Smile Politely

This is how it feels to be completely screwed over

As you may remember from the last column, I got to see Louis CK last Friday evening. It’s weird to say this about a guy who often seems so unhappy, but he was an absolute joy. It’s also really weird to laugh for an hour and a half without stopping. Oh, it’s all pretty weird in fact, but we will get to that later.

When he walked on stage, I immediately became like a twelve-year-old at a Twilight movie. I sincerely had an urge to run up on stage and give him a hug or, I don’t know, punch him in the arm or something. Fortunately for everyone involved, I’m not all that impulsive in those situations. So, he was great, but let’s go ahead and make a short story long and talk about some of the other things that happened.


We arrived in Chicago about seven o’clock, a little later than we anticipated, but still fine to check into our hotel and make it to the show at eight. It became apparent this wasn’t going to happen, at least the first part, because the line to check in at the godforsaken Sheraton was out the door.

Being resourceful and surprisingly sober, we called an audible and put our bags back in the car and took a cab to the Symphony Hall where the show was. A few quick notes about Symphony Hall, it sort of looks like Foellinger Auditorium on the inside. Also, the ushers appeared to be sort of old and used to a certain kind of entertainment, you know, the kind of entertainment that Louis CK doesn’t offer. They all looked as if they’d been spiritually violated by the end of the show. Enough about them though, let’s get back to me.

After the show, we went to have a few cocktails before we headed back to the hotel. We felt comfortable in doing this because we had reserved a room, had paid for said room, and were told early that afternoon by telephone that the room was taken care of. Apparently this should have seemed like some sort of ominous sign, but it just didn’t. I simply just thought things were going pretty well.

About 1 a.m. we got back to the Sheraton to find the line was still to the door. We all sort of looked at each other with a sense of impending dread that had already happened, or possibly the look we would have if we had all stepped in dog shit at exactly the same time. It turned out both looks were sort of justified.

My buddy nutted up and volunteered to stand in line to pretend to check in. I quickly ran to the hotel bar to chug an $8 bottle of Budweiser. Our ladies spent their time running back and forth between the two of us to give updates. “Oh no, it looks like we may not have a room!” “Coulter needs more money because beers are really expensive here.”

Eventually, I abandoned my post at the bar and went to the lobby to watch the festivities. The customers in line were getting a little restless, which is totally understandable because we were now at the hour and a half mark of waiting and it appeared there was no room at the inn, not in that “birth of a savior” kind of way, but in that “we’re totally fucked” kind of way.

We made a quick phone call to the Sheraton booking switchboard. It turns out that we had been charged for the room and we definitely had a reservation, but that we didn’t really have a room, just a reserved room. We tried to cancel the room, since it wasn’t there to begin with, but that didn’t fly either. Seriously, we couldn’t even get screwed over the phone, as they insisted we stand in line for another hour so we could get screwed in person. Either way, we were not getting a room, at least at the Sheraton.


So, anyways, here’s sort of what it felt like around three in the morning. In case it isn’t clear, the fellow in brown plays the part of the Sheraton hotel, while we play the part of the poor bastard with the beard.

I actually screamed more than the guy in the video, but otherwise it seems like a fairly accurate portrayal. The Sheraton slogan is, “Who’s taking care of you?” but it should probably be changed to, “We are just fucking terrible, really fucking terrible.”


Normally, I would have been going crazy, calling anyone affiliated with the Sheraton several names that end in the letters “er,” but for some reason I didn’t. It could be that I had simply accepted my fate and had magically mastered maturity with a brave, pretend happy face. It wasn’t that at all, however.

It was that early on, I realized that I didn’t have to worry about a topic for this week’s column anymore because I would just bitch about this experience for about a thousand words. It was sort of relaxing and Zen to just let all the douchbaggery wash over me and simply try to remember it. I didn’t stab anyone in the neck or use the word “fuckhole.” I didn’t take a shit on the front door, even though this did occur to me. I didn’t even pull a fire alarm and then try to steal someone else’s room, which also occurred to me. I simply gave up and started taking notes.

After two to three hours in line, we made it to the front and they eventually got us a room at the Westin down the street. Yeah, they paid for the room and gave us cab money, but I still can’t really let them off the hook. It felt like being molested and then being given a candy bar afterwards. Sure, candy is nice, but that other part was totally not cool, not cool at all.

The Westin did smell like white tea though, and the room was pretty nice, so it all sort of worked out in the end.

We walked around the next morning and got caught in a rainstorm, which normally would have seemed like a disaster, but, instead, felt like a sweet little respite from the blaring hatred I had for the Sheraton. The rain stopped and we finally got back in our car, which now seemed like a peaceful temple with wheels on it. Eventually, it was time to eat lunch and it was around this time that I saw this restaurant.

I’m sure this may have been a fine restaurant and it looked sort of cool inside, but I felt as if I’d given away just a little too much blind faith in a twelve-hour period as it was. This was simply a chance neither my sanity nor I could take. We had all-you-can-eat Sushi instead. It turns out I can eat a lot.

Buona sera, senorina, kiss me goodnight.

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