When I was a child it was an adventure, on the road, to find a motel at the end of the day. They lined the highway, each with its row of numbered doors flanked by a chair, fronted with a parking spot. How convenient it must have seemed: no expensive hotel lobby to traverse, just a small office ("Office"), with a tv running in the back, an ice machine, a key. A crime waiting to happen. Echt Hitchcock. The neon sign, tall, visible from the highway, with some emblematic decoration--a palm tree--and, big and bright, maybe even flashing, the words (NO) VACANCY. If the NO is lit, you drive on: no need to exit the highway. Some had a swimming pool. Some were Kozy Cabins on a lake with a float and a diving board.
My husband is sleeping off a mother-in-law migraine. I am sitting on the couch (if there were four of us, it could be pulled out into a second bed), complimentary motel coffee in a mug on the carpet beside me. I listen to tires squishing on the road, a lot of cars; I look out at the emerald-green-moss-covered forks of a willow tree trunk, wiggly branchlets lined with raindrops; and the sea, which is grey and flat and high. Ducks, gulls, sea lions barking, breasting the swell like Olympic swimmers training. Two white plastic supermarket chairs and a matching white plastic table on the deck, through the sliding glass doors. On the sea front wooden chairs, two by two, looking out to sea ("neither very far, nor very deep"--Robert Frost, or something like). It is raining.