Saturday, March 08, 2008

Homicidal Maniacs in the Econo-Saver Suite

One more story about last weekend. Less star-gazey than the last and more paranoid in the way one gets when he’s watched too many horror movies.

Knowing that the purpose behind the San Francisco trip was to cover Noise Pop — Aly’s article went in Thursday’s paper, by the way — I brought along a camera. My regular camera, however, does not lend itself to easy travel. If most people’s digitals are the size of newer model cell phones, my Minolta is vintage 1989-era Game Boy with a VHS cassette taped to the side. Like I said, not immediately portable. So instead I brought the pocket-sized cheapie I got for Christmas. Apparently, camera quality traces camera size, or at least I'll pretend that's the case, and this mini-Olympus proved adequate for daylight snapshots, as this photo of Aly and her sister at Nepenthe in Big Sur proves…


… and not-so-hot for photographing poorly-lit, gyrating rock stars, as the below photo of Tilly and the Wall’s Neely Jenkins and Jamie Presnall.

tilly and the wall

As you can see, I might as well have just applied the Photoshop filter labeled “cruddy.”

Teeny tiny photbox did prove useful on a particular non-rockstar-related venture. For the two nights we spent in San Francisco, we stayed the Mosser, a hotel on Fourth Street. (In a word: hipster-friendly. IKEA-style furniture, bold retro patterns on every conceivable surface, and tall and skinny, like so many pairs of scenester pants.) I suspect that this hotel has fairly recently been redone. Things looked new, you see, but these things’ older counterparts were not all that well-hidden. For example, when I opened the window above the bathtub, I found another window. And another wall. Not even three feet away.

creepy window 8
innocent enough, no?

creepy window 6
but what's this?

creepy window3
close enough to touch.

creepy window2
and close enough for someone else to touch me?

Way creepy. I never saw another light on in whatever room existed on the other side of this window, but I had to shudder at the thought of cracking the window open during my shower in hopes of getting some extra ventilation and then having the next one silently slide open as well, a hand reaching out from the darkened mystery room and into my naked soapy time.

I wondered if this second window truly did open up into someone else’s hotel room, or if, for some reason, it was a vestige of the hotel’s previous incarnation, when the wall was for some reason farther out than it stands now. (Seems unlikely that designers would want to make a hotel room already the size of a lunchbox even smaller, but what do I know?) For what it’s worth, I turned on the flash and shot up and down, to see what there is to see.

creepy window4
the view looking down

creepy window 5
the view looking up

Empty darkness, cement and a condom wrapper. Lovely. The wall opposite the edge of my room seemed to remain three feet away, up or down. This lead to me envisioning some maniac shimmying up the gap like some evil Spider-man — no doubt from some abandoned basement decorated with body parts.

Rest assured, following the photo shoot, I locked the window.


  1. Moreso that window and slender wall space is like some horrendous, real-life version of The Cube, whereby if you seek to escape into yon window, your legs will be sliced like roast beef in a deli market.

    The creepy thing is, there is a website out there from the inside of the other window with pictures of you touching the window.

  2. First off, congrats on making a creepy situation actually creepier. Second, way to up the pop culture ante by throwing out a reference to Cube, a movie I haven't thought about in years and which, apparently, has a sequel. Who knew?