December 1, 1997

Rooms For Rent

The sign out front of the Cadillac Motel reads, “Rooms for a night or a lifetime.” Now that is my kind of place. I have never stayed there and I probably never will, but the possibility itself is enough.

I can see myself waltzing into the small store-front motel office.

“Do you want it for tonight or for a lifetime?” the clerk asks.

I hesitate because I had not expected such a big decision.

“Can I get it just for tonight and then extend tomorrow if I want to?”

He sighs his pat answer, “The sign says either a night or a lifetime. It doesn’t say a week. It doesn’t say a month. There are only two choices. What will it be?”

“A lifetime is a long commitment,” I mumble. “Could I try it for one night, check out in the morning and then come back in again to register at night? I am kind of a day-to-day guy. But I am ready right now to commit for the whole night!”

“Sir,” he says, underlining the ‘r,’ “the sign says...”

“Yeah, I know, but I believe in living in the now and the now is tonight.”

The office man clearly is not into Eastern thought. He darts words between his clenched dentures, “Then choose tonight.”

“I would, but I might miss out on the great deal of a lifetime. And I want to be committed. No, not that kind of commitment. I want long term commitment which will fill up my life. But I want my freedom too. Can’t I have it both ways?”

He just looks at me and softly looks past me. Snapping his gaze back he says, “Sir, I am sure that you can have it your way - but not here, not now. Perhaps you should try sleeping at Burger King.”

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