Monday, October 18, 2010
professional driver on closed course
We had spent the previous night sleeping a few hours in the car. Now Deb and I flew down the highway on the way to our reservation at the Anasazi Inn, just shy of Tuba City. I think I've failed to mention in this blog so far that Deb doesn't drive. She doesn't even have a license. This is not a problem in Brooklyn. We walk, we take the subway, we walk some more. Occasionally, we even take a cab (mostly to the airport). The walking has been a bit tricky for me lately as my knees are hurting from a lingering injury. But my problem in New York City is stairs, stairs are my nemesis. Since we've been away from NYC I haven't needed to take the stairs much as most of the country seems to be one-story. Walking seems to be good for my knees. I walk slow and deliberately and keep my eyes peeled for elevators. But I digress.
I like driving. I hate commuting, but driving on desert highways is a lot of fun. It's like living in a car commercial, the ones that warn you not to attempt such scenic by-ways. Driving such roads is less enjoyable at night namely because of all the jacked up pick-ups cresting the road's horizon and blinding you with the force of four headlights. I like to drive with my brights on and as you see the edges of an oncoming car's brights nearing the bend in the road, you dip yours and they dip theirs. It's one of the last polite exchanges left on the highway.
The other singular thing about driving down a desert highway is the sheer volume of bugs that end up on your windshield. Our Hyundai got good mileage but I'd pull over at gas stations just to scrub the bugs off the windshield. At night you could see them, moths mostly, about fifty feet out flying toward you in a slow, deliberate spiral as the car sped forward. Their fate seems inevitable, so rarely do they manage to swoop up and avoid it. The moths come spinning towards you, looming large and white before exploding on the windshield like a cheap, tiny firework. The desert is a cruel, unforgiving place.
We got to the Anasazi Inn and checked in. Our room was not in the main building that faced the highway: the standard roadside motel design, one long building split into a string of tiny rooms. We drove around back and discovered that our room was in a duplex trailer. There was a row of trailers surrounded by tall weeds. Our trailer's exterior was lit by a single bulb that was swarming with moths. Our key didn't work and we failed to take the warning and foolishly got another key. Once inside, we started taking a sad inventory of this dump. The floors were stained, the wood paneling was peeling from the walls, the pillows were dirty and lumpy, the place was freezing, and moths populated every light source.
The showerhead had about 50 holes, but only 6 of them let water through, making each one a tiny liquid laser that stung the skin. The bed's springs were worn down and the bed sloped to the middle and my feet hung over the edge. Now Deb and I ain't fancy folks, we don't require luxury accomodations, silk undergarments, or fancy fineries. But when the room costs $109, it shouldn't look like it cost $29. We thought about our fancy room in Chicago that we got for the bargain rate of $115. We covered one bed with all the comforters and ignored a handwritten sign asking us not to turn up the heat. We went to bed fully dressed, sincerely hoping we would survive till morning and not get murdered by drifters.