Hotels, Motels, & Brothels
Naturally, when I first think of hotels, racy nights spent with a lover come to mind. So I shall have to think of some more innocent moments to avoid offending any gentle readers, or my father and daughter, who have access to this blog page. Of course, Anne Lamott says to never worry about offending any reader, that is the worst thing a writer could do is to hold back. Alas, I won't ever get that contract writing smut for dirty magazines.
The first time I remember spending the night in a hotel, I was about twelve years old. I was with my father and brother and various aunts and uncles and cousins, visiting family and seeing the sights of the beautiful, rolling hills of West Virginia, where my father was raised. I'm sure we stayed at a Holiday Inn. At night, the adults went to the lounge for cocktails and dancing. That's when my brother and I started our party as well. I smoked cigarettes and applied make-up, two things still hidden from the adults in my life. My brother and I terrorized the place, knocking on doors, and running away. We mostly did it to our cousins down the hall. We called their room, disguising our voices, inquiring if they ordered a pizza. Then we recieved a call, someone claiming to be hotel management, telling us to knock our shannigans off. Thinking it was really our cousins, we called them back, pinching our noses, saying we were the operator, and that they should cease making obscene phone calls. They must have not had much of a sense of humor, because within minutes, a burly security guard with a name tag that read Boris, was standing in our room, threatening to kick us out if we didn't behave. Having the sense to know we had gotten a little too carried away, we diverted our attention to spying on the adults in the lounge. We crouched behind giant indoor plants and watched them laugh, and drink, and dance for a while.
Another cousin, of mine, Michelle, (who wasn't one of the tattling West Virginia cousins), spent a couple years of her life in motels. She did it for love. She and her boyfriend, Rob, were just barely old enough to leave home. They could not stand to be away from each other. The only way they could live together was in motels. They worked all day, every day, scraping their hard earned pennies to spend the nights with each other. When you are seventeen years old, $35 a night, only for lodging, is costly. But they were happy just to be with each other. After a couple years, though, the motel life was starting to get old. They made a plan, though it would almost kill them. They would have to live apart and both move back to their families for six months to save enough money to rent a house. It was excruciatingly painful, but the plan worked, and they were able to get their own place together. Now, twenty years later, they are married, and own their own beautiful home, and look and act just as much in love as they were back in the motel room days.
Once, on the way to Florida, I stopped with my children, toddlers then, and their nanny, FurFur, for the night in northern Georgia. The two day drive had been stressful with miserable, crying tots in the backseat. And it seemed there were no vacancies anywhere. It was getting darker and later. FurFur & I were at our wits end. Finally we found a very pricey hotel that had one more room left, with a jacuzzi. The four of us put on our swimsuits and splashed around for hours, laughing in that hot tub. Until, of course, we got a call, telling us that guests in the other rooms were complaining of the noise. We all passed out together on the biggest and most comfortable bed we had ever slept in, refreshed in the morning to complete our journey.
In the small town I live in today, there used to be a huge brothel, named "The Williard House," left over from the logging days. Badly neglected over the years, the town called a meeting, and voted to tear it down. I felt that was a shame. Despite the brothel's unsavory past, it was still a historic landmark, but others didn't come around to my way of thinking.
While at a Bed & Breakfast in Michigan's Upper Peninsula for Valentine's Day weekend, I had consumed quite a bit of champagne at dinner. Being a silly lush, I decided it would be a hoot to drop small pieces of Valentine's candy in the other guests' shoes as I headed out for the evening to tour the local bars. After a few hours, I drank myself sober and realized it wasn't very good manners to place hidden candy in strange people's footwear. Upon returning to the B&B, I stood in the dark hallway, and dumped all the candy out of every shoe onto the floor. Then suddenly, I heard someone speak out my name and a light flicked on. To my embarassment, all the guests were sitting in the dark by a very low fire, conversing in the living room, witnessing the violation of their shoes. I sheepishly scooped up the candy and slunk up the stairs, making myself scarce for the remainder of the weekend, avoiding dirty looks.
I was just in a motel room last weekend in my hometown, Detroit. My husband, Pete, and I drove there for a cousin's graduation party. We had left the party and joined other family members at a bar, for a fun-filled evening of reminscing about wonderful times. Two of the people there were Michelle & Rob, the motel room lovers. Afterward, I directed Pete to the closest motel I could remember, the "Bahama Mama." Not being from any neighborhood remotely like the one I was raised in, he was slightly displeased with his surroundings. The clerk at the motel was suspicious of us, because we were out-of-towners, and didn't believe we were who we claimed to be, even though we showed him our driver's licenses. Finally, after complaining that were were tired and had a few beers, and couldn't get back on the road, he relented, giving us a key to a room decorated in brick walls. Pete had the nerve to complain that one of his pillows was soggy, and that the towels were the size of wash cloths. There was no coffee or continental breakfast available in the morning. He was leary of the hooker and her john in the room next to ours. I suppose the gun shots we heard earlier in the day didn't help much, either. He sarcastically called the motel a "first class place," and I, ultra-sensitive of my native Detroit, accused him of behaving "snobbily."