So I was over at Non- working Monkey, where she was bitching and moaning (and nobody does it better, or more humorously) about staying in a Best Western Motel in Toronto and being deeply annoyed that there was no room service or place to drink, when it occurred to me that I never told any of you about the hellish time I spent in a La Quinta.
What a bleak motel! And in what a godforsaken part of a godforsaken town!
I will not name the town, in case the very nice people I was there to work with happen to google their town and find out what I really thought of where they live. (Their parting gift to me was a framed photograph of their city.) But just know that it was a smallish place in Washington state.
This was a while back--two years, which is why you never knew about it; you didn't exist then. (Or I didn't.)
I need to rely, for accuracy, on some of the e-mails that I sent out to my long-suffering friends. Let's just quote directly, because we are lazy:
Subject line: I am in hell
I am in a motel outside of town, on the highway, in a sea of parking lots and randomly-placed businesses. From my rattling window I can see a Wal-Mart, a parking lot, another parking lot, a car wash, a Tylers Motors, a gas station, and, in the far distance, some dry-looking hills.
Above my bed is a painting of three naked Indians burning a cow skull.
This entire motel smells like waffles. It is not an appetitizing odor.
The wind never stops blowing. My windows are vibrating and rattling and there's an ever-present roar. When I shut the window tight, the wind squeals and screeches through the cracks, so I have to open them a bit and then everything shakes like a train is going by.
I have a headache that I suspect will never go away.
Subject line: I traveled for eight hours to get here; why am I not in Ireland? Ah, I think I went the wrong direction
I can't find a liquor store.
I am almost out of gas.
Last night I ate at Burger King because I was tired and I couldn't find anywhere that sold alcohol. Nothing but Carl Jrs and Long John Silvers and McDonalds and Popeyes Fried Chickens as far as the eye can see.
I tried driving farther up the highway to see if there was anything, and all of a sudden it became a freeway with no exit ramps and big illuminated signs that said DRIVE WITH CARE STRONG WINDS AHEAD and all commerce just magically ended and I was on this bleak truck-filled freeway to nowhere in the dark, battling the wind, fighting to stay on the road.
I found a place to turn around and went to civilization and suddenly the lights of the Burger King drive-thru looked like Nirvana. My key card didn't work in the motel side door and I had to swim through those winds with my pathetic greasy burger bag to the front door, and climb the stairs to my room. I immediately put on my pajamas even though it was only 6:30 local time and wolfed down the wind-chilled burger and fries while sitting on my bed. And no possibility of alcohol anywhere.
Subject line: Still in hell, God help me
This motel is just plain creepy. What do I expect, for $49 a night? When I pulled into the parking lot this evening (note: the winds have died down, but now it's raining), I looked up at my window. Dark, of course. But the window next to it was all lit up. Curtains open. A guy who apparently was stark naked--or, at least, shirtless--was sitting in the window, staring out at the parking lot. Yikes.
And there was some guy in a hoodie and saggy pants smoking furtively and lurking right outside the door. He was probably just a guest who didn't want to smoke in his room, but in the frame of mind I'm currently in I decided he was a drug dealer. This would be a good place to make meth: rent a room for $49, fill it full of toxic chemicals, pack up your meth, check out. Your profit would be astronomical.
I mentioned to one of the city editors that I was hoping to find a nice place to eat and maybe have a glass of wine tonight. She got pretty excited and consulted with the other two city editors, and they pulled out a scratch pad and drew me a map. They argued briefly over which of the two chain Mexican eateries out on the strip (apparently that's where I'm staying, the strip) would be better, and they agreed that the one by Home Depot was better than the one by Fred Meyers.
But to tell you the truth, after coming back here, seeing the near-naked man, dashing to my room, changing my clothes, calling Doug, and checking my email, I was too damn tired to drive anywhere, so I went out in the rain and walked across three parking lots to Subway and got a turkey wrap. Which I am currently eating. In my pajamas. On my bed. In my room. Have I mentioned that I'm not drinking any alcohol? Not for want of trying.
Subject line: I have been totally ripped off
My motel claims to have "fresh cookies in the evening."
I HAVE YET TO SEE OR EVEN SMELL A SINGLE COOKIE. I smell waffles, though. All the time. The smell comes from the breakfast room, which has a big crock-pot of hot gravy, which I thought was oatmeal until I ladled some into my bowl, and a make-your-own-waffle bar. Shoeless rumpled people stand there, frying up waffle after waffle. The smell wafts down the hallway and permeates the place and lasts forever.
The winds are howling again this morning.
Subject line: Alcohol, at last!
I went to the little Mexican chain place last night, and it was actually quite nice. It was in a strip mall near the Burger King, across the street from Home Depot, and it was fairly quiet except for the canned mariachi music. I had a Tecate beer and some chips and salsa, and a chicken taco, and some beans and rice, and it all came to only $11.
No loud families, but a few enormous people who spent a lot of time loading up their plates at the Taco Bar.
Now I'm back in my room and I am going immediately to bed. I still have a headache, but at least I'm not thirsty anymore. And tomorrow, after one more day in the newsroom, I'm coming home.
1 hour ago