Saturday, August 30, 2008


I have always enjoyed hotels. When I was a kid, my father worked for an A/C repair business that kept him traveling all over Arkansas. His trips were paid for by the company, and during the summers, he often took the load of us with him. The dog was shaved so she didn't shed all over the car.

We went to towns like Magnolia and Morgan, Forrest City and Eureka, places with little to offer outside an all-you-can-eat-buffet and a kidney-shaped swimming pool. Our hair turned blond during those summers, then green. My face, freckles expanding, looked pelted with dirty spit balls, doubtlessly reared in the surly mouth of my older brother. In the pool, we kicked and screamed, I held aloft by bright yellow arm floaties. When I was old enough to swim under water, it was with open eyes.

So here I am, 20 years later, 25 years later, still loving hotels. Still jumping back and forth between the two king-sized beds, still acting like a rape victim in the indoor pool, still darting down the halls, counting the doors, and still staring with fascination at the light fixtures in the halls. Only now I get to masturbate and drink off the top shelf . I mean, I COULD if I wanted to.

And I'm still looking at all the old people and hoping that won't be me someday - so sad, plump, and coiffed. Elastic-waist pantsuits with floral jackets; hair the color of fishing line.

In 1996, I took a summer job as a hotel maid at the Best Western in Lee's Summit. The pay rate was $5.15/hour without health insurance. You've notice that hotels have a check out time of 11am and a check in time of 3pm? This gives the maids four hours to get the rooms ready for the next guest - and that's all they get paid for. Sometimes we didn't have enough rooms to fill up the four hours. So, we'd sit in front of the TV and watch a soap opera, or look in the closets and see what kind of people they were.

Sometimes the guest wouldn't hear us knocking, so we'd go in anyway - as instructed - and lo and behold there was somebody asleep naked, or somebody just coming out of the shower and screaming at us, or somebody kneeling and praying, or somebody kneeling and not praying and that was weird. I never walked in on people having sex, but I heard the stories.

One of the older maids, Bess, left a bag of shit on Shelley's cart. This had something to do with Juanos, the maintenance man, driving Shelley home from work one day.

Shelley was the first atheist I ever met, but she went on to an evangelist college in Arkansas to study computers because her parents said they'd pay for the whole thing.

Anyway, that's what I talk about when I talk about hotels.

Now, Motels are something else all together. Motels are poetry.


Blogger Billychic said...

Well, Motels might be poetry, and I can't wait to read a story about them from you.

But poetry is the only word that I can think of to describe the beauty of your writing; from the details of the characters to the description of where you were.

Your writing is brilliant, and I'm so glad to see you back. Thank you so much for coming back to share your gems with us, Hotel Mamacita.

Love you

10:26 PM  

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