Sunset just west of Toledo last night and I was feeling all zenny, enjoying the late afternoon shadows laid across all manner of barns, big and small, old and new, red and weathered beyond all palette recognition and my GPS told me I just eleven miles out from my Motel 6 stop for the night. Remember, I’m on a budget, as in: I don’t have a job.
Son Pat had booked it for me, as I was too busy trying to get out of the snarl of traffic in Chicago, (bad taste after a lovely visit) and I’d said, “That’s great, I’d rather be on the outskirts of town. It’s nice out here, quiet.”
And it was fine — you know, there didn’t appear to be any rats or cockroaches and Bridgette at the front desk was just as cute as a bug and gave me my WiFi code and told me the pizza joint across the parking lot was real good. Done and done.
Libby and I were able to take an asphalt stroll to our patio dining experience, I had a vodka tonic (I keep one with me) in one hand her leash in the other and life was good. Pizza was too, really good, deep dish. The only bad thing were the deep dives the mosquitoes were doing — hundreds of them buzzing around under the lights, when this cute kid pulls up, fresh from a delivery and says, “I’m so glad somebody’s enjoying our patio. Nobody ever comes out here, but it’s nice out tonight.” Then noticed Libby with a “hey, pooch” and a scratch behind her ears, and then mine. Just kidding. He had tattoos on most of his exposed skin, earring in his lip, a chunky kid, so friendly though. Said he was working his way through school. “I make $50 – $75 a night in tips, then get a check every two weeks. Not bad.” His eyes got big when he found out how far I was traveling. “That’s really cool, dogs are so cool, man. Like they can sense your feelings, right?
Yeah, like tired. We beat it, back over the the Motel 6, 2nd floor, which I choose for safety, despite trudging Libby up and down the stairs and that’s when Dante’s Inferno began, ‘cept, I wasn’t the sinner, bro.
There was a balls-to-the-wall, full-tilt par-tay going on down the hall, with large, loud, obnoxious people running, yes, running, up and down the hall, screaming all manner of obscenities to the other partiers, (I actually heard one kid say, “we’re partying hard, bro.” ) and multiple screams, shout outs to friends over cell phones, giving the directions to this joint and then screaming at them because they got lost. I felt like Mrs. Kravitz on Bewitched, except I was looking through the peep hole, with Libby, looking big eyed standing right behind me.
Where is Tom Bodette when we need him?
I tried to chill. I was writing. But every time some little bastard would run down the hall and POUND ON THE DOOR Libby would bark, leading me to fear that I would be kicked out. So, I called the front desk and the guys tells me he’s with a customer, and he’ll be right up. Fast forward to two hours later and it’s really getting out of hand. They’re more drunk, they’re louder and they’re gettin’ pissy.
I call again. He tells me security is on the way. I stand at the peep hole. I had needed to take Libby out to pee one more time before calling it a night, but I was afraid I’d be accosted, as I heard in the hall, “SHHHHHH, SOME BITCH ALREADY CALLED SECURITY ON US!!!!” And the POUNDED on my door. Thanks for ratting me out, dude.
That’s when I called the cops. Now, if you ever get the chance, ask my friend Brant about the time we went to see the insipid Borat movie out of stupid curiosity, and some rowdy guys with sloshing paper beer cups (great idea, selling beer at redneck movie theaters and then showing a movie about some mid-eastern fool trashing America and all the things we hold dear, talk about a recipe for a riot. We understood it was a joke, the rednecks took it personally). Anyway, these jerks sat in front of us and had already had words with, of course, a group of three Arabic-looking young men, and the shouts across the movie theater were getting prickly, and I quietly, like I was going to get some popcorn, slid out of my seat, into the lobby and discreetly told them that a fight was about to break out before the opening credits even rolled. Then, I quickly came back and sat down, all innocent.
Cops came in, took them out. But before they were ushered to the aisle, the guy in front of me connected the dots and called me a bitch. I simply responded:
“For the record, you are a world-class asshole.”
And the theater erupted in applause. I kid you not. Brant, my world-class videographer, by the way, slinks down in his seat saying, “We are gonna get our asses kicked in the parking lot.”
Lesson learned. I stuck nary a hair out into that hall last night. I just called the cops. Twice. The party had died down to a reasonably acceptable din of boom-boom-boom, you know, when a couple got in a slapping, shoving, screaming, knock-down, drag-out fight right in front of my door. I hastened to the peep hole!!
She: “I can’t believe you treat me this way and you want to marry me!!! Get away from me you son of a bitch! And give me back MY CELL PHONE!!!!!”
He: “Just come back to the party. COME B-A-A-A-C-K !!! (Think Arnold Schwartnegger, this guy was BIG with a thick neck.) Just come back inside and be with me.”
She: “You’re a freak! You’re too possessive, what the F*&% is the matter with you???? GIVE ME BACK MY f*&%$#@ CELL PHONE, MOTHER f&*%$#@ !”
He didn’t. Instead he shoved her up against my door. This is when I called the cops for the second time. The hotel security, who looked pretty shady himself, had come up to my room, knocked, making Libby go ape shit, and held up some kind of fake-looking badge to the peep hole and he had a Starbucks in this other hand. Like uh, yeah, dude, I’m gonna open the door for you? Uh, no.
When the REAL cops showed up, the squabbling couples (what the hell, all relationships have their little rough spots) had moved their psycho drama out to the parking lot. The cops did escort the last of the par-tay-goers (turns out there were two little soirees at the Motel 6 last night) out of the building. The guy looked like Orlando Pace, we’re talking a hefty-size fellow.
And all was quiet on the western edge of Toledo front at 2:45. We slept until 10:00 when housekeeping started pounding on doors. But you know what, the thin little housekeeping gal was sweet as can be, got me some bath towels and the desk clerk’s gonna give me a refund.
I stepped to grab Libby some dog food, and fresh-scrubbed trucker, says “Cute dog,” pats her on the head and leaves behind the scent of his Old Spice deodorant (makes me miss my boys) So, no harm, no foul. It’s amazing the restorative nature of soap, shower and sunlight.