A Love Letter to Motels
There's no place like home, but there's no place like a motel either.
Home is a cocoon weaved from love and memories, but a motel is a blank canvas, a place to shed your old skin and slide into a new reality.
There's plenty to be said for fancy hotels, those gilded palaces that let you exist as the successful, rich version of yourself, if only for the night. And, for a clean slate, you can't beat a basic chain hotel - pristine, white and soulless, they give you no clues as to who you should become - the field is open.
But the places I dream about, long for, even, are those motels that lie sleepily beside narrow highways, wood-panelled and cosy, or strobe their neon names across the desert night, letters missing from their signs like gap-toothed smiles.
The places where you check-in with a glamorously buxom middle-aged woman who looks like her hugs could salve all sorrows or a skinny middle-aged man who looks like he has better travelling tales than you ever will, then drive ten metres to your own front door.
The rooms are clean but a little worn - the sink might be cracked or the window frame broken - but the imperfections are welcome. The motel has no expectations - you are enough for these rooms, just as you are. Leave the disappointments and detritus of life at the door, but remain yourself. A you in flux, without the clutter of bad decisions and broken dreams. The road ahead is open and clear.
A sea change is seldom easy, but sometimes all you need is a moment away from your life, a birdseye view on your journey. A tiny course correction might send you away from the whirlpool and towards a tranquil sea.
The romance of impermanence hangs over all hotels, but I feel it most keenly here - the beauty of fleeting things. This is home, but only for the night. In the morning, you will drink several refills of that filter coffee that tastes so good in motels and diners and so bad anywhere else, you will leave your key and be gone, the beat-up beacon sign fading in your rearview mirror.