Woke up to sunlight streaming in through curtains that wouldn’t close. Fell back asleep for a couple hours. Woke up later to hammering and a throwing around of what sounded like weights on the roof. I’m only here because I couldn’t find the home of the woman who invited me to camp on her property. By the time I had cycled an additional eight or nine miles in search of this mysterious land it was dark and nearly nine o’clock. The motel sign shown like a beacon of dollar bills raised high aflame, and drew my exhausted, lazy self to it like a moth. I was photographing for a few short seconds in my room though when the camera battery died, so I guess this was a good thing—I suppose I say that as a way of justification, though I don’t need to.
These places all serve the same continental breakfast: cereals, waffle maker, bad coffee, bad juice, bad biscuits, bad gravy, bad pastries, bad bread, bad…. Here, there are two pieces of sausage left that look just like two little dog turds, like someone’s little chihuahua took a squat right over the pan while no one was looking. The juices in the pitchers taste nothing like their respective labels. Two women are rearranging the breakfast bar. I feel like telling them to stop wasting their time, that rearranging the display won’t make the food or drink palatable, or look more appealing.
While I’m sitting here a huge, dark-skinned girl walks in to fill out an application. She’s wearing black and white basketball shorts, black hi-tops, and a black button-down shirt that doesn’t fit her. I feel pity and sadness for her. Not necessarily because she’s applying to work here, but because she appears so tired and down-trodden, because she likely knows nothing of the wider world, and is likely not well-educated, like she’s living in a world where every move she makes is one made out of desperation because she sees no future for herself, and, worst of all, sees no present and has no idea how to fix this except to get a job, to create an income, to create some semblance of stability in her life, but she’s not even sure if this is right, and this is what most everyone is doing, and yet no one seems to see that stability is an illusion, that we all stride upon shifting, slippery, rocky ground, some perhaps more so than others, but what really matters is that one knows that, and moves forward anyway, for there is no rock face that isn’t crumbling, no plains that aren’t susceptible to drought, no forest fire-retardant, and no lake immune to pollution.
After sitting at a table in a corner, filling out an application, the girl turns it in to the ladies—who are still playing with the breakfast display—and slowly shuffles from the hotel like a despondent elephant too tired to lift its feet, and tied with a heavy, thick rope to a colossal sandstone block which she pulls behind her at the bidding of some cruel, unidentifiable master who stands atop it whip in hand.