After visiting with in-laws, cousins, and extended family, it’s time to hug, promise to stay in touch, and say goodbye. And as much as we’re ready to go, the 19-20 hours doesn’t seem quite as reasonable as it did on the way there.
The videos and DVD’s seem old and boring. Every traffic jam seems like one too many. The empathy you felt for “that poor driver” on the way there suddenly turns into,”for crisake, get off the road!” And about now, the food goes downhill. You go to Bob Evans for the sausages and biscuits, start drinking serious quantities of Big Gulps from 7-11, and the fruit has to come from unnatural food sources; “sour apple, grape, and fruity” flavored gum, cereal and treats. And then its time for one more night at a motel.
This time, its the one off the highway. The one with the really, really, really, long drive way to the Days Inn. Most of the other guests are truckers. The place usually looks like it was painted over many, many times as part of its effort to upgrade. The lobby entrance is a mix of low lighting and the blue bouncing off of the tv screen. The plants are fake with a coating of dust. It’s the kind of motel where they provide you with an iron door stop to keep out the riff raff. The air conditioning is always a bit too cold and loud. The floral prints have turned to weed prints. Most of the caulk in the bath has peeled away. They don’t even bother letting you know that the bathroom was cleaned. And while they provide you a supply of towels, everyone you open up appears to be a hand towel.
Not even the “cont’ breakfast can change your mood.. You feel forced to hear loud truckers compare road tales. Despite swearing off excessive carbohydrates, you are forced to eat white bread, powdered donuts, Frosted Flakes, and drink coffee with Creamer packets. The place is so far down the motel totem pole, they don’t even have “waffle off.” Only then, do you realize how good you had it. The dining room is basically 10 card tables and some black chairs with minor rips and stuffing peeking out. You have to wonder if its even worth eating there and then its back on that long, long, long drive way.
Every rest stop feels like a burden. You can’t even make one more joke about the bathroom key being attached to a hubcap. And jus t when you are about to give up, you see home. At first, the house feels stuffy. A big pack of bills is waiting for you. The microwave lights are blinking because the power went out for awhile while you were away. The laundry sits in a mountainous pile. You take a hot shower. The air conditioning starts to kick in. You watch a show you’ve been missing and then………….. fall asleep……. during the best part.