Coming to you live from a cheap motel in big, hot Babylon…
This is the first post I’ve written in a long time that went up as soon as I was finished writing it. Lately, I schedule posts when I’m done writing them, and you might not see a post until weeks after it is written.
I did something a little different this week. I needed to write part 2 of a two parter I’d started in April before I left the city. Whenever I tried to work on it in a coffee shop, I was too distracted, and I couldn’t seem to force myself to make any progress. So I decided this week on my days off, I would go to big, hot Babylon and splurge on a room at a Motel 6 with internet and finish the post. I met my goal; the post is done, along with seven others, all ready to come at you in the next few weeks.
It’s 6am now. I’d only planned to sleep for about six hours anyway, but I think I got less than that. There was a lot of noisy stomping, interspersed with some yelling, past my door last night. My room is on a corner, next to a staircase, so I guess many people walked by. You’d think folks would know that a person in a motel room might be trying to sleep in the middle of the night, but maybe I expect too much from people.
The Motel 6 is not bad. I got many good things for my money, including check-in before 8am (which means I’m getting 27 hours in the room), a flush toilet, running water to wash my hands, unlimited hot showers, cold air blowing from the A/C, a fast internet connection at no extra charge, electrical outlets, free coffee in the morning (I’m sipping from a cup now), a double bed, free ice.
It was still a sketchy cheap motel. I ventured out at dusk to get some ice. My room faces a sort of courtyard where the pool is. I had to walk down a long outdoor corridor, then descend a flight of outdoor stairs to get to the ice machine next to the office. There were a bunch of dudes milling around, in the swimming pool, hanging out on the balconies. Also, people had not only their curtains but the doors to their rooms open. In a past life on the streets, I learned that when you leave your cheap motel room door open, you are inviting others to come over to see what you have to offer, so you can see what others have to offer. I wasn’t afraid because none of these people look at me and think I have anything to offer them, or at least I hope not. I hope I don’t look like a mark. I’m going to keep on thinking I don’t, since none of the people out there (including the woman standing outside the office who was so pregnant she might have actually been in labor) tried to talk to me.
My ice mission was thwarted because there was no ice in the machine (probably because some butt wipe had taken everything to fill a cooler), so I went back to my room and didn’t poke my head out again until just before six this morning. As I was walking to the office to get coffee, I saw eight or ten empty Modelo cans lined up on the outdoor part of the A/C until a few doors down. There were already dudes milling around outside, and I witnessed paranoid peeping from the corner of a curtain in a room across the way. My door is locked, bolted, and latched, and I don’t plan to walk outside again until 10:58. (Check-out time is eleven o’clock.)
When I leave this motel, I have to do a load of laundry, then maybe take a look at the nearby Goodwill. From there I’ll make a quick stop at Stuff-Mart, then on to Trader Joe’s. Then I’ll head back up the mountain.
My plan is to get the supplies I need (butane for the stove, food for my belly, clean clothes) to last me two weeks and just stay up on the mountain. It’s too hot to sleep in my van in the flat lands, and the only thing I really like about Babylon if I’m not staying in a motel is internet access at coffee shops. So I might as well stay up where it’s cool and beautiful. (If there were a place to do my laundry on the mountain, I would stay up there for a month.)
I found out last week that my campground doesn’t officially close until the middle of October. Of course the actual closing of the campground depends on weather and all other acts of nature and humankind, but I’m planning on being up there until well into autumn. It’s good news in that it’s a steady pay check.
After that? Stay tuned.