Actually, it’s a nationally-advertised economy chain, but at the rate things are going, I’ll be amazed if I come out in one piece.
Here’s how it started: I was on my way to my mother’s house in South Carolina, and somehow got off course between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Palmetto State. At close to midnight, I pulled off the interstate and entered the lobby of a motel. It belongs to a chain that advertises on national TV, so I figured it had to be decent.
The night clerk, a portly, red-haired gentleman, actually tried to talk me out of staying at this establishment. If I hadn’t been drop-dead tired, he would have succeeded.
The first thing out of his mouth was, “If you’re used to mid-service level motels, this isn’t the place for you.”
By “mid-service level,” I’m thinking he meant the Ramada, or maybe a Holiday Inn Express.
Now, I’m no snob, and I was so bleary-eyed by this point, I would have accepted the room key to a pup tent.
So I said, “As long as you have wifi, I’m your gal.”
He took my charge card, handed me a map, and told me about a few things about the lay of the land, so to speak.
“This building here, this is where the truckers and prostitutes are,” he said, pointing to the farthest-outlying row of rooms on the map. “But you’re on the other side. Your room has a microwave and wifi. It’s nonsmoking”
I blinked. “Beyond nonsmokers, who stays on that side?”
“Mostly construction workers,” he said. “They stay here for months at a time. They get a little noisy, so be prepared. Do you want first floor or second?”
“First,” I replied. “How noisy do they get, as a general rule? Like, do they get knocking-on-doors noisy?”
He gave me a solemn look. “Yah. But we got security. Our guy’s got a crazy stare and one of his hands only has two fingers. So they don’t give him any crap. Gimme a call if they bother you and I’ll send him right over.”
That was vastly reassuring, I gotta tell ya.
As I drove around the building to get to my room, I saw a young woman in short-shorts and platform heels entering a truck. I have to assume she was not there for the wifi or the nonsmoking room.
There were three or four men hanging around the second-floor walkway as I parked in front of my room. They stared curiously as I unpacked my laptop and a pink stuffed horse I was taking to my niece as a present. Those men looked like they might be horse thieves, so I wasn’t taking any chances--Pink Horsie was coming with me.
My nonsmoking room has an acrid atmosphere that’s making my eyes water, so I think that part of the clerk’s description was a flat-out lie.
I think he was right about the prostitutes, though. And the noise in the parking lot is ramping up, so he might have been right about the party-hearty construction workers.
All I know is, if I hear a knock on the door, I’ll be calling on Crazy Seven Fingers, the security guard.
I can’t wait to make his acquaintance.