Friday, April 22, 2011

My Brother John

When I interviewed at Berkeley the first time, I also visited my brother in Mountainview.  He picked me up at the airport, and we went out for Chinese. He's about fifteen years older than me, a brother by another mother.  I hadn't seen him as an independent adult, so the social dynamic was in flux, but that is a story for my personal blog.  I was well dressed (for me) in a corduroy blazer, and oxford shirt.

Rather than stay with him, I got a room in a motel. The room was unusual for a cheap motel: among other things, it had a jacuzzi and two floor-to-ceiling mirrors. I spent the night polishing my talk, and the next morning went downstairs for breakfast, and to meet my brother.

He was late, so I started chatting with the desk clerk, the same guy who checked me in the night before.  He was a gay Latino studying to be a court reporter specializing in Spanish-language cases.  He wanted to help "Mexicans," which sounded wrong to my gringo ears.  While we were talking, he explained why my room had special amenities: the motel was a notorious prostitute hotel, and the police had installed cameras in the hallways to keep track of people. As the clerk, he saw a sliver of people's private lives, and was witness to multiple affairs.

He asked me, "So who are you waiting for?"
"Oh, my brother's going to pick me up.  He's running late."
"That was your brother last night?"
"Yeah... why?"
"Well, when you checked in yesterday, I thought he was your sugar daddy."

I'll take that as a compliment.

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