Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I've Gone To Look For America

I've stayed in some interesting places as I've made my way across rural America. Interesting as in deeply disturbing.

One motel had little signs on the nightstands asking guests not to clean wild game in the room and warning of a $100 fine for blood in the bathtub. That explained the stains.

Another had a manager who was bizarrely proud of the lobby coffeepot. "You've got to have some," he insisted when we checked in. "I make some great coffee." When we arrived in the afternoon, when we left for dinner, when we returned from dinner, when we left in the morning, he was polishing the glass on the front door. At check-out, a colleague complained that the shower in his room, one of the four occupied rooms in an otherwise empty motel, only had hot water. "Oh yeah," the manager giggled, "I've been meaning to fix that. I haven't had any help here in a long time. I don't sleep much now." I came through the area the following year but had to stay somewhere else while authorities cleaned the residue from the drug lab he'd been running in the office.

Tonight there's not even an interesting story to kill the time, just the whir of the cheap, in-room heating unit, loud enough to make watching television impossible. There's a mark on the carpet that looks as though someone once tried to iron the floor. The view is of the parking lot and the state highway beyond. Someone's been smoking in this "nonsmoking room" and I'd be willing to bet it's one of the meth head maids. There's high speed internet, of course, but nowadays you get that when you rent a yurt. It gives me something to do, at least.

Tomorrow's a better room, nicer meals, more to do. It's also one night closer to home, where even my kids wouldn't gut an animal indoors.


Anonymous said...

That sounds lovely, Snag! I'm guessing there were no mints on your pillow last night...

Your post reminds me of a cross-country trip that Grizzled and I took some years back. We stopped in Havre, Montana to spend the night, but some major fair was going on and the 2 hotels/motels were booked. They looked at us like we were fools. Didn't we know the fair was that week!!!

We were too pooped to continue driving so we opted to stay in a very scary and questionable motel that was $23 a night although the clerk kept asking us if we were sure we didn't just need it for an hour! :0

Every piece of fabric in that room was stiff... and the tub... well, not showering after a long day in the car was preferable to getting in that tub.

Anonymous said...

Where exactly are you? Jersey City?

Snag said...

It's like a cross between Montana and Jersey City. Except without mountains or water.

Anonymous said...

Right, so you are in Fargo, ND.

Been there. Killed a man.