Untotaled: Stepping 49 (July 13th, 1969) My First Bikini…January 10, 2015

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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Being painfully bored, I was greatly relieved when Marsha called and said that some of the kids from school were getting together to hang out, drive around Westerville and see if we could have some fun without getting in trouble.

She wanted to use my 1962 Chevy Impala because it was big enough to seat seven people.

I agreed.

We had a great time, but we did start running out of things to do, so we headed off to an area of our community where all the rich people lived. The locals usually did this because we wanted to drive by their houses and talk about what brats they were.

Suddenly Marsha suggested that Carol, who was with us and was about to get her driver’s license, take the wheel and try her luck. As unbelievable as it may sound now, in a moment of sanity, we all thought it was a great idea on that day.

Carol got in the car and the first thing she did was put it in reverse and back my automobile into a deep ditch.

We spent the next twenty minutes trying to get out of the predicament. Then Marsha noticed we were across the street from one of our friends from school, so she walked down the long drive to try to get some assistance. While she was gone, miraculously, we were able to wiggle the car out of the ditch, so by the time she returned with her friend the problem was solved.

As I looked up, there was the girl from the house down the long driveway, standing there, wearing a bikini. It was my first bikini.

Normally Ohio people wear clothing–similar to the reason that bears have fur–for protection, warmth and of course, modesty. But there before me was a bikini, displaying its fruit like a bowl full of cherries.

I don’t know why it shocked me so much. Perhaps I had never been that close to breasts that didn’t belong to my mother. I tried not to stare, and of course, when you try not to do something, it becomes even more obvious that you’re doing it.

She was dressed in a bikini because she had a swimming pool, which normally would have caused us to make fun of her, but since she was wearing a bikini, I reconsidered.

She was the same girl who believed the Easter bunny lived at her house, and who sat next to me in biology class like a timid lump of nothing.

But today she was a bikini.

We didn’t stay long, but all the way back to town I was thinking about the sight. I thought about it all that night. I woke up the next morning thinking about my first bikini.

So later that afternoon, I called the bikini girl on the phone and I asked her out on a date. I realized that some of my friends would ridicule me because they had characterized her as a rich weirdo, but I didn’t care. I was driven by a higher force–certainly not as high as the heavens, but floating somewhere above the earth.

I learned that day that romance needs more than love. It requires lust.

And lust has a very brief lifespan without love.

 

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Straits and Narrows … August 10, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1971)

church of the straitsYou meet the nicest people at the swimming pool.

Water is just wet with possibility: it’s good for splashing, swimming, drinking and even, I hear, washing away sins.

Yesterday I encountered a dear lady during my time of pool play. We had a rather lengthy conversation which placed me in the enjoyable position of “listener” more than “speaker.” (I actually rather prefer that as long as my attention span doesn’t drag me away to drowsiness.)

At the conclusion of our little rendezvous, she said, “The problem in America is that the younger generation doesn’t have any respect for morals and goodness.”

I know that’s a popular opinion. It’s probably the same thing my parents said about me and my friends when we were mere burgeoning bumpkins. But it’s really not the dilemma. The problem is that we suffer from social amnesia, forgetting how to keep things straight and knowing when to narrow down our choices so that we don’t become so pliable that we lack common sense.

I put some thought into it. Now, I don’t consider myself a scholar, but I did come up with three things to help us humans stay on the “strait and narrow,” so we don’t become seething contradictions to those around us:

1. If I want the blessing, I’ve got to be willing to take the blame and if I’m going to take the blame–darned tootin,’ I deserve the blessing. Since people in our culture are frightened of appearing inept in any way at all, the human family seems to scatter in all directions, seeking a corner in which to hide whenever a dish is broken. In doing so, they sacrifice the ability to confess their bumbling, become well-trusted and be part of the team that gets to go out dish-shopping. As long as we extol the technique of subterfuge and hiding our weaknesses, we will never actually be able to participate in the kind of discovery that unearths miracles and blessings. Which leads to:

2. Lying sucks. I hate it when people lie to me; I would assume they feel the same way about my mistruths. Lying sucks because it puts such a cheap price on conversation that we never quite know what is important and what is just another foolish posting on Facebook. We also have no idea whether we can trust the words that come from the mouths of our friends, so we dangerously find ourselves second-guessing for fear of being duped. And how about this?

3. Leave people alone. Just yesterday, driving between my headquarters and the shopping center, a mere mile-and-a-half away, I saw at least six things that my fellow-humans did right in front of my eyes which I found at least stupid, if not unethical. Who cares? As long as we believe that stupidity has a chance of being successful, we will be grumpy about folks who take short cuts and cheat.

It sometimes takes a while, but no bad deed goes unpunished.

And it isn’t a choice between condemning and condoning–it’s really a decision to keep your eyes on the prize of your own life and leave people alone. I will not condemn you, but I’m not necessarily going to condone everything I see, either. My gift is to leave you alone and let it play out. After all, nothing is more annoying than brothers and sisters trying to correct one another instead of letting Mom and Dad do their jobs. And for me, Mother Earth and Father God can take care of it. I’m just going to show up for dinner and make sure I wash behind my ears.

There you go.

Tomorrow I will be sharing at the Church of the Straits in Mackinaw City, Michigan. bridgeEven though I know the “strait” in this case refers to a body of water, I am taking the poetic license of hoping that they also understand that the “strait and narrow” referred to in the gospel is not “strait-laced and narrow-minded,” but rather, straight-forward and narrow in focus to the truth.

I hope they will agree with me–to get the blessing:

  • You’ve gotta take the blame.
  • Lying sucks.
  • And leave people alone.

When you do all of these things, it makes pool time so much more pleasant.

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Remarkable … December 28, 2012

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It really is quite simple.

To solve all the world’s problems is not a complicated cypher. All you have to do is decide between remarkable and re-make-able. Am I going to treat the human beings around me as remarkable individuals, or am I going to follow my culture in the continual, futile task of remaking them?

We are notorious for this. We meet someone for the first time, and before we know it, our brain is already trying to take them back to the drawing board, where God drafted their being, and correct the original design.

  • We quickly discern if they’re too fat.
  • On the other hand, we wonder why they’re so bony and skinny.
  • We’re curious about whether that mole in the middle of their forehead makes them self-conscious.
  • We notice skin color, although we fervently resist the inkling.
  • “Pretty” and “ugly” leap to the forefront.
  • “Nice” or “mean” is a split-second piece of discernment, with a vengeance of judgment.

We begin to reform them from the dustiness of our minds, evolving them into different creatures that we think would be better suited for life on this planet–especially in front of us.

Here’s the killer–we don’t even have to say anything. Our body language, our look, our deference and our avoidance speak volumes.  It puts people on edge.

Of course, meanwhile they are trying to remake us.

So when you take a world of remakers and thrust them together, they all piously begin to believe that if their will were enacted on earth, then it would truly be heavenly. To overcome such a dastardly practice, you have to decide to become a person who is looking for the remarkable.

It happened to me yesterday at the swimming pool. I went down for a quiet swim and a little exercise. Even though the weather was a bit chilly, I persevered and attempted to brave it. Just as I arrived, a mother with her four children came through the gate. Now, I want to tell you what my Midwestern, German upbringing immediately sprouted in my brain:

  1. Darn it, here come some kids.
  2. She’s a black woman. I hope she doesn’t think I’m fat and white.
  3. Do I really want to get in the pool in front of a bunch of children under the age of ten?
  4. I should have come down sooner.
  5. Why is she looking at me so grouchy?
  6. Is she noticing that I’m displeased?
  7. Maybe the water will be too cold and they won’t stay long.

Now, none of these thoughts took very long–and as each one came to my mind, I was disgusted with myself for birthing the little boogers. But bratty thoughts will hang around until they are replaced with better offspring.

So I decided to converse with this woman, talk to her about her children and include the youngsters in surviving the frigid waters. It was beautiful. By the end of my visit to that pool, the dear lady had warmed up, even deciding to move from her perch where she had originally situated herself, surmising that it was going to block my exit from the waters into my wheelchair.

It was a massive success. But it did require that both she and I pursue finding the remarkable instead of pandering to our picky, nasty attitudes of the re-make-able.

Here is one thing for sure–people change slowly, even when they have to. So most certainly, they will never change because I want them to or even have a good suggestion. The only thing I can do to make my journey fun is to find the remarkable in what other folks want to view as the re-make-able.

So I don’t care if you’re black, white, red, green, gay, straight, atheist, Muslim, Chinese or Yorkshire terrier. It is my mission, as long as God gives me breath, to find the remarkable in everyone sent my way, and in the process, remove the curse of trying to remake the world around me.

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Published in: on December 28, 2012 at 2:31 pm  Comments (1)  
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An Amazing Diversion… November 14, 2012

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I ate like a pig.

Having survived an arduous morning in Parma, Ohio, trying to move along on my wobbly, sore legs, I creaked my way into my motel room, ordered in a bunch of food, took a spoon and fork to try to comfort my pain and reward my efforts.

It tasted good, but an hour later I felt worse. Matter of fact, by the time I got up the following morning, my legs were so stiff that I was unable to walk. It scared me. So I prayed.

Over the years I have learned that prayers uttered in fear are useless–because fear scares away love, and since God is love, He is not quite certain where He can enter our situation without first ministering to the trepidation. When Jesus was on the sea with his disciples and there was a huge storm and they were scared “fishless,” he calmed the disciples before he calmed the storm.

“Be not afraid.”

Well, I was afraid. I was afraid of not walking, I was afraid of losing my career, I was afraid of not being able to reach out to other folks, I was afraid of becoming a statistical fat person, who faithfully followed the pamphlet’s description of his own demise. So my prayer of fear just made me sadder. Finally calming down, however, I allowed myself a chance to consider my plight.

I realized that for my entire life, I had been very active but also quite obese. Believe it or not, those two are at odds with each other. So that morning, I committed to take care of my body and stop overeating by sneaking in extra carbohydrates and fats.

The by-product of that decision is that I started losing weight. I felt stronger. It was amazing that within thirty-six hours, I regained enough willingness to move forward that I held my dates, coming up with the idea of using the wheelchair. So I got to do my work, which made me feel valuable, building up my confidence so that I could continue to commit to losing weight. That was thirty-seven days ago.

Yesterday, I got into a swimming pool for the first time since then and discovered that my legs are gradually rebuilding back to the status where they were before. That is both good news and bad news–because where they were before was not giving me the mobility I needed to get around.

When I was changing clothes after the swim, I looked down at the big toe on my right foot and received quite a shock. For the last seven years, I have had a small open wound on my big toe. It wouldn’t heal. I doctor it every morning, bandaging it up to protect it from infection, but it has remained the same, without change. But now … it is healing.

I was shocked. Better phrased, I was amazed. How did that happen? For you see, in the process of trying to regain my legs, what I was immediately receiving was my big toe. If God had actually granted me new legs without me making any revisions in my lifestyle, I would have quickly worn those legs out also with my fat body.

Sometimes we forget that God can not go around contradicting His own creation and overriding His own system just so we can escape a bit of inconvenience. It is why the Bible tells us we can ask God for wisdom any time and know we will receive it. The Bible does NOT tell us that we can ask God for miracles and immediately confiscate one.

In my clumsy, unaware fashion, I backed into a truth: The only way I am ever going to get the use of my legs again in this lifetime is to lose enough weight, get healthier and start healing in places on my body, so that my legs can follow suit. Healing my legs on that October morning from a prayer of fear would have been the worst thing God could do. He would have ended up with a grateful, gushing, unrepentant porker who would continue to live a lifestyle detrimental to his own good.

For thirty-seven days I have done something I never thought I could. I eat my dinner and then stop snacking. An amazing diversion.

For thirty-seven days, I have removed excess carbohydrates, fats and sweets from my diet. An amazing diversion.

For thirty-seven days, I have found it easier to sleep without constantly waking up with symptoms of insomnia. An amazing diversion.

I have begun to lose weight again–slowly–which I had convinced myself was impossible at my age. An amazing diversion.

And a small, open wound on my big toe is closing up and healing–a wound which seemed to be a live-in roommate and now is gradually being evicted. An amazing diversion.

As you pray for your miracle, keep in mind that God has a system in place. Keep in mind that God is smarter than your perception of your need. Be cognizant of the fact that there are processes that take us to other processes, which place us on a pathway to conclusion.

  • My toe is healing.
  • My body is getting lighter.
  • My physicality is growing stronger.
  • My health seems better.

Can my legs do anything but join the band?

Life is an amazing diversion, where God teaches us how we work on a planet of His creation if we’re willing to go there without fear–bringing along paper and pencil to take notes.

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Waiting for the Load… October 13, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

Swimming pools have water. May I follow that revelation with the admission that I enjoy water? Baptism, baths, splish or splash–the wet stuff is nice.

That’s why it’s difficult to believe that until I was twenty-seven years old, I never put on a suit, went to a swimming pool and jumped in the water with my friends. I was fat. I was that “adolescent obese,” where as a man, you have muscle and strength but you’re also covered with enough loose skin and blubber to make it appear, from a distance, that your sex is ambiguous. At least that’s the way I felt.

I actually sat by the pool with my companions, dressed in long pants, shirt and shoes and pretended I was having a good time while they all acted “cool in the pool.” They pleaded with me to come in but I always told them, “Next time.”

As you well know, next time never comes.

Matter of fact, as I look back on it, I’m not quite sure what finally prompted me to slide on a pair of short pants, take off my shirt and flop my way into the refreshing tide. I think I finally just got tired of being tired. I got weary of being the one who had explanations for all my insecurities, which were generally accepted by those around me.

I bring this up to you because the first time I did go in a pool without a shirt, wearing trunks, was probably one of the more horrible experiences of my life. I  succeeded in finding a time when there was no one at the pool and slid into the water without being eyeballed. But lo and behold, before I was able to make my departure, a kid’s party invaded the establishment, with balloons and about twenty of the brattiest children I have ever met. So I dunked myself under the water to hide my obvious thighs, but the time of the party extended beyond my available pool time. In other words, I had to get out of the pool in front of the kids.

I put it off and I put it off. Finally, it was beginning to look like I might be a little odd or checking out the children for hanging around so long, so I headed for the exit steps and ascended. As I came out of the pool, I noticed that the children, who had been screaming and playing behind me, suddenly fell silent. All at once, one of the boys started to laugh, which caused all the other children to burst into hooting and hollering.

I was humiliated and angry–and in my haste to try to grab my shirt, I tripped over a chair and fell against the fence. This only increased the enjoyment of my little rabble-rousers. I stomped away, saying some nasty little piece of nothing in their direction. It was months before I attempted to be courageous again.

But I learned that day. Well, maybe it was weeks after that I learned. But eventually, a lesson did land in my spirit. Here it is. No matter what we attempt, no matter how we try, no matter how much we plan–every day life is going to arrive with a load.

It isn’t there to aggravate us. It isn’t Satan tracking us down so he can poke us with his pointy tail. It isn’t because we are full of evil and depravity. And it isn’t because we “forgot to do something” and next time we need to be more careful. It’s just that God allows Mother Nature to mix things, up so all the big boys and girls don’t grab all the big marbles and go into the big house and make their big plans and look out of their big windows–and laugh at all the little people. In other words, all of us take a turn at losing our marbles.

This week, as I have launched on this faith-mission with my health, the realization about the “Load” has been prevalent in my mind and present in my reality. Take yesterday. I love Fridays on the road because I have an extra writing session–a letter I write to 350-plus pastors across the nation who have become my acquaintances and friends. It is also laundry day. Without fear of losing my macho portion, I love the smell of clean clothes. It is a day to plan for my weekend, when I will get to meet wonderful, dynamic human beings and share my dribble of talent and insight.  Yesterday was no different. I had all those blessings, but mingled in was the realization that I am struggling in my walk.

So what is the key to life when we’re all “waiting for the load”–that unexpected punch of possible problems that comes our way, ignoring both our wishes and our pre-packaged purpose? It’s a two-step process:

1. Plan simple so complications won’t frustrate you. If you look at what you decide to do on any given day and you’re already exasperated, take four things off the list. Because four things will get added on later without your permission, and if you have kept your list intact, you will not only be overwhelmed, you will become infuriated.

2. Budget in time for rest. You may not get it, but if you don’t budget it, you can guarantee yourself that you’ll never find a moment to take a breath during the day.

There’s the magic. I woke up yesterday morning knowing that I am still having pain in my legs, with some difficulty in standing to my feet without a grimace or two. So what became my load?

Well, because I have been working so hard to try to walk, I had to overcome a muscle ache in my right leg. But I did have a great bathroom stop which, for some reason or another, seemed to alleviate some of the discomfort.

I made my way down to the pool in the wheelchair and lowered myself into the water and it felt so good–but walking around in the pool was a bit painful and caused climbing the steps and getting back into the chair to have a bit of a Herculean effect.

It was completely balanced–but I did not begin the day setting any anticipations that did not seem reasonable. I was waiting for the load.

It is coming. There is no temptation that is not common to all of us. Please do not think you are going to escape making tough decisions in faith, simply because you have padded a bank account, paid into Social Security, done an oil change on your car or saw the doctor a month ago. There is one certainty for all of humanity–there will eventually be something that comes our way that we did not plan for that will jettison us from this earth.

So, what did I learn yesterday while I was “waiting for the load?” I once again praised my heavenly Father for such an articulate and meticulous organizational creation, available to us mortals if we will allow ourselves to be human instead of insisting that we’re gods.

Here is a four-stanza little verse that I pass on to you, which you may want to absorb into your everyday thinking:

No more than we can bear

Not less than we can share

Not easy to make us lazy

Not hard to make us crazy.

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M.T.M.B…. June 26, 2012

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She situated herself at the edge of the pool in a white deck chair, peering closely at her three young ducklings, splashing away in the water. Seeing us arrive, she apparently judged by our age that we were older and therefor cranky, and warned her children not to splash us when we entered the swimming hole.

I laughed. I told her that if we didn’t want to get wet, we probably should have stayed in our room instead of coming to the pool. She looked at me, a bit surprised, asked me if I was sure, and then returned to her vigil of supervision. Since the children were given permission to scream, they actually ended up screaming less. (I think that’s part of being a kid–if your parents want you to do anything, that’s a good enough reason to do it less or not at all.)

While I swam around, I observed her. I like to observe people–not because I’m nosy but because I’m trying to learn how to make better choices myself and the only way I’ve found to accomplish that is to learn from watching the decisions of others.

She yelled a lot. It’s not easy having three kids. I know–I’ve had them. You’re always concerned that they’re going to hurt themselves or do something stupid or annoy cantankerous folks around you, so you always come off a little over-protective and possibly overly critical.

She was having a bad day. No one should ever be judged–but certainly not when they’re having a bad day. Did I happen to mention that she was also pregnant? So there was going to be another young troubador joining the trio to form a quartet, with her being the underpaid and underappreciated maestro of the traveling troupe. What usually happens at this point is that people who think that they care or want to contribute something of quality resort to offering an opinion, or even worse, advice. It even can begin with the humble approach of, “In my experience … ”

If I could give one pearl of great wisdom to everyone in the world, it would be to avoid opinions and advice nearly at all cost. They are both useless. No one really wants to hear your opinion unless it’s favorable and your advice would require that they submit to your ideas, which human beings rarely do. We like to follow the thoughts that come from our own heads. Good, bad or ugly–it’s true.  So with that in mind I decided to contribute something of worth to this dear woman, who was obviously struggling under a burden beyond my present comprehension.

It’s all about good cheer. Good cheercomes in two forms. You can give it or you can be it. Sometimes the greatest thing you can do for another person is to just cheer ’em on. Take a moment, find something they’re doing well, and just give them a great big hoorah. I told her I thought she was doing a good job with her children and that she was smart to wear them out in the pool so they would get sleepy and have a good night of rest. She was a little shocked, but very appreciative that somebody was encouraging her instead of suggesting different parental approaches.

swimming pool

swimming pool (Photo credit: freefotouk)

I also used the other part of good cheer, staying in a great mood myself the whole time I was in the pool around her children. Humor may be the only answer to every problem–at least to get us started in the direction of resolution. (This is why we, as a race, are heading towards doom–because when confronted with conflict, we choose to become more serious-minded, and therefore, incompetent.)Yes, the two greatest things you can do for other people is cheer for them or bring good cheer in your own attitude.

I have experienced this my whole life. I was once stuck on I-40 in a complete stoppage of traffic because of a major accident. People got out of their cars and started to grump, complain and become fussy with one another. I realized it was going to be a dangerous situation unless some good cheer came in. So I let my sons get out of the car with their Nerf football and start throwing passes back and forth among the cars. Now, some people did complain, but most folks started tossing the ball along with them. In no time at all, the atmosphere changed from pre-Armageddon to “picnic.” All it took was good cheer.

The night that my son, Joshua, was in the hit-and-run accident, I found myself in the emergency room, awaiting the doctors and nurses to report to me, completely absorbed in my own tragedy. Sitting nearby was a mother and her nine-year-old son, who were also waiting for a report on an operation about her husband and his dad. They were tense, nervous and the little fellow was in tears. I didn’t feel like being generous. I was sitting in the ashes of my own devastation, but so was the little boy next to me. So I started up a game of, “I see something blue…” with him. (Honestly, it’s very hard to do in a hospital, considering that most things are beige and off-white.) He started to giggle, and for a necessary juncture, I forgot that my son was lying broken in an examination room. We passed the time together. About an hour later, the surgeon appeared and the little boy’s father had survived the operation. Good cheer won the night.

What we want to avoid are opinions and advice. Opinions are limited to our upbringing and advice has the frailty of being limited by our own personal experience. But good cheer comes from God, and sometimes only a gift from God will satisfy the human need.

My dear woman at the pool left in better sorts, I think. And I departed knowing that the best thing we can do is M.T.M.B.–which, by the way, stands for: Make The Moment Better.

   

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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

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