A Night at the Bates Motel

by Candy Harrington


Sometimes you should really just go with your gut instinct when you’re on the road. Such was the case when we motored up to a rural Indiana motel late last fall. Granted it was only 3:45 P.M. and check-in wasn’t until 4 :00, but since there were only six rooms I figured it really wouldn’t be a problem. Well, I figured wrong.

To be honest, just walking into the motel office gave me the creeps. It was small and dingy and covered in dust; but to be fair, everything in that part of the country was covered in dust. And then there was the manager, who at first wouldn’t take her eyes off the mini television in front of her, or even acknowledge that another person had entered the room. I cleared my throat a few times. No response. I made some noise and shuffled my feet a bit. Still no response. Finally, I awkwardly blurted out, Hello, I’m here to check-in. That at least elicited a stony cold look.

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Noises Off!

by Eric Lucas

“Quiet, please.”

Who needs ice at 3 in the morning?

No one. But that didn’t stop the ice machine out in the hall from heroically performing its appointed rounds, manufacturing fresh delectable ice in a steady, cacophonous landslide for all those hotel guests who simply have to have martinis at vampire time. It was 3:12am. The relentless clatter of cubes into basin sounded like the dwarves of Moria hammering orc swords. Clack. Thwark. Thunk.

That’s what it seemed like to me, jet-lagged and testy after flying into San Francisco from Vienna. It’s a long way. You cross nine time zones, and when you arrive your “day” has stretched nine extra hours.

All I wanted was a quiet room. Peaceful sleep.

Quiet is the ultimate travel luxury, the almost unattainable Holy Grail of journeying through the 21st century. In airports you will listen to CNN or Kenny G whether you want to or not; if you do find a corner that has escaped Orwellian electronic coverage, that’s where Nadia Sulaiman is changing the diapers on all eight of her brood. On the plane, unless you’re in first class, Dennis the Menace is practicing soccer on your seatback; if you are in first class, you’re right behind two robber barons gobbling Bloody Marys at 8am and planning a leveraged take-down of Amalgamated First Second National Global Savings & Loan. If you buy noise-canceling headphones, you discover that they cancel only ambient noise, thus magnifying conversation.

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