephant is my higher power.
So all in all- I am still sober, somewhat sane, and am pretty sure the stress of the enduring that experience will rear its ugly head at some point, but for now, I am amazed at the wonders of falling in love.