Your correspondent, as they used to say in the old columns, is lost.
He has been lost for two days. He has been lost ever since checking into the Detroit Plaza Hotel which is located, somewhere, in the brand new Renaissance Center in which everyone, but everyone, gets lost. It has been so designed.
Your correspondant has been wandering. He has been wandering in circles and in corridors, through glass and bronze and other space age metals. He has seen elevators hidden in columns and lounges tucked away in what seem like cliffs. He has wandered in hallways that look alike and in corridors that look alike and mong towers, an unknown number of them, that all look precisely the same. It is a frightening world.
Your correspondent cannot find the bar, he cannot find the lounge. There is not a single bar. There are many bars. They are up and down and sideways and they are all down the corridors that are the same in looks as the one he has just left. The bar he found yesterday rotated and once he found it he could barely find his way out of it and he has not seen it since. It is that way all over this complex. Thomas Wolfe would have loved it. You can never go back again.
Your correspondent finds people wandering in the halls. He finds them in the corridors. They are all lost. People make appointments with other people and then are never seen again. They agree to meet in restaurants that both can see, then one of them goes to the bathroom and cannot find the place again. Your correspondent, for instance, would love to give you the official facts and figures about the Renaissance Center, but he cannot. He cannot find the lady who had them.
So he will make them up. The Renaissance Center was built the day before yesterday by the same man who builds all new "centers," hotels and some shopping malls. The center has at least 200 towers, all of them made of mirrors, and contains 3,457 stores, 12 poster shops, 14 bakeries, 112 banks and one hotel that is always on the other side of the center.
It also has 14 bars, two of which are under water, 12 restaurants, all of which change location overnight, and elevator banks disguised as columns, pillars and just plain walls, some of them containing elevators that go almost nowhere (one floor) but others that zoom up the side of the building like Spiderman so that you can look a helicopter pilot in the eye. These elevators should be under the authority of the Federal Aviation Administration and equipped, at the very least, with air sickness bags.
Your correspondent supposes that the center is a handsome thing to behold. It is. It surely is. He supposes that in time he and many others, some of them lost and by now crazed, will get used to it, but he notes, as he must, that one never gets used to hotels. One stays in them for a short time. That is why they are hotels.
In the old hotels, there were lobbies. The elevators ran (up and down) off the lobbies and somewhere off the lobby was allways located the restaurant and bars. Nothing moved. Nothing rotated and a person could, if he or she so wanted, tipple a bit without having to contend with a moving floor.
Now, here and elsewhere, the architects, have played their little games. The thing is built for the looks of it, not for comfort, not for ease, not so you can find your way to your room. It is this way here and in other cities all over the world. The lobby is gone. The bar is gone and with it romance. You cannot ask anyone to meet you undner the clock anymore. Instead, there's a store that sells the clock. This correspondent could prove it, but he can't find it anymore. He's lost.