Mar 16, 2014


In case you've come for a poem, here’s Detroit’s own Philip Levine on the subject of work, which seems relevant to motel dirt, as guest or as worker:  

UFO Inspector

Kite Catcher

And Wind Catcher

But moving on to new topics . . .

In roaming on some internet travel sites, I’ve found a few entertaining details about motels in the nation’s major chains. Maybe I’ll just stay home, like the guy I know who carries sterilizing spray cans with him on the rare occasions when he travels and submits to the dangers of public lodging. He wipes the rooms clean, the way a cop show's CSI might.

I shouldn’t say aloud that I’ve never had experiences like his or those below. Then again, I wasn’t looking for germs. I wonder if that’s the secret: be willfully blind; bugs and human debris will always be with ye, but ye can choose whether and whither thy vision goest thither. If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out. Etc.

By the way, I’m more interested in the reviewers than the motels, so I’ve kept the original authors’ words, spelling and punctuation for authenticity, and I have not disclosed the identity of individual motels or chains—it would be unfair (and libelous?) to cast a shadow on a business because of a single review. Besides, it’s been over a year since I started this project, so I no longer recall names or places; I have plausible deniability, which I’ve always wanted more than love or money or a good crop.   

I'm limiting myself to two of these per post:

            1.  Breakfast was bad and found a very old slice of pepperoni stuck on curtain in room
                 and food crumbs under furniture and beds.
            2.  I use to be an housekeeper and maintnance person at this [motel]. People                            complaining about overbooks its not this hotels fault. It is corporates fault. The manager,      Harry, hes not the nicest guy in the world, but at times he can be very helpful.  It's not the biggest pool ever and cleaning isnt always done the fastest but what do you expect from a small town like this?
River Guardian

Protectors of All?


John Evans said...

Coming Close -- what a picture. Dull repetitive work relieved by a break that creeps closer too slowly. Brings to mind images of people I've run into, on the job. Brings to mind jobs I've had.

As for motels . . . maybe that's why I drive til late.

Rune Eide said...

A woman is a woman is a woman ...
If he was afraid of getting dirt on his white shirt, he should never have gone close. Life is like that - it marks you.

BTW: My favourite interpretation of the well known brochure-expression "partial ocean view" is: if you lean out as far as you can from you balcony, you will see something blue between the two buildings 200 meters down the road. That is the ocean.

Stickup Artist said...

Don't get me started! "The dignity of work" and all that. With the technology that's available today, a ton of work could be done without so darn much human effort, time and involvement. Globally, we could all be living quite well if the powers that be would get out of the way. Oh well, if life were fair, how would anyone get to tell themselves how much better they are than the rest of us...

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I've done assembly line work - downtown LA tied up next to a plastic injection mold machine. Kicking out pieces for Star War swords. Once the business went under, the building was purchased and used as the set for 'Cagney and Lacey.'

I found the poem strange and mysterious. If you hadn't clued me into work, I wonder if I'd have figured it out.

I always look for cheap motels. Especially those off the old Route 66. I've found worse then a slice of pizza in the curtains. Just bring your own blankets and pillows.

Banjo52 said...

John and Stickup, you seem to be in a somewhat similar vein about work. The dignity part surely does get inflated, as if being turned into a machine or a servant or professional liar and thief is somehow noble. On the other hand, what's the alternative? I wonder if it’s a reason to insist on better counseling for 20-somethings. “You think you want to do that for 40 years? Let’s look for some inside info about that kind of work.”

What do you think?

When I've been allowed to actually teach, rather than filling out pointless CYA reports or attending long, pointless meetings, I've liked my jobs and can't think of anything I'd rather have done. Also, the behavior, personalities and perspectives of many students (but surely not all) could indeed be called dignified.

Bosses are another story . . . . At least I've been lucky enough to have mostly hands-off folks at the top. Since I wasn’t subject to a lot of physical pain nor emphasis on the profit motive, with its cutthroat competition, my main complaint is the busy-work so many bosses inflict. That kind of mind- and spirit-numbing waste is anything but dignified, and it actually interferes with the real work that needs to be done. I suspect a lot of white-collar work suffers from that.

Rune, "Life is like that - it marks you." What a great line! Maybe that kind of getting dirty with other humans, or carefully created objects, is where the dignity lies?

John and Rune, motels—I've shared both your experiences, from dirt to deceptive labels for room types. I'm afraid it's pulled me into staying at the chains, where there's more predictability. After driving 400 miles, or attending tedious meetings all day, who needs a boxy room with fake ocean view or pizza on the curtains?
And a Bed & Breakfast, no matter how quaint, is a crap shoot. The only certainty is forced conversation with strangers, which can be great or awful.

And the American pioneers thought they had it tough! Humbug. Uh 0h, more bugs.

Banjo52 said...

PA, your assembly-line work trumps my counting cars for the state highway department.

I guess you're right about being prepared for motels. But there's always the back-killing mattress and chair to consider and, again, what one's willing to face at the end of a long day. I'm to the point where I'd rather travel less often so I can do it on my own terms.

Anonymous said...

#2 is a deft hand at damning with faint praise. I think you should book at stay because their slogan is, "There are worse places."

Julie Brown said...

The though of what you had to endure is perfectly creepy! Hey thanks for putting me on your blog list.

Lovers' Lane