It’s true, and I can vouch: you get what you pay for… and I stayed at a $43 motel on Tuesday.
When I first pulled in to Nowhere, KS I stopped at a gas station to fill up and get anything I would need for the next day’s 5am start- cereal bar, juice, caffeine. The guy behind the counter had a very Jeffrey Dahmer-esque vibe. So when he asked me why I wouldn’t stop by in the morning, I minimized any information and got the hell out of there. But not before he got in a “What does your license plate say? I can tell you’re not from here… we don’t get many good-lookin’ women like you around here.” He followed this with one of the most horrifying laugh/grin combinations I have ever seen-- outside of a movie theater. Seriously. We’re talking cheap “Halloween Sound Effects” cassette. It was all I could do to stifle my Jamie Lee Curtis scream.
I should mention here that I had been in a van for nine hours after a two hour bike ride. My clothes were wrinkled and I was wearing pool shoes. My skin was in a civil war which resulted in three meteor-sized pimples around my left eye. (When I got home Sean asked, “What’s on your face?”) So no, I was not a “good looking woman” by any stretch of the imagination.
I escape the gas station unscathed but shaken and realize with horror that my motel was directly across the street. I knew that when I pulled my giant, white, beacon of a 3/4-ton van into the parking lot I would just announce myself to all the Jeff Dahmers of the area. It was 9pm. Awesome.
I get checked in and head to my room, key in hand. A key. Literally, a metal key--which in some situations, can be viewed as quaint. I was simply interested in security at this point, so the key was a bit disheartening, as was the lack of any other form of lock on the door. But this was nothing compared to the room.
In the right context, many of the things that I encountered could have been any variation of the word “quaint”. For example, the adorable stains on the throw pillows. Or the super-cute half-drank can of Squirt in the mini-fridge. Or the endearing loose toilet seat—I love to hover in my hotel! But I was not at a forgivable bed and breakfast out east. I was in the middle of Kansas surrounded by weirdos.
I decided that I would be better off sleeping (and I use this term loosely) in my clothes, skipping the filthy shower, and shoving the “desk chair” (a folding chair) under the door handle for security. Good times!