Every year, around our anniversary, the easily distracted squirrel in human form that I married and I go on various sorts of adventures. Sometimes it is to see friends down in other states, other times it is simply to visit family, but this year –being something a big deal with a decade of marriage behind us—we decided that we should go back to the first exploit we had after our union. We wanted to go back to Maine.
This update isn’t really about the things that we stopped and did along the way, though. This update is more about the first series of hotels that we stopped at during the trip. Because those are pretty much a story in and of themselves.
The first day we made good time, mainly because unlike ten years ago I was allowed to take highways and direct routes as opposed to every backroad and cow-path on the way, and we made it to Maine in a single night. This, normally, is not a feat that people brag about as it is only a handful of hour drive. But there were stops, and adventures, and pictures — which will be future updates on their own– so Portland was as far as the road allowed that night.
On the way there, the cunning and beautiful Veronica had decided to try and make a reservation at a hotel, that I believed at the time she had thoroughly researched. At the time she hung up the phone I knew two things about it. The first was that she seemed to have an awful lot of questions for someone who had done research about a place. The second was that they did not allow cancelations. Over the course of my marriage one of the few things I have learned is that there are very few times I am allowed to ask, “I am going to die tonight?” I held my tongue.
When arrived on site we were greeted with what would be our view for the night; the parking lot where our car would probably be on blocks and robbed by the morning, where an electric junction station used to be (probably before someone tried to steal parts for drugs and it was required to be moved), the highway (which would require you to merge directly onto without a light), and if we leaned hard enough we could see the Denny’s that all dreams go to die. I laughed, Veronica quietly admitted she had picked it based on it being the cheapest hotel in the city.
On entering the building we quickly learned that the hotel also had hourly rates as well as nightly ones, which was nice. They also had a list of accepted forms of ID, several of which didn’t require a photo—something that becomes increasingly interesting the more you think about. What is important to note is that my wife asked if they really didn’t accept cancellations without prompting. Oddly the person on the phone had lied to us, so I can only hope our credit information is safe.
So you know what the logical thing to do is in these situations? Go to the Motel 6 directly across the street and convince yourself that that is “safer” for some reason. Because everyone knows that horror movie logic dictates that one road between you and the bad thing is the same as a giant magical wall made of ice.
So the front desk clerk there was behind bullet proof glass. Thankfully there was someone checking in before us, even if it did seem like they had just possibly run out on someone, so it seemed like the place would be “populated” with “easier victims”. After they departed the clerk motioned to us to come forward, but probably because my parents made an attempt to raise me right, I pointed out that there were two men sitting in chairs seemingly waiting to get a room, “I believe these gentlemen were here before us.”
“Just ignore them,” was all I got for a response.
“Ok…” was what I mustered, because I lack to proper dialog choices for this type of conversation tree.
After checking in we had to swipe our cards to proceed to the hotel proper, to which I was greeted by the man that I had inquired about before, “Are you Jason?” Impulsively I moved closer to my wife, like any brave man would do.
“No!” I would like to think that it came out less high pitch and squeaky than it probably did.
“Oh, sorry. You look like a guy I was waiting for. A guy named Jason,” which the man cleared up for me. This was good, because without that how would I have ever been able to know any of those elaborate details I had just been presented about Jason. He was both a guy, he was being waited for, and he may, or may not, look like me.
Veronica and I fled to the elevator, which seemed like a mistake because it was one of the few times I have ever been in one that I was passingly certain it was going to both catch fire, infect us with something, and drop to the ground—possibly all at the same time. I hear they are the safest form of travel.
We hadn’t even gotten to the room. We had paid for this.
I would be exaggerating if I said my cubical at work is roughly the same size as the room we got, but only because I am pretty sure it has more free space. There was a desk, that I guess you could write your family a letter and apologize for all of your life’s choices that had gotten you to this point, but that would be if you could fit in the space between the desk and the bed to sit down. The TV was some kind of off brand make that looked like it was assembled from the leftover parts of the factory floor. Also the cable was DirecTV, so you know they were going all out for us.
The mattress was uncomfortable hard. The sheets and blankets were the cheap motel quality that feels as if they may have all been produced in the late 50s. The bed itself was weirdly shaped and seemed to make noise whenever someone moved. Although the best part was the single desk lap that was the only real means of light in the entire room, because I guess you light hotel rooms like sad dorms now.
Then, of course, you have the fun sized items in the bathroom. The piece of soap that is roughly the sliver size that anyone would have thrown away instead of continuing to use at home. Shampoo that looks like a slightly plump ketchup packet. My, in quotes, favorite was the ¼ a roll of TP, so at any moment you can be slightly concerned about there not being enough at any given time.
The shower itself was almost a work of art. The temperature didn’t go below a certain point, so a light scalding was about the best you could hope for. The water pressure was at around .2 PSI, so it would drip out of head similar to a very excitable Saint Bernard. But then you also got to dry off with novelty sized towels.
The reaction the room elicited from Veronica was very close to one that I see during a holiday rush at her job, mainly that she seemed like she was suppressing the urge to twitch violently and then stated that we should find a Chinese buffet close by.
Our Jason seeking friend was still in the lobby, which I don’t know if I should have expected or been sad about. Either both Veronica and I walked as far away from him as possible.
Strangely enough the buffet was good. Fantastically better when we first got there, and increasingly less good the more that the food seemed to cool over our short stay – which is a review I don’t know that I have ever really had of anything before. It was like everything had that Robin Williams disease from Jack, and we could just watch it age impossibly fast and then end with a kind of bland career.
The road that we took to get to the restaurant was toll based, meaning that to go there and back from the Nightmare Inn was 2 dollars. This seemed more like the universe simply questioning us if we really wanted to go back for our stuff or call it a loss and move on without. Sadly, we went back, probably to see if Jason had shown up. He hadn’t.
I almost never remember my dreams, and can count on one hand the number of times that I remember any past a day. That night I dreamt there was a drug deal going on in the room next to mine. The drug deal started to go increasingly poorly until I suddenly awoke in a start. I don’t know that I have ever really felt in danger while I slept, not in a dream, but a constant sense I was not safe. This room very gave me that impression to an extreme. I slept poorly.
Not being done with us yet, we went several blocks away attempting to escape the stink of the hotel and find a good breakfast. What we found was a packed establishment that mainly only served dishes that they had come up with, in that kitchen. This sounds entirely more interesting that it was, as most of it was simply normal human food with random peppers mixed in. If memory serves me correctly we both ordered slightly off the menu, something which the waitress hated, which was fine because she was possibly the least attentive person that we had encountered yet.