This weekend I am in old stomping grounds and am staying at a heavily-discounted version of a more prestigious and expensive motel chain. It is mother of pearl to the actual pearls in nearby neighborhoods. It's walking through the doors of "Off 5th", because the price tag of a men's polo at Saks equals three days pay.
I often view the finer things in life from a lower-middle class distance.
I stay at places like this often when I travel - the basics are hardly anything new to me. This place - it's a bit off the highway - and peaceful.
The building's exterior is the same forgettable light tan color every chain motel is painted with these days. The front desk clerk may be close to 100 years old (he is really nice), possibly not physically too different from the creaky elevator that transported me to my floor - it has had happier and less noisy days. He - the desk clerk - has an experienced smile and I bet he has stories for miles. He handed me my room key and we wished each other a good evening.
This place - it's a bit creepy, but not scary in any way. I suspect this out-of-the-way neighborhood isn't dangerous.
It took me several minutes after entering the room to notice the art. Do motel rooms like this ever display art on the walls that anybody enjoys? The prints are usually pretty enough to not be depressing, but ugly enough so people don't steal them. None of them belong in a gallery.
After getting comfortable, I casually noticed a cheaply framed portrait of autumn trees on the wall by the bed - but then I looked at the prints on the other walls. All of them are framed black and white or sepia photos of better lodgings than my current temporary residence. They, actually, aren't bad.
But then I looked closer at the matted and framed photo next to the inconvenient mirror (behind the bathroom door). It's a photo of Hotel Chicago, owned by entrepreneur H.H. Holmes - the photo was most likely taken around the months leading up to the 1893 World's Fair.
I paused, and then chuckled.
Memorable scenes from American Horror Story Seasons 5 and 8 immediately came to mind and I suddenly become more confident in my selection of this discount motel. I'll likely write a positive review of my stay, upon returning home.
It's enough to make me smile before bedtime. I think - sometimes - we are where we are meant to be at the right moment - we just have to be looking in the right direction when the light is just right and in a place that will create a memory. I suspect that - right now - I am where I am meant to be. And I couldn't be more content.