Note to self: Motel 6 is ick


I was just thinking. Just thinking about a bunch of different things. Populating my head with memories. Memories flooded with you. Some make me smile, some make me say “huh”, and some make me laugh out loud.

Like, I was just remembering that time driving through Oklahoma at 2 a.m. in the morning and not knowing where in heck we were supposed to turn and where we needed to go and my eyes – my eyes! – they could hardly stay open at all. The weight of sleep was pressing them down and you were passed out in exhaustion and I didn’t dare wake you because you were so very tired. And the van was making rumbly-creaky-swaying-rattling metal noises. But I knew something was wrong. Weren’t we supposed to be in New Mexico and not Oklahoma? I was befuddled.

So I pulled off the freeway to smack myself into lucidity and you slowly stirred and slurred, “Hmmmph…are zwee yehhr det?” I casually mentioned that no, in fact we were in Oklahoma thanks to a GPS route malfunction (didn’t want to go through Colorado, thanks) and I was so tired and you were so tired and we couldn’t think straight about what to do and sleeping in the van just wasn’t going to work for two people. There was barely room for one around all the pictures piled up from the trade show. And we needed sleep. At least for a couple of hours.

So we found that skeezy Motel 6 which was the only place around for miles and neither of us had ever stayed in a Motel 6 and didn’t know anything about it other than Tom Bodett owns the chain or is the spokesperson for the chain or can be found at any one of their 6,000 motels at any time of day. The light was left on for us. But the room? {Shudder!}

It was a place to lie flat and still for at least four hours before we had to move on again but oh my goodness what a place. I had to hide in the van because they charge PER PERSON for a room and since we would only be there for four hours why pay twice the rate? We just needed it for a moment, not for an entire evening. So you sauntered on in to talk to the slightly pervy white guy working the counter at 2:30 a.m. in the morning at a dingy motel and came back out walking the “quick, let’s go before he sees us” walk that is a clear indicator of someone with something to hide.

We took the van to the back of the building and with the faded plastic room key in hand climbed to the top level and walked and walked until we found our room, bedecked in a bullet-ridden metal door. No, just kidding, no bullet holes; just multiple dents and it was surprising the door could close at all. I was skeptical the room key would even work but tra la la the door opened – and I immediately wanted to close it again.


The carpet was older than the dust on the boots of the cowboy walking to the ice machine in the middle of the night. I didn’t dare take off my shoes and headed in to the bathroom. I gasped at the mildewed tile and hole-in-the-wall showerhead that we would soon discover in 3 1/2 hours shot water out of it’s mineral clogged head similar to a BB gun shooting tiny pellets. I think acid rain would’ve felt better.

And then there was the bed. I took one look at the bed, pulled back the threadbare wool blanket underneath the functioning “coverlet” and gasped at what unholiness I saw. Or rather, what “hole-y-ness” I saw. “People sleep in beds like this?” I exclaimed softly. The sheets were faded and perhaps had a threadcount at one time of 120 but was now probably something more like 6. Which, of course, accounted for the multiple holes and stray lines of fabric. 

“We’re not sleeping on THAT.”

I headed out to the van, grabbed the three blankets and two pillows we had stashed in back and proceeded back up to the Room from Hell to cover a bed with fabric that could be trusted. I wrapped my body like a cocoon in one, afraid that any air exposure to the elements that were surely harmful in this tiny square cement box might do me in. You were so exhausted that the moment I handed you your blanket, poof! You were gone, out like the electric “L” in the Motel 6 sign.

As soon as I was sufficiently covered, the blackness of sleep took me over and I didn’t remember a single thing about my dreams that night which is highly unusual for me (as you know). Before we knew it, your phone alarm was off and ringing and disturbing us from dead-exhausted sleep in the ickiest room ever in the middle of absolutely nowhere. 

The weather was awfully eerie as we left, hazy-ish and rainy-ish and kind of something complete inhuman and ethereal. Later that day, we discovered a twister came roaring through that very town. I hope it hit that Motel 6.

I just pulled this memory today. And it made me laugh. And shudder. But mostly laugh.

And all because it just started with a thought of you.



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