The Andon Ryonkan is warm, but aluminum. The stone floors smell like wood-finish; the walls like air-conditioning. As soon as I was three steps into the lobby, I was greeted by the chirp of the girl in the box.
“Hello!” she said in happy english. I wonder if she’s happy because she’s paid to be, or if so much pretending makes her so. I should pretend to be happy more often, I think. It may infect the rest of me.
I imagine tiny smiles spidering down my cerebrum, creeping up into my shoulders and raising them slightly.
The front desk at the Andon is a modern-art tollbooth, squatted behind a plastic breakfast table in the lobby/kitchen area. I smiled back, genuinely relieved to be back at my favorite little hotel.
This trip to Tokyo was less like actually being there, and more like remembering things very clearly. With so little time to actually spend doing anything, I instead remembered the last time I was there. It was like taking a virtual, repeat vacation. Well, I mean, it was quite a bit more than that.
“Do you have a reservation?” asked the bird in the box.
“Yes,” I replied. “I’m staying in 21, I think, which is one floor above the room I was in the last time I was here.”
This was important to say for two reasons. One, it conveyed that I was not unfamiliar with the Andon, and that she didn’t need to go through all of the introductions. The other reason is even more important, but quite private.
“Oh. Do I remember you …?” she asked.
“It’s been two years.”
“I don’t think we’ve met,” chirped this canary-girl. “I only started working here eleven months ago.”
This conversation went on for many, many years, without the addition of any real new information. We were locked in pleasantries, and soon tourists started coming to watch it continue. In 2057, our conversation was named an international landmark. During the rain-fires of 2063, the UN placed an O2 sphere around us so we could keep going, and we were the only neutral state on the planet during War Prime. In 2065, the UN released the self-dissolving Time-Machine to the general public, and in 2073, I purchased a portable unit and returned to Andon to end the conversation before it got out of hand.
“You’ll remember me next time I come back.” Since I’ve been so far into the future, I know this will be January 2008. I hope I don’t get stuck talking to her again for 60 years.
My room was cool, and I set the air-conditioner as low as it would go. I like to sleep cold. The little bird from downstairs flew my suitcase up the steps, and I turned on the TV to see what was happening in Tokyo On Television. Nothing was. So, I pounced on my first night there, and went out to meet up with some friends.
When I got back from dinner, ice-cream, photos, and guitar stories, I ground up some sleeping pills and promptly took a nap for six hours. The next day was TGS.