And I recall the Mapes Hotel, Reno, first hotel in which I ever stayed, 9 years old? --The weird harmless hell of casino bells, fizzing lights, jangling coin-vomit, tobacco smoke, red carpet, red everything. That smell, how I loved it: notes of whiskey, sweat, grease, old carpet, trapped air. And Elevator: first one I'd ever ridden on; it was simple, absolute magic:
step in, be in (solemnity of those moments & engine whirring), then be elsewhere suddenly. Because of the Mapes Hotel, I remain enchanted by elevators. And by Keno women.
Then there was, there is, the Idea of a Hotel Room: bad art that looked so good back then; massive lamps; beds better than what we had at home but still sad like abandoned cars. Garish drapes as heavy as lead. Stationery, envelopes, post-cards, pens!
...And the hotel detective, whom I saw just once, bulging arms in a shiny suit, hair slicked back, a red mole on his neck, a shiny forehead, and on his face what I would learn later to call a smart-ass smirk. He was rushing to the elevator--trouble somewhere in the Mapes Hotel. But he saw us and let us get in. He took the stairs. Down, down.