It’s time for The Great American Road Trip: an epic adventure from Florida to California!

Rachael and I completed our first night on the road. Highlights of driving included:

Long catch-up discussions, punctuated by the jolts and stalls of Rachael learning to drive stick. Many shouts from me of, “Gas, gas, gas!” and “Toggle! Toggle!” while Rachael anxiously chews on her hair. We’ll get there.

Stopping to eat at Subway. A sign in the window advertising they were hiring with “Competitive Wages” lead our employ-less selves to contemplate the benefits of being a professional sandwich-maker. This meditation was rudely interrupted by an introduction to the most miserable-looking woman I’ve yet to make the acquaintance of. Her cheeks saddled her face like two loaves of bread, prematurely put to oven before all the lumps had been properly kneaded from the dough. Hair strung down along her face like listless, old bell-pepper strips, cut days before use. Her eyes: two glistening black olives, fresh from the can. And poor girl, she was cross-olived. Data has not been conclusive whether that or the sandwiches was the cause of her moroseness, but we decided either way it seemed best to avoid such a fate and seek employment elsewhere.

Singing along to a fabulous mix L made to celebrate my 21st birthday and accompany the Great American Roadtrip. It started off rarin’, with Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf. In elementary school I had a dream of buying a red vespa and driving it around looking badass while this song played. I think I was watching a little too much tv at that time and thought that people’s lives just came with a soundtrack. Anyhow, a decade later, I’m finally living the dream. Just with two more wheels.

But the real event of the night was when we reached Tallahassee.

We decided to stop at a Super 8, a decision based on the high qualification that we found it on the Internet for cheap. When we pulled up, it looked surprisingly nice. A pretty pink Spanish mission. We booked a room, and pulled my car around to the side of the motel to park. This is where we encountered the comforting sight of four scary-looking men lounging around their car, drinking. You can imagine how we, two lonesome girls, were thrilled by their presence. Shooting them furtive glances as they unabashedly appraised us, we organized a plan of attack to get our stuff out as quickly as possible and into our room. Then we sprang into action, executing said attack in with the speed and confidence I usually reserve for accepting free cookies. We zoomed up the stairs, me hoisting my suitcase up with my powerful arms (read: pitifully lugging step by thudding step), and Rachael masterfully inserted our key into the lock, springing it open (read: fumbled around with it until realizing it had to be inserted in opposite to the direction all the text read). Then we were in, and I double locked that baby tight.

A few minutes later finds me happily brushing my teeth.  Rachael, mid-change, pads up in her bra and underwear to interrupt my distraction, announcing, “Someone’s knocking at the door. I’m naked. Open it.” Then adding, “The peephole’s blacked out, I can’t see who it is.”

To which I heartily reply, “Fuck no! Are you kidding me?”

Now I hear the knocking.  And promptly head to the phone to dial the front desk. The man who answers says he’ll come check it out. A minute later, more knocks. This next knocker introduces himself as room service. I am equally skeptical of this. I did not order any room service, and I’ll be damned if this mystery man has any ideas of servin’ up my booty on a platter.  Access denied.

I call up the front desk again, and this time I speak to a woman. She says that these “room service” men were the ones we requested to come over. She asks if one was large and black and the other short and middle eastern, wearing a green shirt. To this I say, I don’t fucking know, because our peephole is blacked out.  Also, why would I open a door to this sight? Do they not have any sort of staff uniform here so they’re easily identifiable? Actually I really just say I don’t know, because I try to be courteous to service people. She offers to come over herself, which is greatly appreciated.  Followed by, “should I identify myself as house-keeping?” What is up with all these pseudonyms? Is everyone in this hotel going around with a secret alias? I say, “No. Why don’t you just identify yourself with your name?” So she reintroduces herself and hangs up to come over.

Soon after, we hear the sweet, dulcet tones of her feminine voice at our door. Thank goodness. She explains that these scary parking lot men were actually coming to tell us that our trunk was open. It had apparently caught on a pillow when I closed it, and popped open once we left. We go down with her, and mystery room service man in his green shirt is there to explain he knows these men, that they live there and work construction during the day.

So they were actually scary parking lot good Samaritans?

As a caravan we all go to close up the trunk and securely lock it. Rachael and I head back to our room, greatly relieved. In the morning I wake up, and I am feeling alive. Not like “Ahh so many opportunities awaiting me!“- alive. Like “Yes! Did not get murdered in the night!”- alive. It feels great. Alive in Tallahassee.

In retrospect, I’m glad those parking lot dudes ended up just being some nice guys unintentionally scaring the bejesus out of us, but I would not have done anything differently even with this hindsight. Girls, use your heads and do not open your hotel doors to strange unidentified men at night. Especially if your roommate’s request is qualified with the statement, “I’m naked,” and “The peephole is blacked out”.  Ridiculousness.

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