“My brother told me that living in a motel is one step above homeless. Well, f*** him. He's the one with the mortgage.”
Terry and Lisa asked that I only use their first names in this story. Both have difficult and violent backgrounds, and the concept of their pasts creeping back on them — potentially with a lead pipe — is not an academic concern.
We met about a month ago. My wife and I recently moved from Burbank to a loft in downtown Los Angeles — a loft that needed a lot of work. One of those pieces of work involved redoing the flooring, a process that sane people stay far away from.
Given that I'm sane, or mostly so, and unable to do any handyman work outside of changing a light bulb without bleeding, we needed to hire someone to do it for us. And, we needed to stay somewhere for a few days while the work progressed. We chose the Days Inn, which shares space with the Extended Stay, at Pioneer Drive and Pacific Avenue.
It's rough. The place was apparently last renovated during the Ford administration, and we saw no less than three people placed in handcuffs during our four-day stay. The food in the restaurant is good, however, and the drinks in the bar are cheap. In addition, the staff is unfailingly polite and helpful.
Our room was on the smoking floor, a weird policy mandated by our cats. It smelled, well, like a smoking room. Because of this, we spent a good amount of time at the pool, also a favorite pursuit of Terry and Lisa.
Which is how I ended up sipping beer in the late-morning sunshine. Lisa said she moved in with Terry as her marriage fell apart, the result of “a 10-year drug binge.” She got clean on Jan. 1, 2011, making her perhaps the only person I've met to hold fast to a New Year's resolution.