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water bottle
So Ellen, my crackerjack administrative manager, is always looking for decent cheap hotels for me. See, as I have gotten older, that 3+ hour drive home from NYC and it’s environs at 11pm is a thing no more. And if I’m going from Connecticut or NY to points south - well you see how important steady-freddy clean and friendly places like this can be. One place I like is the Super 8 in Danbury CT. It’s become kinda central to the necessity of being on the road.

Friday nite’s hotel, on my way from Pomfret CT to Park Ridge, NJ, was America’s Best Value Inn Manchester, CT. Single story, simple, I pull up front, with my wallet and my exhaustion from tonite’s show on my face I’m sure. I’m not usually that exhausted post-show, but I’m just getting over a cold that had laid me out up until the day before. An older man unlocks the door to let me into the check in vestibule. Credit card, license, and he’s explaining each and every line he’s putting my information on in a thick accent. I am answering “Yessir, thank you”.

He’s brown, straight-haired, the accent, but I have been wrong before. He might be Pakistani, or Bangladeshi, or any number of ethnicities. But my mind swirled my little racist Occam’s-Razor deductive 3/4 pint of brainjuice and I figured, adding in the typicality of the motel ownership as the last button on this shirt, that he was Indian.

"Yessir, thank you”, I continue. He’s explaining how to adjust the thermostat to my liking once in the room. “Yessir, thanks so much”. He hands me a slip of paper with the wifi code.

“No capital letters”.

“Yessir, thank you”.

“And no spaces”...

“OK, Yessir, thank you”.

He’s friendly, thorough, connected. Once he seemed done, I told him “Thank you so much for taking care of me, sir”, and I took the chance as I bowed ever so slightly and said “Namaste”. His eyes lit up, he clasped his hands in front of him, bowed to me with an animated Namaste, and thanked me. “I have something for you". He reaches behind the counter and pulls out a bottle of water and hands it to me. "And Sir, I hope you rest well.”

The human basics of care. A greeting. A warm welcome. A bed. Water.

After more furious bowing and thanking I went all the way down the three doors to my room to the slightly short-sheeted but wonderfully firm bed, the freezing bathroom, the no outlets anywhere near the bed kind of outlets, the slightly roaring gas heater that looked like it was kicked into the room from outside the wall and then meticulously plastered around its casing so that it looked integral, and with my bottle of water I slept until 10:15 the next morning at the $66 Ritz-Carlton Manchester, and I challenge anyone to call it otherwise.