This past Saturday, my mom and I set out on our annual springtime road trip back to Philadelphia. It was half past twelve when I merged the Benz into the northbound traffic of I-75. I clicked the sunroof open, flipped the radio to an agreeable station and put the pedal to the metal as I steered the car away from Sarasota.
We stopped just past Savannah to eat some fried food, refuel the car and retrieve piles of chocolate. At a little past ten, twenty miles beyond the blinking neon of Pedro’s South of The Border, we finally called it quits. I idled outside the lobby while my mom checked us in. With a key pack in hand, we parked the car and climbed the stairs leading to our room at a hotel just off the highway. After I dropped our bags on a bench next to the television stand, my mom peered into the bathroom and I wandered off to adjust the a/c unit.
“There’s already trash in the can,” my mom announced as she reentered the bedroom.
“Yes, well, there’s hair on the vent,” I added, my finger pointing in the direction of the offensive findings.
“I’m calling the front desk.”
A few minutes later, a tall woman who looked husky like a Russian but spoke stupid like a redneck came in and with her bare hands removed the trash from the can. My mother’s jaw hit the floor as she watched on in disgust. After the hotel employee left, I covertly craned my neck out the door and watched her disappear down the corridor, her trash filled hand swinging casually as if she were toting a purse.
I quietly closed the door before eloquently sharing my thoughts.
“I think I’m going to barf. But as much as I’m completely skeeved out, I’ll explode if I don’t pee.”
Thirty minutes after we first plopped down in our temporary home, I was curled up in bed with my laptop resting on the nightstand. Only the sheet lay atop me and my flip-flops remained nearby so I could avoid making direct contact with the carpeting. My mom was on her bed, propped up against three pillows and flipping through the television channels. When she decided she had enough, she got up to brush her teeth. But before she could even turn the sink on, she stomped out, picked up the phone and called the front desk.
“I need to talk to a manager,” she announced to the poor sap on the other line. “Yes, I’ll hold.”
I looked up from my monitor to witness the pending outburst.
“Yes, this room is filthy. Fill-thee! There’s hair all over the vent and when I tried to blow it off, it just clung to the plastic. I had to push it away with the dirty curtain. And there was trash in the bathroom when we got here. Someone came up and got it, but still. And I just went to the bathroom and there’s a used washcloth on the sink. Used,” my mom repeated to drive home her point. She went silent for a moment before resuming her complaint. “Oh. No, really, that’s excessive. I was only calling to relay my dissatisfaction. Okay, well thank you.”
I lifted my eyebrows and waited for my mom to share the news.
“They comped the room,” she said before sitting down on the edge of the bed and replacing the handset to the cradle.
“All of it? Cool. And hey, that washcloth? It’s from when I went to the bathroom. After I washed my hands.”
“Oh, really?” my mom shyly inquired, her cheeks blushing ever so slightly.
“Yup. But listen, you were working it so well I couldn’t interrupt.”
“And anyway, the hair and the trash were pretty gross,” my mom pointed out.
“Yeah, I know. Don’t fret. Really. This place is a fucking dump. I can only imagine how much cum is on that coverlet you’re sitting on.”
“Ugh, PJ, did you really have to go there?” she asked as she scurried to her feet and threw the duvet back.
“You betcha. Maybe next time you’ll let me pick the hotel.”
“Hold on a sec, there’s an Outback here! You eat at Outback!” my mom argued.
“You do make a good point.”
“No, I was totally kidding. Goodnight!”