#429 The Number
(Stroudsburg, PA) -- It always pops up. Has for more than six decades. The number is 109. First street address in queens: 4109. First street address on Long Island, 109. Many other instances as well. And now, room 109 in the Stroudsburg, PA Central Fleabag. Luck of the draw. But it must be the hundred-ninth time this figure's show up uninvited.
It isn't REALLY a fleabag. But Pocono ski country in mid-summer is not exactly a hotbed of activity. (Well, yes it sort of is, more about which later.) So, while the lobby is beautiful, and the bar is fully stocked and near empty, the restaurant is closed and covered with signs that say "Coming Soon. Indian Restaurant. That's going to go over bigtime in this cosmopolitan center. Nice pool, if you don't look too closely. Nice hallways, just don't walk on the carpet barefoot (what's going on inside that rug?)
Peeling wallpaper is a nice decorative touch in the room. So is the TV set with a picture so dark you can't see most of what's on the screen. One hundred nine different movies with titles like "Wild College Sluts" and "Dumbo." (Whatever happened to "Wild College Dumbos?") at $10.99 some were a bargain. (There's that number again.) Others at that price would double their first run box office triumphs with two pay-per-views.
The walls are thin. Found that out the hard way.
Now, about that hotbed: It was 4:45 am and the woman in 107 squeeled once, loud but unappealingly. It was hard to resist the urge to say "do it again." But presence of mind isn't always there when awakened at 4:45. No matter. Their alarm (I assume it was a "they" and not only a "she") at 5AM. Just enough time to get back to sleep. And she/they must have hit the snooze button, because it went off again at 5:07.
Across the street is a 24-hour "family" restaurant. But no one seemed to be working there. There were a few patrons sitting at empty tables, two more who were waiting at the register and no employees in sight. Either time.
Fortunately, there was a "Pump and Pantry" gasoline station and convenience store next door, where this conversation took place:
Visitor: "This Calzone? Was it made this week?"
Clerk: "What? No, it was made a month ago and has been sitting here ever since."
Visitor: "Great, I like 'em aged a bit."
Clerk: "Yeah. fresh is overrated."
In reality, it was probably 109 hours old. Which is about right for a Calzone. One hundred nine days would have put it into the gourmet single-malt Italian dish mode and raised the price 200%
--Favorite road sign on this trip. "Mile Run, Two Miles." Huh?
--Who says plastic's no good? The spray shower head will last for 109 years. The metal hose springs leaks starting after the second year of use.
--Now, something from the sexist language department. Why is it "his and hers?" It might be either "hers and his'" or even "theirs'."
I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.(R)
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