Summer was coming to an end and so was our stay in California. After driving three hours from Tulare to Los Angeles my parents were exhausted, but I was suddenly awake and aware of the bright lights coming to head.
As we drove down the road lit with buildings I took in my surroundings- the bill boards were bigger, the night was cooler, and the people were prettier. Everything just seemed better. The view soon began to disappear as we made a sharp turn into a motel parking lot. I couldn’t even see the sign because the shrubbery was so overgrown covering the whole front of the building in green. I assumed we were stopping to recalculate our destination when suddenly my parents got out of the car.
I cautiously got out and was immediately hit by the smell of smoke and the song “Sugar, Sugar” instantly reminding me of nights spent watching “Cake Boss”. I turned to the source and saw to my left three old men playing poker at a table that sat right next to the dumpster. They were laughing, smoking, and drinking all while barbequing. Next to trash.
I could feel their beady old eyes burning holes in the back of my head. There was no real entrance to this place, just a beat-up door covered in bullet proof glass. We impatiently stood in this little white room that smelled of stale cigarettes and mildew. I was expecting to see Norman Bates at the front desk only to be relieved by the small Asian man walking the two feet from the door to the counter.
He barley muttered a word as he grabbed our room key and began to walk up the increasingly narrow stairs covered in a shaggy red carpet. As we followed this man up the stairs and through the hallway, clutching our bags, we passed by rows of bookshelves filled with Chinese books covered in a layer of dust. The farther we got the weirder things became. I felt as if I had entered an unsettling home, not a hotel. We passed by open room doors with loud people and an Asian couple sitting on a sofa talking while their two sons whizzed past us on tricycles in their pajamas.
We finally came to our room door when the man gave us our key with a shake of his head and dismissed us. The ceiling was bouncing, the floors were cracking and the musty smell seemed to follow. The phone was disconnected, the old box T.V stood at the front of the two beds, and the lights occasionally flickered. But once morning came and the sun peeked through the windows, it wasn’t so bad, and all those creepy things became -as good as the bright lights, the flashy bill boards, the cool breeze, and all the beautiful people I had seen the night before. It was an unexpected adventure after all.