There’s a street in Denver you might have heard of named Colfax. Among other things, it’s home to the world famous Casa Bonita. It’s also got a reputation being THE place to go in Denver if you’re in search of temporary companionship at reasonable rates. Hotels on Colfax actually advertise via neon signs that hourly rates are available. Want a tattoo? Head to the Fax. Need to pawn a gently used firearm? No worries. There are roughly 756,123 different pawn shops along the street. Prince Albert time? Plenty of reputable piercing joints willing to help you out. Looking for a place to live? Drive far enough and you’ll find some of the finest trailer parks this side of the Mississippi.
Back in the day I was stayed over at my then-girlfriend and now-wife’s house one night and I had to take the bus into downtown to get to work the next morning. The bus in question? The 15. The time in question? 6am. The bus was packed and about half the people on it were wearing suits.
The rest obviously worked somewhere with a business casual dress code. Being on a bus at 6am sucks and nobody would do it unless they needed to get to work and make some money for luxuries like electricity and Kraft macaroni and cheese.
Except, that is, if you’re the kind of dude who enjoys greeting the sun by chugging a 40 out of a paper bag. I’m not sure if the gentleman in question was starting the party or fighting against the dying of the dark to keep it going, but either way, that guy wasn’t going to let little things like dawn or social conventions stop him from getting his drank on. I mean, I guess it’s theoretically possible that he was on his way to work but I feel there is a reasonable case to be made for doubting that.
What’s great is that he even made it half way to his destination before he got kicked off the bus for belching in the face of a very scared business woman. I’ve taken the bus and/or train into work hundreds if not thousands of times so you can believe me when I say this: shit like this only happens on Colfax.
Why is this relevant on a blog post titled Tulsa you may ask? Well, back in the day I took a trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma with my friends to compete in an athletic competition and every time I think of that city I can’t help but compare it to Colfax. The entire town is a scaled up version of Colfax, but with an extra feature that makes it even more fun: absolutely, stupidly awful heat and humidity. We were there to play in a tournament that qualified us for a spot in the North American Challenge, which is basically the World Series of competitive laser tag. Just like the Series it only consists of teams from the United States and Canada despite having a lofty name that implies a much larger geographic area than that which is actually included.
Our lodgings were at the Motel 6. I want to make it clear that I didn’t book the hotel.
We arrived and were immediately blown away by the lack of paint on the outside walls. Okay, that’s not completely fair. They had paint, but not everywhere it should have been. From what I could tell like 93% of the hotel’s surface area was covered with paint, but, damn, did that other 7% make one hell of an impression. They had our deposit and most of us were too broke to pay attention, much less a second deposit at some other hotel that might theoretically have paint, so we went with it. Disclaimer: this was like a decade ago and one of my friends who went back through Tulsa a year or two back drove by the place to see if it was still a giant shit hole and he reported that the place had been renovated. This news made me oddly sad.
The beds passed my ad-hoc bed bug inspection and I was pleasantly surprised by this. But the fact that I felt the need to conduct an ad-hoc bed bug inspection speaks volumes. I haven’t felt the need to do one in any other hotel I’ve stayed at in the entire time I’ve lived on planet Earth, so, I guess that makes this hotel special. Even though I was excited about a bed bug free experience it was still disappointing when one of our rooms failed the “close the door” test. I’ll describe it just in case you’ve never had need to administer that particular test. The first step is to open the door and the second step is to close it. The door passed the “open” piece of the test with flying colors, but it failed miserably at the “close” part. None of us had anything really valuable, but you never know when some meth-head is going to bust in and steal your slightly dirty Batman boxers. We bitched about the door and got moved to the next room over. 20 minutes later the broken door room was rented out to some other guy. At no point in between did anyone working for the hotel take any crazy steps like “fixing the door” or “looking at the door to see if it could be fixed”.
We thought it would be neighborly to warn the guy.
Friend: “Hey, the door doesn’t close. You might want to get a new room.”
Guy: “Anyone who wants to try and rob me is gonna get the business end of my .45”
Okay, whatever. We were in Oklahoma. People have guns. It’s normal. But people don’t usually pull their guns out of their pockets and wave it in the air to emphasize to people who warn them that their stuff could potentially be stolen due to a broken door that they shouldn’t take advantage of the broken door to steal his stuff. That shit ain’t normal.
Then he hung a pink towel over the guard rail and went back in his room. Somewhere in that mess of events my friends and I slunk back to our rooms to get away from the crazy person waving the loaded pistol in the air. Every twenty minutes or so someone drove up to the hotel, climbed up the stairs, grabbed the pink towel, and entered the crazy dude’s room. The broken door was really convenient because they didn’t even need to knock. On their way out they’d hang the pink towel over the balcony again.
We were witnesses to some absurd number of what we surmised to be drug deals conducted by a man who didn’t quite understand the concept of subtlety that night, but it never once crossed my mind to call the cops on the armed and potentially deranged alleged drug trafficker who had pointed a gun at multiple people that night. It wasn’t fear, apathy, sympathy for his customers, my moral stance against the inefficient war on drugs, or the “Stop Snitchin’” video featuring Carmello Anthony that I saw 4 years after the incident. Hell, it didn’t even cross my mind that being next door to an armed psychopath with a hair trigger was probably a bad idea. We were on vacation – even if it was a downgrade from Wyoming as a destination – we weren’t going to let that shit ruin our night.
But at least I had the sense not to report the guy for smoking in a room that was clearly marked as non-smoking.