Motelin Just What … May 29, 2012

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Somewhere between $35.95 cents and $169.99 is the average cost of a motel room in this country for one night. Of course, there are places where you can pay much more for a room based upon locale, special events or some little extra accommodation advertised. But generally speaking, most motels will blush with embarrassment once they go above that top dollar.

It is probably one of the most diversely priced items in this country. For instance, if I told you that a gallon of milk ranged between $1.23 and $18.55, you would be up in arms and ready to lynch some dairy farmer in Wisconsin. Yet the motel industry seems to get by with it by maintaining some dubious rationale in its advertising.

I will tell you right now, after having traveled nearly forty years staying in these establishments, which the top fifty dollars of every price is paying for the name, the location, or the privilege of eyeballing staff wearing coats and ties rather than t-shirts and jeans. If that is relatively important to you, then you should pull out that money and spend it heartily.

Thirty dollars of the price of a motel room in the higher range is for the privilege of being with clientele of your particular social ilk. Yes, I am saying it out loud—cheaper motels tend to draw people who don’t have as much money and unfortunately, in this country we contend that those souls are the source of our crime and violence. (Obviously, not so.)

Motels that charge you a lot of money for the rooms refer to these cheaper establishments as “flea bags–infested with bugs, or dens of drugs and prostitution. Of course, once again, very little truth in the matter (although I would not recommend taking out a motel room adjacent to an adult bookstore.)

If you will allow me to put it into perspective for you, a motel room is a simulation of a master bedroom.  Bed, dresser, closet, television set and adjoining bathroom. And nowadays, most of them have microwaves and refrigerators for convenience, which is a consideration we all might have in the future for our own home unit.

There are really three questions you must ask yourself about your motel room for the night that are essential for a good stay:

1. How much room in the room? Unless you have become very familiar with your traveling companion or don’t mind cramped quarters, being able to walk around your room without running into walls or furniture is a plus.

2. Can I park in front of the door or near to my room? One of the biggest misconceptions is that motel rooms that are enclosed, with a parking lost adjoining are safer than those where you can pull up to your door with your car. Honestly, if I were a criminal, I would not want to rob from cars that are right next to the windows of the owner. I would find a nice, large parking lot far from the front desk–and take my pick.

3. Now, this may surprise you. Staying in a motel room is all about the bathroom. You should be careful of those establishments that miniaturize everything in the toilet area so as to condense space so the room can look larger—because all of the plumbing may look Snow White, but it is best suited for the seven dwarves. Especially beware of toilet seats that are round instead of oblong. They tend to be very uncomfortable and are usually encased by a wall on either side, giving you the feeling that you are being wedged into your experience. The bathroom is the key to a motel room. Good lighting, double sinks a plus–or even a sink in the bathroom and one outside the bathroom is really handy. The shower should be easy to get in and out of and have good pressure.

Once you discover these pieces of information, you understand that the most you should probably pay for a motel room is about $75 a night. Everything above that is advertising name, location, staff or a hot breakfast which is offered to you, including eggs, bacon and sausage (which, by the way, is completely unnecessary unless you’re a lumberjack felling trees in the Yukon.)

As you find with everything else in life, there are ways to save money without losing quality. That seems to stymie a lot of folks, including the U.S. government and Congress–because at least half of what people refer to as quality is name-brand assurance that you will be taken care of if something goes wrong.

So the Holiday Inn wants you to pay extra money for their good name over “Bob and Mary’s Motel” down the street–because in the case of some unforeseen difficulty, they want you to believe they would handle it better than Bob and Mary. But since we don’t know what that unforeseen difficulty would be, and no one knows what anyone would do, you end up spending a lot of money for absolutely nothing–similar to buying extra insurance coverage on a car rental.

So I pulled into Denver yesterday and went to my motel, and as always, it ends up being a mixed bag. The room is small but has a lovely bathroom with an accessible shower AND throne. The air conditioning unit needs some work, but we’ve already met the maintenance man and he seems congenial and willing to try. The television set is too big for the room, but that hardly seems like something one should complain about after simply noting it. And the furniture is not made of oak or covered with leather, but instead, looks like your Uncle Charlie made it out in the garage because he’s hoping to someday leave his job at the factory and start a business.

I feel very good every week upon discovering a diamond in the rough and saving money that people have given me so that I can travel—to use it wisely to buy quality instead of merely a name or false assurance. If we could teach the financiers of our nation the same concept and we would begin to barter once again for better pricing on items instead of signing lifelong contracts with companies based on their previous reputations, we could begin to emerge from this dark cloud of indebtedness and arrogant spending with some dignity–and even have a little fun in the process.

Fortunately for me, I have a traveling companion who enjoys cutting a corner here and there as long as she doesn’t lose and arm or a leg. If we could just find people to elect to be our representatives who had similar mindsets, we would be all set.

So those are my discoveries about moteling. To sum it up, if you need a name, or if you are afraid of being next door to someone who makes less than 50K a year, then you will probably end up paying for the higher priced institutions, for the powdered eggs in the morning, convincing yourself it was worth it. But if you realize that buying a name doesn’t mean guaranteeing quality, or sharing the neighborhood with people who don’t have late-model cars but do have contemporary standards and morals–then you can shop around and save yourself upwards to fifty or sixty dollars a night.

Last week I met some of the most interesting people at the swimming pool where we were staying in Grand Junction, Colorado. They were young enough to be my children or grandchildren, and I befriended them, loved them and enjoyed them, discovering many twists and turns in their ever-evolving lives. It was fascinating.

So “motelin’ just what you’re looking for,” as you stay overnight somewhere, realize that money can be easily spent pursuing a security–that is never pre-ordained.

 

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

It May Not be Heaven, but … February 3, 2012

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Waking up in the morning is a daily reenactment of resurrection, minus the needful suffocation.  Blink, blink, achy, achy, please let me roll over–can’t do it, sit up, feet on the floor … life commences. Again.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure is heavenly.
 
Twenty ounces of water. It is astounding what this liquid treasure can do for our bodies–for truthfully, we don’t arise in the morning hungry, but rather, thirsty. We are nearly depleted of all fluids, or at least down a quart or two, and just pouring that refreshment into our vessel does more to wake us up than any television show or music on the radio ever could.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure goes down heavenly.
 
Hot water pelting my skin, trying to stimulate me to grab the bar of soap and join in the party, sudsing myself while water pours from the wall, cleansing every nook and cranny.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure showers heavenly.
 
Food–what a glorious notion. Some days it’s a bowl of cereal with bananas and strawberries; every once in a while, an egg white omelet. I also eat these bran crisp crackers with fat-free cream cheese and sugar-free jelly, which literally tickle my innards and provide a moving experience. Add yourself a half of a grapefruit and…
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure tastes heavenly.
 
An incomprehensible blessing–being able to sit down every morning and write an essay read by thousands of people, and also personal emails sent to friends and family, which you hope will at least be adequately perused. Pithy is not nearly as important as real.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure feels heavenly.
 
Getting up on my feet, limping a bit through the creaks of sixty years on well-traveled hooves, I head out the door to run errands. Isn’t it magnificent that as long as you have a dab of money in your pocket and a notion of what you want, and neither of those exceed or underestimate one another, you can purchase things that make your day a little bit better? And of course–don’t forget to mail that letter.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure runs heavenly.
 
Time to get an oil change in that big, black van. In the process I meet two young, giggling gents who are excited about the upcoming big game on Sunday. They have their favorites, so I tease them by pretending that their choices are crazed or foolish. We laugh. It’s over very quickly … and to punctuate the enjoyment, I give my new buddies a little extra money to bless themselves. They are so appreciative that the blessing returns to me.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure embraces heavenly.
 
I make a stop in the park to read the Gospel of Mark, never actually knowing that it would rhyme. I’m reading it to afford myself fresh eyes to capture the emotion, passion and message of this first gospel to see what young John Mark was trying to tell us about his friend. Sweet journey.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure reads heavenly.
 
With all the mystery of  a fairy tale and the magic of a Nazarene miracle, suddenly appearing at the window of my van is a passerby who tells me of his plight–a flat tire with no funds. He pleads for finance, informing me that he’s already been rejected by four people, one apparently doing so by referring to him as a “nigger.” He says that everybody seems scared of him. Fresh from my bathing in the waters of Mark, I look him in the eye and say, “I’m not scared.” It was fascinating. My lack of fear seemed to frighten him a bit. I did not attempt to determine the veracity of his story–I did not care. Giving is not about the integrity of the receiver, but rather, the heart of the provider. I submitted the funds for his need and he began to make promises to me on how he would repay. I stopped him. “Don’t,” I said. “Just find a way to give to someone else.”  He shook my hand and disappeared.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure is “angels unaware” heavenly.
 
A stop off at the Sonic Drive-In to get a corn dog and onion rings before returning to my traveling companion for luncheon. Wow.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure drives in heavenly.
 
I watched an episode about the Ponderosa as I munched on my onion rings. For a moment I was a little boy sitting in front of our Zenith black and white set, six inches away from the screen, constantly being hounded by my mother for my proximity to the potentially dangerous box. Hoss, Little Joe, Pa and Adam … still work.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure is a “Bonanza” of the heavenly.
 
I steal myself a nap, even though it’s completely my choice, and I arise to do some exercise, which I pretend is of my own volition. I eat some chicken with vegetables and half a sweet potato as I settle into the evening, allowing the satisfaction of the day to produce giddiness, which eventually, amazingly, lends itself to sleepiness. The day is over.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure has become heavenly.
 
I have studied things of God and life for my entire journey. Having done so, I am no more assured of eternity than I was the first day someone mentioned the word “heaven.” But my years of travel have taught me one important lesson–if there is a heaven, then there’s no reason to wait for it, when we’re completely capable of duplicating some of its beauty right here on earth. And if there isn’t a heaven, then we desperately need one, so we should make certain that every step on our journey has a supernal quality.
 
For verily I say unto you: religion is waiting for God.
 
Heaven is enjoying Him now.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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