Saturday, January 13, 2024

Hotel California

Saturday 9: Hotel California (1977)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
1) In this song, Don Henley called the hotel's front desk and asked, "Please bring me my wine." He was told they haven't had wine since 1969. When did you last have a glass of wine? It's been years. Since menopause, wine triggers debilitating migraines. This isn't a hardship, as I have become acquainted with mixed drinks that I like better anyway.

2) The lyrics refer to wine as a "spirit." That is incorrect. Wines are fermented, not distilled, and have a lower alcohol content than spirits. When "Hotel California" was popular, listeners who were into wine called radio stations to let them know about the mistake. Are you a wine aficionado? Are any of your friends or family knowledgeable about wine? I used to have a friend who took her wine very seriously. It amused me to hear her order. Is this an Italian wine? French? Oh, it's domestic? Is it from Napa? Vermont? She took such pleasure in the wine when it finally arrived, too.

3) In the song, Henley sings about looking for the door that will take him "back to the place I was before." Don says that refers to a loss of innocence and a longing for a simpler time. When you think about "the good old days," where does your mind wander to? I return to when I was 8 or 9, lying on the grass in the backyard, enjoying a book. I don't know why this moment is indelible, but I was so happy.
4) With five #1 singles, six #1 albums, and six Grammy awards, it's generally agreed that the Eagles were one of the most popular groups of the 1970s. Which decade produced most of your favorite songs? Mid-60s to mid-70s.
5) The Eagles were formed in 1971 when four of them happened to find themselves hired to play back up for Linda Ronstadt. The men found they really hit off and wanted to keep working together when the gig with Linda was up. Tell us about how you met someone important in your life. Back in 1992, six of us were hired on the same day to work on the same account. That's how I met Henry. He had just been laid off by Northwestern University and desperately needed a job, any job, so he put his computer skills to work. I was a copywriter and he was a Mac production artist. We went through orientation together and just clicked. Henry decided I was his "boss," even though I didn't supervise him in anyway. It was the beginning of a friendship where he always, always sees me in the best possible light. I treasure him.
6) The Eagles are still on the road, filling big arenas for their Long Goodbye tour. One explanation for their enduring popularity is that their music spans genres. They scored hits on the rock, pop and country charts. Other popular categories of music include classical, gospel, jazz, Latin, reggae, New Age, and rap. Which do you listen to most often? Which did you listen to most recently? I listen to the oldies station in the shower every morning.
7) In 1976, when "Hotel California" was topping the charts, the trend in home decor was vibrant. Intense copper, bright pink and vivid avocado were among the popular colors for bath towels, mats and shower curtains that year. If we were to peek into your 2024 bathroom(s), what colors would we find? When I moved in, my bathroom was seriously pink. Pink wall tiles, floor tiles, sink, tub and yes, even a pink toilet. I renovated it in 2018 and now it's all white, except for the pink/white checked floor tiles. So I use pink as the accent color on my towels and shower curtain.
8) Handbags were big in 1976. Not just in popularity but in size. Purses routinely had compartments on the inside and pockets on the outside. When you leave the house, do you travel light? Or do you prefer to carry a lot with you? I carry a lot.

9) Random question -- How different is your life today than it was a year ago: (a) a lot; (b) a little); (c) not at all? I'll go with (a). A year ago I was in the midst of a shit ton of dental work, embarking on yoga, and adjusting to life as a retiree. I think much of the more serious time in the dentist chair is behind me, weekly yoga classes are a part of my life, and I've made peace with the fact that my advertising career is over and I have a part-time job as a sales girl. I feel like a different gal.

Haven't got time for the stress

I like most things about my job at the card shop. My boss Cece is one of the warmest people I've ever met. The overwhelming majority of our customers are pleasant. The cards and wrapping paper are pretty and the candles smell good. I can stop for pizza or fried chicken on my way home.

But there's Jen. She's the assistant manager I work with most often. She's on the verge of 50 and a former ad agency exec who she thrives on adrenaline. Since there is little drama in our card shop, she creates it. After emerging from 43 years in a high-stress industry, I don't respond to this anymore. I felt my reaction to her isn't what she expects and I suspect she's disappointed ... and I can't quite bring myself to change.

Here's me and Jen in a nutshell: Last week, when we were moving the Christmas/Hanukkah products to the back of the store -- Jen behaved as though we were emergency workers removing tree limbs after a tornado -- we had space on our gift table. Jen told me that there are "like a half dozen Legos for adults" in storage and told me to bring them out because "now they'll sell."

I went to storage and found a shelf full of Legos that enable adults to build an elaborate bouquet of roses or an orchid for $50. That's a hefty price point for an impulse purchase, but no one asked my opinion (and I really like working where no one depends on me to make decisions). There were close to 20 boxes, but she asked for "like a half dozen," so I brought six out and stacked them on the gift table.

When Jen went to storage, she saw that there were still Legos for adults in the back and, with much harrumphing and sighing, she brought the others out and stacked them on top of the six I originally brought out.

Um ... she said "like a half dozen," which is six. She could have told me I misunderstood her direction. But she chose to be passive-aggressive, so I ignored her. I'm too old for this shit. Besides, putting those Legos out is not a high-stakes move. If the mere six I'd displayed sold immediately, all anyone had to do was walk to the storage and bring out more. And guess how many we've sold since New Year's: That would be none.

While I am not predisposed to change and will not meet her adrenaline rush-for-adrenaline rush, I have decided that if we are going to spend four hour stretches together, I'd like us to get along. So when she dials up the self-created drama, I try to diffuse it with small talk. About her personal life. I find people like talking themselves.

Example: When she started complaining about the mess yesterday's team left on craft table, she said her 9-year-old daughter is just as messy, so I pivoted to: "Hey! Isn't your daughter a Girl Scout? When does she start selling cookies?" Jen immediately grabbed her phone and texted me a link so I could place an order.

I do this all the time now. Yes, it is manipulative. But it lightens the mood and makes my day go easier, so what the hell.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash