Saturday, July 11, 2020

Oxford, AL: COVID-19 Unfolding, Part 888: Motel 6: Peas, Outlets, Masks

Pea garden at Motel 6, Oxford (Anniston), Alabama. July 2020.

NOTE: My COVID-19 posts are all over the chronological map for now; I'll number them down the road. 

With a major mission accomplished - fingers crossed! - in Birmingham on Friday afternoon, I celebrated with one of these options:
  1. Alcoholic beverage
  2. A motel in Birmingham instead of my original plan, which was to boondock at a lovely Alabama rest area
  3. Venture to another Alabama town and stay in a motel there

Yes! Option #3! Go to Oxford, Alabama, for a change of scenery, pace, and focus.

The Oxford-Anniston Motel 6 offered a reasonable rate, so that's where I went.

Given that I departed Birmingham (Vestavia Hills) on a Friday evening at almost 5:00 p.m., it was easy and even pleasant to enter the highway system and zoom on my way northeast.

Outlet situation, Motel 6. Oxford (Anniston), Alabama. July 2020.

The Motel 6

Someone has a little sweet pea garden on the back side of the motel! Unexpected and charming.

Ohhhhhh, the outlet situation in my room! Where does one plug in one's phone charger? On the right side of the bed? Nooooo. On the left side of the bed? Nooo. On the wall adjacent to the bed? Nooooo. Well, jeez.

Ah, there is an outlet on the bed opposite the bed, far, far, far away.

Thank you, baby deity, for:
  • My long travel experience, hence the possession of a longish power strip with a longish cord; and
  • The happy coincidence that I'd bought a six-foot long device charger just a few weeks ago. 
As I write this post on a table top next to my bed, I am also grateful that my laptop cord is long.

Because I have what I need to make the situation work, I can only laugh. I mean, really. Who doesn't have outlets by a motel bed AFTER you've remodeled the room?!


I could see the tall, blue Walmart sign from my motel, and knew it was just the place for me to rassle up a dinner.

Whereas I've found the Motel 6s along my June and July travels to practice safe protocols for office interactions, the same can't be said for the communities they are in.

Sure, I saw folks wearing masks in the Oxford Walmart, but so many without! And of those with masks, so many who wear them as theater rather than for actual safety. Masks below nostrils, masks that cover only the chin, masks that are so loose they are like curtains billowing in a breeze, masks made of the flimsiest of transparent, lingerie-like material.

I observe this and I .... well, I just observe and receive it as reality.

To say anything to any random stranger, in any kind of best, kind, gentle tone of voice, is like trying to point out that someone said something wrong on the internet.

The only leverage I have is to wear my mask, to wear it properly, to maintain physical distances, and therefore provide some protection for myself and also offer visual peer support for others who wear  masks.

But goddamn. I feel for the cashiers who are exposed to mask-less customers all day.

Protection supplies

As always when I'm in a store, I look for:
  • Hand sanitizer (that doesn't cost an extortionate rate)
  • Surface disinfectant wipes
  • And, more recently: Disinfectant spray
The Oxford Walmart had no wipes and no spray. It did have a supply of Suave hand sanitizer that was overpriced at $3 for 8 ounces, but which I was willing to pay.

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