The Budget Motel — Globe, AZ
Katherine Marty hates camping, which is why she has spent the last three years touring the country in a school bus. She tweets @liferstate and posts intermittently on Tumblr: katherinemarty.tumblr.com. Her troupe is probably coming to your city: www.superhappyfuntimeburlesque.com
Oct. 21-23, 2013
The Budget Motel in Globe, Arizona is not actually listed on TripAdvisor. There is one review on Citysearch: “Horrible! Disgusting! Four legged pests! No refund!” Unfortunately, we knew nothing of this when we checked in. Our two days at the motel had nothing to do with a craving for adventure and everything to do with desperation and poverty.
We are Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, and we passed through Globe while on the closing leg of our fall tour. With two days of driving between us and the next gig, we’d decided to take a more scenic route through rural Arizona. This proved to be a costly mistake.
Between the initial breakdown, attempts at repair, waiting for a decent cell phone signal, and then waiting for the wrecker truck, we didn’t make it back to Globe until early evening. An hour after sundown, we waited in the motel courtyard for the kindly tow truck drivers to ferry all twelve of us from the repair shop where we’d left the bus. Corey, the boss man, disappeared into the office with the cashbox. We surveyed our surroundings: dilapidated and possibly disused rail bridge, coffeeshop (close), dingy bar (also closed), and a Circle K with welcoming LIQUOR sign. Jokes about Corey’s exceptional blowjob skills earning us a special discount were funny for the first couple minutes, then not so much. What were they doing in there? Why was it taking upwards of 10 minutes? Would we ever see him again? In rough country, anything can happen, and most of it had already happened to us.
Finally Corey emerged, intact and wearing all his clothes. He distributed four keys to four rooms with a list of warnings and instructions:
1. Don’t make noise. Everyone else staying here works at the copper mine outside of town and needs to get up at 4 AM. (This did explain the abandoned street and lack of sketchy people hanging around the parking lot.)
2. Because there is no daily housekeeping, be sure to take all garbage to the dumpster around the outside of the building. (Each room was furnished with a single tiny wastebasket and one tissue-thin bin liner. We scrupulously hoarded plastic shopping bags for the next two days.
3. Do not run the microwave and the air conditioner simultaneously. Do not run the heater and the microwave simultaneously. God knows why this might be necessary, but do not run the air conditioner and the heater simultaneously. You will certainly blow a fuse, which will certainly incur extra charges.
4. Take care to inspect the room first, and notify the motel keeper if anything is broken, or risk an extra charge for damages.
At this point the motel keeper, a short bald East Indian man, emerged and began to recapitulate everything Corey had just explained, going into twice as much detail. We began to understand why check-in had taken so long. Did we need anything, he continued? More towels? When would we come to pick them up? Eight, nine o’clock? Were we interested in hearing about a place where our children could play? (He didn’t seem to register that we had no children.) Did we want to know where we could find food? Don’t make noise, because the copper miners are sleeping. Our pets could play in the vacant lot behind the bar next door. (We reiterated that we didn’t have any pets.)
The only restaurant still open at the advanced hour of 8 p.m. was a Tex-Mex place a few blocks up the main road. Naturally the tow truck drivers were the only other customers. Also the staff was about to close early for lack of business. I can only hope we tipped well enough to make staying open worth their while.
Back at the motel, fortified with refried beans and bearing Circle K LIQUOR, we inspected our rooms.
Each had two bedrooms, and each bedroom had an identical print of a faceless Native woman in front of a Pueblo house.
The bedspread appeared no worse than at many other places, which speaks more to the basic cruddiness of all motel bedspreads than any inherent good qualities. Linens were clean-ish rather than clean, but no one found bedbugs. Corners were free of obvious signs of vermin, probably due to the many roach traps.
I am fairly sure that if all four rooms had turned on their heaters, air conditioners, and microwave ovens, while leaving the minifridge open and running the shower, we could have set the place on fire.
Nearly everything that could have stains was stained.
Seized with a spirit of adventure and also whiskey, I went through all the drawers and discovered this phone.
Was it purchased from a defunct middle school? Possibly. Does it date from the building’s previous incarnation as the Willow Motel (see microwave)? Probably. Can we dial 0 for the front desk? Absolutely not.
Ironically, the motel’s wifi was non-password protected and more reliable than many other places we’d stayed at. It probably helped that we kept hours opposite the miners. They slept as we surfed YouTube and posted dire social media updates; while they browsed porn, we wandered the streets of Globe.
Only one person in my room dared to shower. She reported that the water pressure was decent.
We mostly slept in our clothes, if we slept. When my room went to rejoin the others the next morning, we realized we’d forgotten to lock our door. Fortunately the miners were uninquisitive. The courtyard and street were still deserted. After breakfast at Globe’s only diner I decided to go exploring
Some unoccupied rooms were left open, either because they were being used to store towels and broken air conditioners or because they had no walls. None of the rooms had a card detailing lodging-related laws, fire escape routes, or any of the information that no one pays attention to but hotels are legally required to state.
A few sunburned men in work clothes appeared later in the afternoon, drinking Bud Light and wandering in and out of a few open rooms. I never saw the motel keeper emerge from the office, though he did replenish the row of toilet paper rolls on the ledge outside his door.
That evening, in a vain quest to find something to eat that was not Mexican food, we ended up at the Drift Inn Saloon. Our unconventional jukebox choices drew the attention of Bobby the electrician, who attached himself to the only woman too polite to tell him to go away. He summed up his philosophy as follows: “Well, I tell you, some people just need to be shot, and that’s all there is to it. Now, you want to two-step?” They did, briefly. No one got shot.
The following day, the tow truck crew arrived to ferry us across town once again, this time to a motel where we would not have to check the beds for roaches or the bathroom floor for gigantic burrs. Our last two days in Globe would be spent in the luxurious embrace of a two-star Days Inn.