An argument for staying at motels without vending machines in the lobby.
There is something unseemly about a vending machine that hangs boxes of condoms next to the Twix candy bars. Such was the case at the Cheapo Motel where I stayed during a trip to Boston. The room included no amenities, no mini bar, coffee maker, or tube of shampoo. However, everything needed could be found in the vending machines in the lobby: toothpaste, shampoo, miniature soap and, yes, even condoms. There was no room service unless you included pizza delivery from down the street.
Since the motel room really didn’t exactly provide a fine dining ambiance, I ate at the more upscale Mexican joint on the next block where I sat drinking Appletinis at the bar. Maybe, if I had allocated booze money toward my trip budget, I might have stayed at a one-star or even a two-star motel. The Cheapo Motel had no star at all, red giant, or dwarf.
However, despite the low life decor, the motel had excellent service. The pseudo concierge, desk guy was always helpful. When trying to figure out which tours to take of Boston, he always offered advice by answering questions with, “I honestly don’t know.”
“And your name is . . .?”
“I honestly don’t know.”
Someone else must have been hitting the Appletinis besides me, I thought. Though I had pegged desk guy as a beer drinker. The six-pack he used as a paperweight on the front desk was a good indicator. Other than desk guy’s lame responses, he was a rather affable fellow. He smiled a lot despite a hunk of lettuce permanently wedged between his two front teeth. I found out later that he did know another phrase besides, “I honestly don’t know.” A line he uttered twice as often. “You can find it in the vending machine.”
Three over-sized vending machines barely fit into an alcove off the lobby. One machine contained candy and drug store items, the other soda and water, and finally last, but not least, ice, which was quite popular among the brown bag-huggers who stumbled into the lobby with drool running down their chins. Not being an expert on hobo toxicology, I naïvely thought that ice went into a drink but was wrong. One brown bag-hugger I encountered waiting for the elevator felt obligated to explain why he held a bag of ice along with a brown bag.
“I keep it for hangovers,” he said.
“Ah,” I responded, then took two steps back. His 100-proof-breath nearly knocked me over. If I had remained close to him for another minute or so, the fumes would have likely intoxicated me. It was 3 p.m. I never drink before 5 p.m.
Hugger had his own set of rules, too. “I only buy booze when I’m sober,” he muttered, before stepping into the elevator. Then added, as the elevator doors closed, “So the liquor store guy doesn’t think I’m a drunk.”
Somehow, what hugger said made perfect sense. I pondered his words while sauntering over to the vending machine alcove in front of the candy/drug store items. I stared at the Twix candy bar hanging next to the box of rubbers. Maybe it was the drunk’s breath talking, but suddenly it all made sense to me. I had never realized it before, but there was something slightly phallic-looking about a Twix candy bar.