Thursday, March 05, 2015

"Either This Wallpaper Goes, Or I Do"

Because Dorothy Parker and Vladimir Nabokov lived in hotels, I really thought I would like to as well. When the lease was up on my apartment and I still had a month or so to go in Korea, it was exciting to finally realize one of my literary fantasies.

It's been about ten days and I've decided that I couldn't do this on a permanent basis unless I had a hotel suite rather than just a room. That was a possibility, but I had to stay within a certain budget. I've got two weeks to go, but who's counting?  I am.

To begin the virtual tour, it's a room with no view. There is some kind of steel thing in front of the window. If I crane my neck upward, I can get a glimpse of the sky. Good thing there's television because it keeps me from having to look at the wallpaper. 

Did I say wallpaper? I meant to say wallpaperS. I counted one morning, and there are six different wallpaper patterns in that one room:

1. Zebra - This is the main pattern. It covers two-and-a-quarter walls.

2. Shiny Black Roses - This is on two beams. I think they are beams.

3. Cellular Mitosis - This is on the window-with-no-view wall. A two-foot strip. The background is cream-colored and the cells are black and blue.

4. Shocking Lime Green - The headboard.

5. Brown Gingham - This comes after the cellular mitosis, finishing off the window wall, and continues on to the wall opposite the bed, where the TV hangs.

6. Red-and-White-Checkerboard - This is around the light fixture on the ceiling, and nowhere else. Meant as a flourish, or did the decorator just get tired? Nausea is also a possibility.

There is a long counter that runs the length of the TV wall. It's bright green.  A small dining table with two chairs are next to the window wall. The chairs are covered in lime green crushed velvet. The bedspread is orange and pink.

The bathroom -- fixtures, floor, walls, towels -- is stark white. It's restful. There's a bathtub, so I go there often.

When I'm in the room, I find myself unable to read more than a few pages at a time. Writing? Forget it. I watch a lot of CNN and BBC.

Oscar Wilde died in a cheap hotel in France. During his last illness, he famously remarked something along the lines that he was "...fighting a duel to the death with this wallpaper. Either it goes or I do." I wonder what his wallpaper looked like.  What would he have made of the haphazard pastings in my room? Perhaps they would have killed him off weeks earlier. I prefer to think that they would have jolted him back to life.


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