You’ve heard the old adage, “You get what you pay for”?
Sometimes when you stay in small town America, your choices for motels are limited. I will offer some scant advice that I have gleaned from staying in some sketchy motels in the past. Avoid ones that are named after vehicles; Belair, Cadillac, Rambler, etc. The rooms tend to not have been remodeled since the Eisenhower Administration, the beds look like the back of a 20 year old horse, and the mattress sleeps like there is a saddle horn between your shoulder blades.
We didn’t have a lot of money recently visiting one of our kids, so we stayed at one of the cheaper hotels in town. What could go wrong; it’s a quaint little college town right?
I checked in at the front desk of this flea bag (Oh I’m sorry, I used my inside voice when I blurted that out) I meant, four-star hotel minus three and was met with little enthusiasm. In fact, I got the same kind of enthusiastic response you’d get if you gave your car keys to a beat up ’67’ Volkswagen Beetle to the valet of a billionaires club. This was my first clue that our stay would be less than stellar.
Getting our luggage and traipsing down the hall to our room, I was anxious as I slid my electronic pass key through the slot. What would the room look like? We entered the room and like a scratch-off ticket, our reward was quickly revealed. If I’d been blind, I would have thought we had secured a college football locker room. What is it with cheap hotels? Do all housekeeping personnel have aerosol cans labeled, “Sweat Socks and Musk Glands?”
I believe low cost hoteliers want you to “feel” the full experience. That’s why despite the fact you crave fresh and invigorating air, all the windows are usually bolted shut. Or another theory is that the windows are locked because so many people want to share in the same experience as you. As I looked around the room, I was angry with myself that I’d forgotten the rake. I turned to my wife, “Honey, there’s enough fur on the floor that I could have knitted you a sweater.” She was not amused!
We finally settled in, put our galoshes on so we could walk across the filthy carpet with confidence, and pulled back the bed covers. The comforter had so many stains on it, it looked like Gorbachev’s forehead. We finally settled in for the night after we played rocks, papers, scissors, for who got the hand sanitizer bottle first.
The next morning I woke up to a singing buzzard outside my window, or at least I thought it was, and headed for the breakfast room. The scene in the dining room resembled an intergalactic Star Wars bar. Strange looking people, (no really strange) screaming children, everyone sporting “unique” body art (including the grandmother). It was completely on display because all the men wore no shirts. I thought one was even a pirate, but then I knew I had to be mistaken. There was no parrot sitting on his shoulder.
I returned to my room, promptly woke up my wife and before we headed out for breakfast at McDonald’s, we made a beeline for the local veterinarian clinic. After that breakfast scene, it was only appropriate to make sure my distemper shots were up to date.
So was there any benefit at staying in a Motel 1 1/2 ? Yes indeed! After seeing everyone at breakfast and how odd they all looked, I’m throwing away my “Acquiring Self-Esteem” CD collection when I get home. I’m cured.