Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My St. Louis Sojourn

I got into the Motel 6 late, after a long day of teaching and exploring in Chicago.

As I drove up to the property, I was immediately concerned because the outside was completely unlit and free of signage. The dark glass windows and blank walls sent a message more akin to "Stay away!" than the usual "Welcome" I'm used to feeling from a Motel 6.
This picture was taken the next morning. That night it was all dark. 

I saw some movement inside, so I parked and we entered. I walked in as a man was embroiled in a passionate conversation on the phone regarding the desk clerks inability to process his reservation due to a downed computer.

He then proceeded to berate the motel and inquired if the owner was a 'dot head'. I couldn't help but physically react to his overt racist remarks, and he took that as an invitation to rope me into the fiasco. I told him that I knew what he meant because I've thought myself that the culture that they come from in India might be very different than ours. They seem to tolerate a very high level of filth and a low level of maintenance in their properties. They have no qualms against being rude and short with their customers. I hate to hear myself say these things, as I tend to cringe if I hear others speaking in such a way. But I've only had a handful of really upsetting interactions in all of my stays at Motel 6 and every time it has been with an Indian owner. That said, I still don't use racial epithets and I do my best to avoid speaking in sweeping generalizations.

As he got on his phone looking for another Motel 6, the clerk turned to help me. I had two nights reserved, which she quickly found and processed. I was paying cash so it all went through immediately. I had a moment of hesitation, where I almost said, "Let's just pay for the first night and see how it goes." But I didn't. I am not bothered by unkempt properties. I am more motivated by being able to stay put whenever I can. I also go into these properties with very little to no expectations of quality, so I'm never disappointed and often delighted by whatever surprises are in store.

This place was RIGHT by the airport. So close, in fact, that one of the directions that the navigation gave me was, "Turn left at 'Car Rental Return'".   The sound of airplanes is not a problem. They are infrequent and don't seem to go over my room. I hardly hear them.

Inside the room was fine. Outdated decor, but all the necessaries were there. I didn't get an ice bucket, but I always travel with my tupperware, which I often use to get ice when it isn't River's water bowl. And the batteries in the TV remote control don't seem to be working. Again, not really an issue with me, as I don't tend to watch TV. I was going to put it on to hear some voices before falling asleep last night, but when the remote didn't work, I just turned off the lights and went to sleep.

It was so nice to sleep in. I love sleeping late and having no responsibilities. I had a class scheduled for the evening, but my day was free. I was awakened by River, shaking his ears and then starting at me (his way of telling me he needs to go outside).

We took a walk around the grounds and I enjoyed the hot sun. It wasn't yet too humid.

A few hours later, that's a different story. I was working on the computer and River interrupted me to let me know he needed to go outside. When I took him out there, he didn't need to pee or poop, but as soon as he was in the sunshine, he plopped down on the hot concrete and soaked up the sun.  He didn't seem to mind that the temperature had since risen to 98 degrees and the humidity was in full force.
At lunchtime, I asked Siri to direct me to "the best burger in St. Louis." A question, when posed appropirate to the city I'm in, always gets me a good response. Sometimes, I see Burger King, but then I rephrase the question, being sure to add "best" and that's when I get information on good, local eats.
Today, he directed me to The White Barn, which was about 15 minutes away in St. Louis proper. Totally worth the trip. I blogged about it here. But if you don't want to go there, just trust me that this was probably the biggest burger I've ever seen. I had to remove the center bun just to get it in my mouth.
I needed a nap afterwards

Soon after, I got showered and put on my tie dye to head up to Gaia Studio in Evansville, IL where I was teaching Woodstock.

On the way to class, a few blocks from the studio, I saw a surprising road sign indicating the street I was about to turn onto....
Route 66

So what do you know. It's funny how unassuming the route is. When I was on it yesterday, too, it seems like such a non-event. It's not even really the name of the highway I'm on, either. It's like honorary or ornamental.  So, as quickly as I lose it, I seem to find it again.

And I followed it to the studio where I set the mood by playing not music before class, but a soundtrack of outdoor sounds that I have for calming. I wanted to set the mood that we were outside. This class was on fire with FreeDancing, so it was an easy class for me to teach, and it went wild.
There were several students in class that hadn't ever taken Nia before but came tonight because of the Woodstock theme. Some of them were decked out like hippies, too. It was awesome. They gave me an hour and a half, so I added in some of the songs that I have from co-teaching The Woodstock Experience with other Nia teachers adding their stuff in. I was trying to emulate what Janet Hollander did with a Crosby Stills Nash & Young song, but it didn't coagulate so I called it a FreeDance. haha

It happened to be my host and producer, Sally's birthday today so afterwards she had a reception with champagne, cake, cheeses, crackers, fruits and this herbal water she made with peppermint and lemon balm. I drank a lot of that. 

While I was in the room with the refreshments, River was still in his crate in the studio. He was put in there at least two hours ago by this time, but he's quiet. At this time I see two musicians, a man and a woman, carry a lot of equipment into the studio and start setting up. One of River's triggers is often having new people come into the area; especially men. And if they're carrying big things, then that, too could be a trigger. But still he's quiet. 

I'm continuing to nosh and socialize as they begin to play. It's just a guitar and two lush voices singing soulfully. People began to gather and sit, some were dancing. I watched in amazement as River soaked it all in. Not fussing in the slightest, but engaged in the activities. 

After a while I heard reports that he was beginning to scratch at the floor of his crate. So that was my cue and I packed him up and took him out. He ran to the nearest tree. After that, I propped him up on the stone obelisk at the bottom of the staircase and a series of dog fanciers came by to gawk and him. One brought him a bowl of water and we talked for a long time about plantar fasciitis. She was wearing thongs on her feet, poor thing. 

And then I took Route 66 home again.... hehe.... only for those few blocks. 

When I got back to the room, my door stopped functioning. Luckily I got in, but now it won't close. It closes, but the latch doesn't catch so it drifts open. It's crazy. I called the front desk and he said he could change my room, but I didn't want to go through that. He suggested I use the deadbolt. I tried it, but the deadbolt doesn't work, either. It comes out when I turn the knob if the door is open, but when the door is shut, it won't turn. It isn't aligned with the doorplate so it doesn't go into the hole, it's blocked. I will just sleep with the chain on the door I guess. I'm not worried at all with River here. No one's sneaking in on us, I guarantee that. 


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