I don’t mind roughing it on the road, because I come from hardy, pioneer stock. But when a waiter serves a pinot noir that is room temperature rather than slightly chilled I have to wonder if we are collectively devolving into the condition of wild beasts.
I try not to be fussy about my coffee, but I think we can agree that it’s no longer enough for the coffee company to say that it’s “mountain grown” or “good to the last drop.” The coffee needs to be organic fair-trade-certified shade-grown solar-roasted dolphin-friendly coffee served in a cup made from at least 60 percent post-consumer fiber. And don’t get me started on the specific requirements for “cream and sugar.” That’s a whole ‘nother blog item.
I will say this: Upgrading has its downside. This is particularly true with motels that want to pretend they’re hotels. Why is it that the cheaper motels are the only ones that understand that you need a place right outside the door to sit and read for a spell and maybe fire up a stogie? I don’t mean a porch or a deck or some kind of elaborate architectural enclosure with a fountain and waiter service and whatnot. It can be just a concrete slab. It can be a tiny surface covered in Astroturf. It can be anything, so long as there are a few square feet of motel real estate that is implicitly MY SPOT. I just want to be able to sit outside in my spot and gaze at the scenery, even if the scenery happens to be an interstate highway, two gas stations and a Taco Bell.
But no: Upgrade your room by 30 bucks a night and suddenly it’s too snooty of a place to have external doors at all. You step out of your room and you’re in an internal corridor. Hike for a while and you might be able to find a door to the outside and perhaps a friendly bench. But that’s not the same as being right outside your own room.
One of the best rooms I had recently was something a bit cheaper than a Super 8 or a Motel 6 – I think it actually was a Motel 4 – but it had external doors on a nice second-floor balcony with a good view of the parking lot below. Great place to sit in a chair and read the paper and enjoy the smell of the molecules baking off the asphalt under the blazing sun. The only bad thing was the obvious drug trafficking down below and the presence of young men who were on the lookout for the cops. Life requires trade-offs.