Magazine article The Christian Century

A Feast in a Cheap Motel

Magazine article The Christian Century

A Feast in a Cheap Motel

Article excerpt

I've only missed one flight in my life. My wife and I glanced at the itinerary wrong, mistaking our initial flight for the return flight home. Having committed the wrong departure time to memory, we relaxed into our final day of vacation, confident that an 8 p.m. return of the rental car was perfect.

When the ticket agent informed us that our flight had taken off 30 minutes before we arrived, Susan and I looked at each other in dismay. The next flight out was 5:30 a.m. Each of us landed a $100 rebooking fee. Frustrated with no one but ourselves, we starting calling around for a cheap motel with an airport shuttle.

The motel stood alone in a vast industrial park. With no restaurants in sight except a McDonald's in the distance, we set off walking toward the golden arches. Only the drive-thru was open at 10 p.m., so we did what any soul with an empty stomach and a little cash would do. We stood in line. The guy in the pickup truck ahead of us kept monitoring his mirrors as if we might be a late-night freak show. We inhaled his exhaust and exhaled our humiliation.

When the time came to place our order through the little metal box, nothing happened. No one answered. Figuring there must be a motion sensor, we started dancing. I shadowboxed the dark. Surely the people waiting inside the next two cars in line understood we were a perfectly normal couple in our fifties. Still getting no response from the cashier, I suggested we start jumping. Perhaps there was a weight sensor that needed triggering. …

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