November 15, 2018

Motel on State Road 27


 Image result for state road 27 sign

I was driving from Miami to Chicago on one of my wanderings in, oh I don’t know one year in late September maybe, but it was unseasonably pleasant when I started my trip...I got a late start and was in no particular hurry to get there and it was about four or five in the afternoon when I felt a little tired and not wanting to drive into the night, I decided to stop at a little hotel somewhere close to Ocala, Florida that was flashing VACANCY to me in big pink neon letters...Ocala is horse country and I don’t know much else about it except that I got an old girlfriend who lives there but our lives had long ago went separate ways...hers on a shady lane with giant oak trees and a picket fence in the yard and 2 ½ kids...mine on a long dead end road full of potholes...so there wasn’t any thought on my part of some sentimental reunion...this wasn’t one of those kind of trips...the hotel was one of those old style motels that they built hundreds if not thousands of in Florida in the 50’s and 60’s…a simple two story with a wraparound balcony on the second floor, covered with a worn indoor/outdoor carpet that was worn clear through in some places, and an outdoor swimming pool...this is where the snowbirds must have gathered every year throughout the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s...like the swallows in San Capistrano...this hotel had six different colored doors, red, blue, yellow, green, orange, and a color I guess you could call tan...I got a red doored room on the second floor overlooking the pool...I didn’t feel like going out for some food and the motel didn’t have a restaurant, so I decided tonight would be junk food night which is kind of my own tradition I started years ago...I went down to the vending machines which looked like Senator Joe McCarthy might have abused and I got a Hershey bar, a Snickers, and a Milky Way...then some regular potato chips, some barbecue chips and something else that I can’t remember now...I took them back to the room and laid on the bed and began the feast...I turned on the TV and the Red Sox and Yankees game was on from Fenway...this was before ESPN and I don’t have any idea why they were showing it on a Florida station but I watched it while I ate and downed a couple of Coke’s...not the healthiest meal ever but a good one...I looked out the window and some other guests had dragged the desk chair outside their room to sit on the balcony...I opened the door and there was a nice breeze blowing so I pulled my chair out there and sat down for a while enjoying the North Florida evening...there were occasional cars and trucks passing by on U.S. 41...it was a great night...I still had the game on and could hear it...the Sox had blown the game open...I went back in the room to grab a candy bar and when I came back out, there were two sixteen-ish girls in bikinis down by the pool, which I mentioned was directly in front of my second story perch...they were looking like they were going to jump in...they looked up at me and then sat down on the plastic chaise lounges poolside...if I was 16, I would have been down there in a heartbeat just to say hi...but I’m no longer 16...that chapter in my book has been written and it’s no longer in print...I was just enjoying the breeze and passing the time watching the traffic go by when I noticed them looking up at me again...I didn’t want to be the creepy old man, not that I was that old yet, but I didn’t want to be the guy that was ‘staring’ at them (which I wasn’t)...so I reluctantly pulled my chair back inside my room and shut the door divorcing myself from the nice evening air...the game was almost over now...I heard a big splash and glanced out the window and saw the girls had jumped into the twinkling cool blueness of the pool under a sun that was sinking in the pale amber sky...I guess they were waiting for me to leave...I sighed the sigh of someone resigned to my fate, drew the curtains, fell under a hypnotic spell performed by the old swirly wallpaper and fell asleep.