I hope that you will live to see the day when you learn to believe in other gods than a few movie whores and a couple of prize-fighters. – Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen
The truly shocking thing about it all is that the place is beautiful. Iron buttresses riveted together by blood and sweat, an open atrium reaching to the heavens, crystal chandeliers, corporate art and all the trappings of a ‘renostored’ historic building. It is a castle in a city of fortresses. While a child of poverty, I have been to more ballrooms and spanking filthy rich bars than my cast and lot should have ordained. That is somewhat a lie, since while we didn’t have much by way of fluid wealth, we came from some middle-class ancestors. We may not have had money for electrics but we maintained a collection of broken antiques passed down in the family for over a century, including a collection of scraggly houseplants propagated in a greenhouse in Europe while it was still in the Age of Kings. I can recognize opulence and comfort since they are childhood yearnings and youthful aspirations, but I am sophisticated enough not to be bought by a few baubles as I have my own hoard I gloat over.
My first awareness of Mr. Trump was when I was young. One exceptional spring afternoon, my sibling acquired an issue of a publication called Spy Magazine. Spy was a self-congratulatory smart collection of slick and sophisticated 1980s writers and New York [City] drinkers who wrote about Lesbian und Kunst and Mr. Trump’s pernicious salacious lifestyle. In the age of Robin Leach and Shari Belafonte who oozed over the wealth of the parvenue, Spy coined the term “short-fingered vulgarian” in reference to Mr. Trump, their favorite target in an ocean of easily toppled scions of wealth and purveyors of the cocaine-addled society of Gotham, and by extension, the nation. We were precocious youth, and while living vicariously through those authors in our squalor, we rioted about the adventures of Mr. Trump. He was a silly little man.
I can’t say that I remember the Bonwit Teller Building that was torn down to make way for the Trump Tower, but at that time we were children and the entire city was made of small things in front of my sticky hands – those things children are interested in. The smell coming from the roasting American Chestnuts (this was before the blight) and real knishes of the street vendors. The danger of the city and the perverts. F.A.O. Schwarz and the many toys one could play with if we were taken there, since as a child one cannot do as one pleases but must be an ancillary appendage to your parent’s narrative. The city then smelled of rancid aspiration, urine, dog shit, and ejaculate. I cannot recall exactly the building, but I am sure we walked by it several times, and it was just another gray monster rotting in a city of lost children and forgotten toys. After the many years of construction, we were growing too. When the building was finished, we were older, full of vim and vigor, and a certain dislike of Mr. Trump and his ricky-ticky-tacky-tacky life as portrayed by Spy and so many other outlets of humor we managed to snag from whatever newsstand we were allowed to actually look at with our eyes. In those Goode Olde days, hardcore porn was out in the open, and New York celebrated the unmanicured genitalia in a way that many don’t remember. For those who bemoan the cleanup of Times Square, maybe if you had children trundling after you, you may not want to have the candy bars and New York Times displayed alongside what I will never forget my baby eyes seeing magazines where I will not soon forget the one that depicted a rather large hand up a certain expansive and ultimately forgiving orifice. But, children must grow up quick sooner or later, and the uglier AIDS-ending to the Sexual Revolution may as well have done it.
I am not sure when we traveled to the Trump Tower, but it was a special occasion. It was a pilgrimage of sorts. Like visiting Plymouth Rock after reading a bunch of books on the whole rotting story. We hate visited before hate visiting was a thing. I remember the doorman. The brass, oh my the brass was everywhere. We chuckled at all this, and when we went in, there were shops but nothing of interest to the now adolescent selves we had grown in to. This was before Starbucks had moved east mind you, so there wasn’t even a double mint mocha frape cappuccino to distract us. There were only some crappy Sharper Imageesque stores (as I remember) and not much else. We rode the escalators a few times. Walked about a little and listened to the waterfalls that to us, sounded like the toilet that wouldn’t stop running in the upstairs bathroom. In awe and full of hate, we left the tower; I would like to say never to return, but I think I was there again in 1994 or 1998. Hard to say, as memory and forgetting are a mist of intertwined forces, each one tackling the other to form an image that is as much dream as a legal document of Time. Nothing was saved to The Cloud back then, no photos, and certainly not any entry in any diary that wasn’t consumed by fire or tossed out by an ex-spouse.
And now Mr. Trump is the President-Elect of the United States of America. All these years of over-educated under-paid chuckling and he is now to be President.
I happened to be in the D.C. area, and with my supper over, had a little time before I had to return to my hotel in the Outer Limits and prepare for the workday ahead. I thought, why not stop by the new Trump Hotel, the International. I walked there from [REDACTED] which is only a short distance from where he will, after January 21st, 2017, reside if not at least part-time. I wonder if one types ‘Trump’ into the Googles or another map search that it may not only suggest the hotel as it will the White House as it does today recommend Kinkos and Starbucks. Truly, this is the first president born of the internet.
I had an expensive glass of wine at the bar. I did not have the $100 shot nor the crystal spoon of wine at $147.97 nor look at the food menu. I took a soft chair and sat at the bar, watching the goings on at the bar and the restaurant or table service or whatever was happening out there in the lobby.
I would like to say that there was an ugly sort of basket of deplorables. I would have enjoyed finding upon a night gathering of high-class champagne-swilling Ku Klux Klan members. However, to my chagrin, since it would have made for some very simple narrative for this blog or perhaps a piece in the million-dollar we-don’t-pay-our-writers HuffPo or moment of fame in Vice or Slate, it was nothing but a Monday night crowd in an international city. The crowd was the same wealthy jizz-garglers I have seen in every trendy spot I have called upon, from the hallowed dance halls of Miami Beach to the Sushi and sympathy spots of Beverly Hills. I have seen the same multicultural crowd of expats of all ages and nations and native-born business wo/man in any hotel from the old Regent, the Jefferson, the Carlyle, or any others. I have seen the indigent bon homme Trustifarians in the nightclubs of New York, the over-degreed Enfant Terribles of Cambridge, the Lords of Princeton, the Ladies of Northampton, and whatever bar had $23 cocktails to keep out the riff and raff. In other words, this horror show of Mr. Trump’s D.C. hotel is not unparalleled. It is not some hacked and delivered sideshow provided by the Russians, Whitelash, Bernie Sanders, Director Comey, Misogyny, or too many free refills on Slushies at participating 7-Elevens. No, this garish collection of deplorable wealthy spoiled mavens of supercilious nonsense and designer bull shit is the ruling class of our Great and Storied Nation. It is, when we splurge on a few drinks, us, or that night, me, as it is all of us no matter who we voted for if we even bothered to vote at all.
I nursed my drink as I could ill afford another at these prices. I hoped to catch some antics, maybe even talk to one of the many people at the bar since while a Monday it was full, but not to be. Each kept to their own, each individual not in conversation was hacking away on their iThingy. I looked at the dinners, listened to the merry din, and eventually had to part. As I left a man yelled, ‘you don’t belong here!’ But this turned out to be a voice in my head. The man had actually said goodnight sir to which I responded, and joined the cold night air, already in progress.
Ich hoffe, dass Sie leben werden, um den Tag zu sehen, wenn Sie lernen, an andereGötter zu glauben, als ein paar Filmhuren und ein paar Preisträger. – Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen