A gig in Monterey. I know. “Maureen, you’re living the dream,” you’re saying aloud into your latte.
Well, it ain’t all glitter and glue guns my friends (I’m not a fan of either). Today I find myself back at a The Shit Motel, literally. Last time I came to this dump they gave me the dark room in the back of the building next to the dumpster. Had I been murdered, it would have made the dumping of my body that much easier. (Yes, there are shady parts of Monterey). Oh, and I was to pay 30 extra bucks because Maxie was with me. I told the hard working owner from India that that would not be happening. We seemed to have reached an understanding and I was moved into one of their “I can get through this for one night” rooms.
So here I am six months later. Melody is back at the desk. Sweet, accommodating, 20-something monotone Melody. She remembers me, and not fondly. With the warmth of an Anchorage winter, she hands me a key to a room and says “It’s not near the dumpster.”
In Room 125, I am greeted with the remains of the prior guest’s personal handiwork lodged in the toilet. After 10 minutes of trying to flush it away, it’s clear the “can” can not do what needs to be done. I call the lovely Melody to tell her the toilet isn’t working. Her response? “How do I know that you are not making this up to get a better room?” Yeah, because that’s what I do. I clog toilets all over America with the feces of strangers for upgrades.
I tell Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy that I am happy to stay in the room if someone would only fix toilet. In fact, I’d like to stay here as I’ve unpacked and I’m tired and I’d like to rest before tonight’s show instead of dealing with someone else’s shit. “No” is the answer.
I’m given key cards for the room next door. The first two don’t work. Neither do the next four. This goes on for half an hour with me, the clown, walking back and forth to Miss Sunshine and her mounting attitude. “Why are you frustrated with me?” I ask. “You’ve got a lot of issues, ” she says. “I’ve got a lot of issues? I’ve got the issues? There is a locked door that won’t unlock, there is shit in the toilet, and I’ve got issues?”
I don’t want to hurt people physically because I’m better now, but that feeling of wanting to grab the frayed ends of her bleached hair and watch her imagined Mountain Dew-infested teeth fall out sooner than their already shorten life span is there. Oh it’s there big time. But because I’m evolved (tired), I say, “Do you realize we both work for a living? Do you realize I come here every six months and I greet you with a smile (and all my teeth). Do you realize it’s your motel that has a stranger’s shit in the toilet and instead of being apologetic you are treating me as if I am the cause of this?”
And then there it is, the root of her anger — “The booker only pays for the back room and I upgraded you.” I get it. There are classification of rooms and I am getting over. She has upgraded me from Dumpster/Death Room to Shit Room to Can’t Get into the Room. She’s resentful that I am getting more than I deserve. “I’ll tell you what,” I say “How about I pay the difference so we can stop this. Can we make that happen?” She stares at me like I’m abstract art, “That’s the last room we’ve got.”
I don’t want to hate her. She is making me hate her. I walk out of the front office and as I pass the open side window I shout “I’m calling you when I can’t get into my room at midnight. Good bye person who thinks I purposely put the shit of a stranger into my toilet.”
I fume for hours. How many shitty people has she been around in her life that she thinks this way? What experiences have made her believe that I, or anyone, would create a story about a stranger’s shit in a toilet for a room upgrade?
It’s after midnight. My gig is over and I’m in front of Room 126 inserting the key card over and over and over again. Melody has gone home. I have to wake up Mr. India to get a master key and let me in. He is sweet, apologetic. He says that Melody has personal issues and he’s asked her not bring them to work. His kindness softens me. Hours earlier I wanted to hurl Melody into a stack of Cremora and Mini Moo’s. Now I feel bad for her. Because tomorrow I’ll be out of here, but she won’t. She’ll still be that girl who believes people make up stories about a stranger’s shit in their toilets for upgrades. Sad.