To paraphrase Edgar Guest, it takes a heap o’ non-livin’ t’ make a house a motel room. And yet, even though I’m here only four or five days out of a year, unit 65 at the Scott Shady Court still seems like more than just a rented room. The smell—a blend of cheap hand soap and stale tobacco smoke—is familiar, and I’ll bet if you were to conduct a DNA analysis, some of those pubic hairs on the bathroom floor might be mine. Or are they just general public hairs?
The only thing that has changed since last year: someone has replaced the vintage bathtub spout. I’m going to miss the old one, which dated back to the Nineteen Twenties and which featured a tiny stalactite–the result of years and years of calcium build-up. But I suppose it had to go, because that calcium build-up was making it impossible to completely close the diverter valve that redirects water to the shower head. As a result, you automatically got your head wet every time you bent to turn on the faucet.
Another change: Mark Citret has been relocated from unit 67 to unit 66. This because last year he parked in the wrong space, which properly belongs to 66. So from now on he’ll be staying in 66, while Sam Hipkins has been bumped from 66 to 67. Not that it matters much, since just about any key will open any door at the Shady Court.
Some people might complain, but not me. I love the Shady Court, because it reminds me of the travel lodges where we used to stay when I was a kid. My father didn’t believe in spending a lot of money on a room where we weren’t going to be until eleven a.m. the following day. If it was good enough for Willie Loman, it was good enough for our family vacation!
I imagine that many a traveling salesman has spent a lonely night in my tiny room, and no doubt some families have been shoehorned in as well. I know that children have played in the playground, because there are deep grooves worn in the grass beneath the swing set. How did this happen, exactly? Only if their legs are growing longer with each pass or else the chains are stretching could such deep furrows result. Mark estimates the excavations must have taken decades. “Reminds me of Stonehenge,” he said.
The FOR SALE sign has been up now for at least three years, so there’s no guarantee we three regulars won’t have to relocate one of these first days. If so, it’ll be a sad day, because I can’t think of a better place to lie awake all night listening to the rumble of passing semis on US 80 comingled with the mournful wail of freight trains. No, it’s not deluxe, but it sure beats a sleeping bag in the Walmart parking lot. Been there, done that.